If you adopt these 10 daily habits, you’ll be happier in no time

Back in my 20s, I went through a period where each day seemed like the next. I felt like I’d been dealt a bad set of cards, and I wondered if I’d ever be happy. 

I pored through book after book on how to live a happy life. And I quickly learned that all of them were simply variations of the same message – happier living begins with yourself. 

Since then, I’ve been very intentional in designing a life I didn’t need to escape from. 

Now, it wasn’t easy. It involves a lot of discipline and consistency in practicing certain habits daily. 

In this article, I’ll discuss the ones that worked for me, and continue to do so every single day.  Let’s dive in!

1) Be mindful 

The first habit I’ll talk about is mindfulness. I think that this is the starting point for anyone who wants to break free of the negative thoughts in their heads. 

For me, learning to be mindful of my thoughts was a real game-changer. I hate to admit it, but I used to suffer from low self-esteem, so I was constantly second-guessing myself and settling for less than I deserved. 

I had to unlearn all of those negative beliefs about myself and replace them with positive ones. With mindfulness practices, I was able to shut down that voice in my head that would tell me hurtful things about myself. 

Not only that, but mindfulness also helps me savor the little things and keeps me grounded in the present

For instance, when I’m in the middle of a stressful day, I make sure that I settle down during my lunch break and take a real breather. I savor my food instead of eating in a hurry. This really centers me and makes me feel calmer. 

2) Be intentional

A close second to mindfulness is intentionality. In the intro, I mentioned “designing a life”. You see, being happy is a choice. 

No matter what our circumstances are, we don’t have to stay there. Our circumstances don’t have to hold us hostage. 

It’s all about resolve. Resolve to make your life better than it used to be. Resolve to make your every action count. 

This isn’t even limited to the big stuff. Being intentional even about the little things, like choosing to buy from an ethical company or limiting your plastic consumption, all add up to a feeling of well-being.

Again, it all reinforces the idea of choice. You are in charge of your life, and you can design it the way you want to!  

3) Limit screen time

Speaking of being intentional leads me to an activity most of us engage in mindlessly. 

Have you ever whipped out your phone, thinking you’ll just check out what your friends are up to on social media, then after an hour or two, you’re still watching reel after reel after reel? 

I’ve been there, and it’s been a really tough habit to ditch. Like it or not, screens have become such an integral part of our lives – it’s unthinkable to leave home without them! 

But too much screen time is draining. It can lead to mental fatigue and leave us with a sense of disconnection from the real world. 

So, make it a habit to unplug. Here are some steps I took to get this habit down: 

  • Designate screen-free zones at home.
  • Set time limits for screen time. 
  • Choose an activity to replace screen time (reading, gardening, walking, etc.).

4) Move your body

No, I’m not suggesting you become a gym rat (unless that’s your thing, of course). I just mean, get your body moving in whatever way feels good for you. 

A study featured in the University of Michigan showed that movement is linked to happiness. 

That’s because it produces endorphins, those happy-making hormones that give us an instant mood boost. 

I personally love yoga and a brisk afternoon walk with my dog. Your movement routine can be something else, maybe running, lifting weights, or rowing. 

It doesn’t matter; as long as you move your body throughout the day, you’ll feel energized and lighter. 

5) Take regular breaks

Just as it’s important to move your body, it’s also important to give yourself regular breaks

A simple stretch, a quick walk around the block, a quiet sit-down on a park bench…these are all tiny actions that pack a wallop of self-care. 

Because let’s face it – work (and life in general) will always have some degree of stress. But you know what? It will all still be there when you come back. 

So don’t be afraid to leave it all behind for a moment of peace. You’re a living, breathing human being, after all, not a robot!  

6) Spend time in nature

I can’t talk about breaks without talking about the value of spending time in nature

Nature just has a way of recharging us and nourishing our soul. The cool breeze, the smell of the earth after a rain shower, the swishing of leaves…it’s just so therapeutic. 

You might think you’re not a nature person, maybe you consider yourself a born-and-bred city mouse. 

But believe me, no matter how citified or urbanized you are, you can’t help but feel rejuvenated after some time in nature. 

The science backs this up, too. Think about it: why do retreats and getaways take place in natural settings? Because when you connect with nature, you feel calm and nourished. In short, green is serene!  

7) Nurture your relationships

No doubt about it, the world now has a culture of busyness. We glorify busyness – a busy person is considered impressive, thriving, and productive!

Sure, they may indeed be productive, but unfortunately, that comes at a price. And the first one that suffers is our relationships

Because all too often, we take them for granted, thinking that they’ll be right there whenever we need them anyway. 

And that’s ironic, because at the end of our lives, when it’s too late, we discover that we should have prioritized our relationships all along. 

So, no matter how busy you are, make time for the people in your life. Again, be intentional about it. 

Set coffee dates with friends. Call your mom and dad. Sit down on the mat and build a block tower with your child. 

You’d be surprised at how much human connection can boost your mood and make you feel like you’re not alone in life, even during the tough times! 

8) Learn something new

For many years, I was an early childhood teacher. And I think it’s one of the best jobs to have because it keeps me in a state of curiosity and learning. 

After all, I can’t be an effective teacher if I wasn’t curious myself. But more than that, learning something new each day alongside my students kept me young and happy. Every day was a different day! 

You can have that, too, no matter what your job or status in life is. As long as you keep a growth mindset, your happiness meter will run steadily. 

So go ahead: try out a new recipe, pick up a musical instrument, enroll in an online poetry class – there’s so much stuff out there to tickle your fancy! 

9) Practice gratitude

Is being thankful an instant happy-maker? You bet. 

Mental health experts tout the power of gratitude to boost happiness. You see, it’s like a light switch that turns your brain off of the negatives and on to the positives. 

When you begin seeing what’s right in your life instead of what’s wrong, you just can’t help but feel uplifted. 

But again, it’s a choice. As they say, you pick if the glass is half full or half empty. 

If you want to be more disciplined about it, I would suggest the following: 

  • Write down three things you’re grateful for each day in a gratitude journal.
  • Show your appreciation for the people who help you.
  • Set a gratitude alert on your phone to remind you to pause and think of things you’re thankful for.  

10) Accept what you can and can’t control

Ah, this one is super tricky, but once you master it, it will set you free. 

Much of our frustration in life comes from our inability to make things go our way. The thing is, there’s a lot we can’t control. 

So, why stress over them? 

For instance, if you’re stuck in traffic and running late for an appointment, it’s easy to launch into a rant, honk your horn endlessly, work yourself up into a huge ball of stress. 

But can you make the cars in front of you move faster? No. The only thing you can control is how you react to it. 

That’s how it should go with everything else in life. Believe me, once you learn to let go of what you can’t control, the sense of freedom is glorious! 

11) Be kind 

Finally, kindness. Do something nice for others. Be a comforting presence to someone who needs it. 

It’s pretty simple, really. According to research, being kind makes us happy, and being happy makes us kind. What a lovely cycle of positivity! 

And don’t forget, that kindness extends to yourself, too. 

This really unlocked a new level of happiness for me. Once I started speaking to myself more gently, I felt lighter and could more easily move on from my mistakes. 

Final word

I’ll leave you with a little reminder – happiness is a choice. When you’re mindful, intentional, and consistent, you’ll be able to focus on the good things in your life and be happier in no time! 

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