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Doing These 5 Things Every Day Will Make You Feel Happier

Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC - Blogs
By Saundra Jain, MA, LPC, PsyDPsychotherapistMay 21, 2018
From the WebMD Archives

How do you know when you’re happy? Tough question to answer, right? What does happiness mean to you? An even tougher question to answer!

You might be surprised to know that it’s not that easy to define happiness. It means different things to different people. Before we talk about ways to boost your happiness, we need to agree on a definition.

I’d like to suggest a definition of happiness found in The How of Happiness by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky. According to Dr. Lyubomirsky, happiness is, “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

So, happiness isn’t just a thing, but it’s comprised of several things – joy, contentment, positive well-being plus a sense that your life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile. Keeping this in mind, here are 5 things you can do every day to help boost your happiness:

1. Do an Act of Kindness

Do something kind for someone and watch your happiness skyrocket. Remember the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive?” Surprise the person behind you and pay for their coffee. Hold the door for someone and wish them a good day. Make eye contact with someone and say hello with a smile. These things may sound insignificant, but give it a try and watch what happens.

2. Practice Gratitude

Create a list of 3 things that make you feel grateful. These things don’t have to be big, expensive, or life-changing; they can be simple things like a sunny day or a rainy day, playing with your dog, or completing a big project. There are no set rules – anything counts as long as your gratitude grows.

3. Play

Don’t be so serious. Take a few minutes and have a little fun. Rake a pile of leaves and jump in, toss a ball with your kids, or go to the park and swing in the breeze. Step outside of your comfort zone, and play a little or a lot.

4. Choose Positivity

A smile will brighten your day. The benefits of a positive attitude include lower rates of depression and anxiety, living longer, better heart health, and lower levels of distress. You may be thinking, “I’m not a positive person, so how do I make this work?” Just fake it until you develop the habit of a positive attitude. Take a stance against your negativity. For every negative thought or negative behavior, counter it with a positive thought or a positive behavior.

5. Practice Self-Care

Do you always put others’ needs and wants before your own? Putting yourself first doesn’t make you a selfish person. Don’t fall into that line of thinking because that’s a trap. Taking good care of yourself.

I encourage you to embrace these 5 steps. Set a 30- day goal and document your practices along the way. Happiness is within your reach. You deserve it.

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About the Author
Saundra Jain, MA, LPC, PsyD

Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC, is a psychotherapist and Adjunct Clinical Affiliate of the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin. She maintains a private practice focused on both wellness and a variety of mental health disorders. She is recognized both nationally and internationally for her work in wellness. Dr. Jain's most recent publication is a workbook entitled WILD 5 Wellness Ancient Practices for Modern Times: A Prescriptive & Proven 90-Day Mental Wellness Program.

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