1. Don’t try to stop negative thoughts
Telling yourself “I have to stop thinking about this,” only makes you think about it more. Instead, own your worries. When you are in a negative cycle, acknowledge it. “I’m worrying about money.” “I’m obsessing about problems at work.”
2. Treat yourself like a friend
When you are feeling negative about yourself, ask yourself what advice would you give a friend who was down on herself. Now try to apply that advice to you.
3. Controlled Breathing
Science is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment.
4. Get Moving
When people get up and move, even a little, they tend to be happier than when they are still. A study that tracked the movement and moods of cellphone users found that people reported the most happiness if they had been moving in the past 15 minutes than when they had been sitting or lying down. Most of the time it wasn’t rigorous activity but just gentle walking that left them in a good mood. Of course, we don’t know if moving makes you happy or if happy people just move more, but we do know that more activity goes hand-in-hand with better health and greater happiness.
5. Practice Optimism
Optimism is part genetic, part learned. Even if you were born into a family of gloomy Guses, you can still find your inner ray of sunshine. Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring the reality of a dire situation. After a job loss, for instance, many people may feel defeated and think, “I’ll never recover from this.” An optimist would acknowledge the challenge in a more hopeful way, saying, “This is going to be difficult, but it’s a chance to rethink my life goals and find work that truly makes me happy.”
The practice of gratitude is one of the most important strategies for how to be happy. Gratitude is focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t. Gratitude is about celebrating your life and being thankful for the joy you experience. Gratitude is associated with positivity, increased well-being and improved health.
7. Celebrate you
You are worth celebrating. You don’t have to wait for birthdays or holidays to celebrate. Build your self-confidence by recognizing and embracing your greatness. Congratulate yourself for your achievements – even the small ones. Use small wins to generate momentum. You will find it’s one of the
8. Focus on your strengths
It’s human nature to focus on your weaknesses, but as I explain in The Lemonade Life, focus your time and energy on your strengths. No one is perfect. Spending time trying to build up every weakness will only lead to frustration. It’s an impossible task to be good at everything. Instead, focus on your core strengths and direct them toward seizing opportunities. This is one of the most effective ways for how to be happy. You will feel more accomplished, more balanced and less frustrated.
9. Look for the good in things
It’s easy to see the bad and the downside. Instead, focus on the positive. Look for the silver linings, which are the good things in life. The best books on happiness recommend cultivating positive thoughts: the more you look for the good things, the less stress and negative thinking you can experience.
If you want to know how to be happy, meditation is a good place to start. Spend 10-30 minutes each morning meditating and you’ll notice an improvement in well-being and a healthier life perspective. Meditation relaxes you and helps you connect with the mind, body and spirit. You can incorporate gratitude in your meditation, listen to soft music or think positive thoughts. Meditation is also associated with lower stress.
11. Find out what to do first
How are you supposed to build the right happiness skills if you don't know which ones you are struggling with in the first place? This is why it's helpful to take a quiz to explore your happiness strengths and weaknesses. Get a better understanding of what these skills are all about, and learn how to improve upon your weaknesses and build your "happiness strengths."
12. Give yourself a confidence boost
Why would you bother increasing your happiness if you didn't think you could be successful at it? You wouldn't. That's why it's so important to build your self-efficacy — to prove to yourself that you can increase your happiness. The best way to do this is by starting with easier skills — skills like gratitude or prioritizing spending time doing fun things. Get a quick win, and you'll be more confident that you really can change your life.
13. Make positive memories
Every region in our brains can be strengthened through practice. If our brains are really good at remembering negative things that happen, it can be useful to strengthen the regions of the brain responsible for remembering positive things.
14. Take breaks from social media
Facebook tends to have a negative effect on our happiness. By choosing to take breaks from Facebook — or changing the way we use social media — we can boost our happiness.
15. End your negative patterns of thinking
Let's face it: Sometimes we are what's making us miserable. We just can't stop thinking about how so-and-so wronged us, or how our life didn't turn out as we hoped. Negative thought processes — like worrying, ruminating, self-judgment, and fearing rejection — just keep us miserable and unable to move forward. When you find yourself thinking negatively, pause and refocus your thoughts. In time, your brain will be able to do this more easily on its own.
16. Find clarity
How are you supposed to move your life forward when you don't even know what you feel or why you feel it? To become happier, try to gain clarity on your emotions; find out what you're feeling and what caused those feelings.
17. Live your values
When you start to explore yourself and your values, you may discover that you've known all along what would make you happy, but you're just not doing it. To be happier, get clear on your values so that you can live your life autonomously, according to your own principles and values.