According to the World Happiness Ranking Index, Danish people are the happiest people in the world. We in the US are ranked number 13.
How do we improve our own happiness? What’s interesting is that being happy is not something that comes natural and is automatic. You actually have to learn how to live in such a way.
My curious self (and a psycho-bio major) started to read up on studies and found some very interesting insight on what happier people do differently. Being the happy me is not something that comes naturally too but over the years, I have been able to be a positive ball of energy around my peers and live with contention.
Yes there are things day to day that get me down, but big picture… I go home and think “I’m so happy!” I know it sounds corny but I thought I’d share this. I want to inspire you or someone you know to take on some of these tips for a happier life.
Here are 10 tips that I live by:
#1 EXPRESS GRATITUDE.
When I wake up in the morning (I’m sooooo tired) but then I go teach my morning fitness class and think, “I’m so thankful for my amazing students!” I say to my athletes, “Thank you for working so hard! Thank you for making me enjoy my job!” I’m thankful for living in beautiful SoCal. I’m thankful for good music to pump me up. These are just the things I think within the first couple of hours of getting up. The day goes on and I seriously think to myself every hour what I’m thankful for!!!
The value of what you have appreciates when you appreciate it. It’s actually really cool! You basically have a greater state of happiness if you appreciate all the things you already have in your life. It’s going to be pretty damn hard to appreciate anything if you’re not already happy with what you have. Being grateful for what is already evident in your life gives you a deeper sense of happiness… all without having to go out and buy anything.
#2 CREATE OPTIMISM.
“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne
I’m always quick to turn any situation into a positive one. My friends make fun of me sometimes because I don’t even realize I’m doing it. It’s actually pretty funny because I can take even a really awful situation and somehow see the bright side to it. My friend’s car got towed and here I am quick to say “At least you get to skateboard… that’s fun!” Winners have the ability to create their own optimism.
No matter what the situation is, successful people will always convince themselves that there is a positive side. They look at failure as a way to learn and grow from it. Those who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially when times are rough. Try to see the good to every situation!
#3 AVOID OVER-THINKING AND SOCIAL COMPARISON.
Comparing yourself to others can be toxic! Instead, if you really feel the urge to compare yourself… then compare yourself to an earlier version of you! I know a few people (we all know some of these) who always compare and you can just tell they are unhappy! It’s unhealthy and I’ll explain why.
If you believe you are “better” than someone, your ego grows… and boooom… the inner Kanye West is out!
You just created an unhealthy sense of superiority! If you compare yourself and then think you’re “worse,” you’ll start to push aside all the progress you’ve accomplished and discredit all of your hard work.
#4 PRACTICE ACTS OF KINDNESS.
SEROTONIN! Yes, SEROTONIN and No, it’s not about taking drugs. Whenever we perform acts of kindness, it causes our brains to release a feel-good chemical called Serotonin. I try to do something nice everyday, multiple times a day! And every time I do, I feel really good about myself. When you do something for someone else in a selfless manner, it makes you feel good about yourself. Also, just watching others perform acts of kindness can cause the feel good feeling as well. I’m sure you’ve experienced this! So it’s an amazing positive cycle. You feel good when you do something nice… and others around you feel good too.
Watch this video and feel the serotonin flow through you!
If you feel like you are ready to jump onto the bandwagon in your small ways, Verlocal is also empowering its community of users and hosts through their Give Back program. They help to market your event and provide zero commission booking on your event. Learn more about the program here.
#5 NURTURE SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS.
Interesting fact… People’s mortality rates are doubled when they are lonely.
Stay connected and nurture those social relationships.The happiest people are those who have deep, meaningful relationships. In my opinion, I’d rather be poor and have my friends with me than rich and lonely. If it wasn’t for my amazing support team, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Having a good circle of friends to share your life with is important for happiness.
#6 LEARN TO FORGIVE.
Holding on to feelings of hatred has a negative impact on your well-being. Your brain cannot tell the difference between past and present emotions. So if you’re always thinking about the hate you have for someone, those negative emotions will eat at your immune system and it will be a never ending cycle of unhappiness. It’s better to forgive and move on.
#7 INCREASE FLOW EXPERIENCES.
Flow is a state where you are completely engaged in what you are doing. It’s as if time is standing still. You don’t feel hungry, sleepy or emotional. Your focus is turned on and nothing can distract you. I’m basically in “flow” right now as I write this blog. I also do this when I’m painting gloves… cooking a meal… or teaching my Krav Maga Bag classes.
#8 SAVOR LIFE’S JOYS.
Sometimes you need to stop and enjoy what is happening. Slow down and take it in. Put your phone away, forget updating your FB status, or posting on Instagram and just enjoy the magic of the moment. It’s very difficult in a world filled with stimuli to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences. Trust me, I know its hard… I’m social media queen. However, when I really want to take it in, I truly make effort and it’s so rewarding.
I remember when my fiancé took me on a cruise in the Caribbean. Being in the middle of nowhere with no internet access was blissful. I was able to take in the beauty of the sunset, the time spent with the man I love, and appreciate how amazing it was that I was on an incredible vacation. Turning off social media was therapeutic.
#9 COMMIT TO YOUR GOALS.
I remember one time when I set a goal to learn a muscle-up before the end of the year. Sure enough, I got it around Christmas time just a few days before the end of the year. I spent everyday practicing and it paid off. Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force. Magical things start to happen when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get something done. When you fully commit yourself, you have no choice but to work on the task at hand. Counter-intuitively, having no option… where you cannot change your mind… subconsciously makes us humans happier because we know part of our purpose.
I actually recommend using a planner and writing down daily, weekly, and monthly goals that you would like to accomplish. I absolutely love my Passion Planner so much I became a rep for them so I can help spread the knowledge of goal setting and how to make that a reality!
#10 TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.
Taking care of your body is so important for happiness. When you don’t take care of yourself… energy levels run low… physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When you workout consistently, you not only are in better physical shape, but you feel better and have a higher sense of self-accomplishment. Mentally, you can focus better… and spiritually, you have higher self worth. I know that when I workout and eat healthy, I feel GREAT! When I take a few days off and eat crap, I feel like crap. I start to get sad and become depressed. My self worth goes down. All it takes is for me to get back in my routine and I’m back to sunshiny positive KHo who wants to share happiness with the world… like right now by writing this piece for you guys! Maybe, for my next post, I’ll share with you my KHO Happiness workout!
I hope that this list inspires you to try to acknowledge the things you already do that create happiness in life as well as give you insight to things you can do on a regular basis to stay happy! Happiness is a state of mind that doesn’t come easy! You build your character! You actually have to work at it but it’s all worth it… and to me it takes more energy to be negative than positive anyways… so it’s a win-win!
Share your thoughts now.