We want to be happy. We want to feel good. We want to experience joy, contentment and fulfillment in our lives.
But there’s a difference between wanting something and actually getting it. And the problem is that many of us have mistaken ideas about what will make us happy — ideas that are often not based on reality and can lead to disappointment when they don’t work out as planned.
So here are four simple, lasting ways to successfully boost your bliss:
- Have compassion for yourself when things go wrong or when you’re frustrated by life’s challenges — especially when you’re feeling blue or depressed or anxious or upset or scared or jealous or angry or frustrated or disappointed by something someone else did (or didn’t do).
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment. It’s about becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. A growing body of research shows that practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, boost self-esteem and resilience and even help manage chronic pain.
- Do something new every day. The brain loves novelty — it actually releases dopamine when it encounters something unfamiliar or surprising (think: “Wow! Look at that!”). So try something new each day — anything from taking a different route to work or getting up early on Saturday morning for a 5K run through the park (or both). You’ll stimulate your brain’s reward system — which will make you feel happier overall.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase irritability; decrease attention span; impair memory; lower productivity at work; increase risk of depression; decrease exercise levels. Make sure you get plenty of sleep so that your body can be in the best possible shape.