Do you say “No” to a lot of things?
Perhaps you’re too scared or too lazy or too uninterested to give them a try.
Or perhaps you think saying “No” often is what you need to succeed in life.
Well, you could be unintentionally sabotaging your happiness!
If you want to be happier, there are just some things you need to say “yes” to.
Here are some of them.
1) A quick stroll in the park
We all know that exercise is good for our body and mind. And yet, we don’t do it enough.
For many of us, just hearing the word “exercise” is overwhelming…so we become allergic to it and think “Eh, I’ll just start exercising when I’m 40.”
And we wonder why we’re sluggish and moody.
Well, here’s some good news: Studies show that even a quick leisurely walk can boost your mood.
That means you don’t have to spend hours in the gym just to get those happy hormones from exercise. A 10-minute brisk walk will do!
So next time someone invites you for a walk, don’t even think about it. Just go.
2) Two p.m. power naps
Sleep releases serotonin (aka happy chemicals), and even a short nap can improve your mood.
So don’t feel bad if you steal a quick nap in the office. It’s necessary not only for your wellbeing but for your productivity, too.
Of course, keep your naps short. Sleep experts suggest that we keep our naps under 90 minutes (ideally 20 minutes) because more than that and you’d start to feel groggy.
3) A slice of cake (or two)
Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.
So indulge in a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream once in a while.
Sweets, although bad when taken in excessive amounts, can make us happy because sugar causes your brain to release serotonin.
So if you want to be happier, don’t deprive yourself of desserts. Eat that cake!
Of course, don’t overdo it. I’m not recommending you wolf down a whole cake in one go.
4) A night out with friends
If you keep saying “No” to every invite from your best friends, then not only will you slowly lose your friends, your wellbeing could also suffer..
Yes, I get it.
Life is stressful and you just want to curl in bed. Or you want to prioritize your career or your alone time or your TV show. But relationships are important, too.
Studies show that good social relationships are the most consistent predictor of a happy life.
And it’s not only a magic pill for happiness, it also greatly improves our health according to a Harvard Study on adult development.
So the next time your friends invite you for some chit chat, put on your pants and go.
5) Meeting new people
It can be exhausting (and nerve-racking!) to meet new people— especially if you’re an introvert.
But you should try to force yourself to go out once in a while.
Don’t just turn down every event invite or every date.
Well, you might actually find people who you can keep for life!
And if not, the experience would still make your life a little more interesting…and new and interesting experiences can boost happiness.
So, do yourself a favor. Once in a while, say “yes” to an invite instead of just staying home alone, eating ramen in front of the TV.
6) A holiday getaway
According to studies, new and diverse experiences can make us happier.
So don’t be such a killjoy and say “No” whenever your friends and family ask you to join their adventures. Say “yes” sometimes!
You might spend a few bucks and it might be a bit of a hassle (traveling is never convenient). But if you truly care about your happiness, you gotta shake things up a bit!
Besides, you don’t really have to spend a lot. You can just go to a forest to camp, for instance.
And you know what’s interesting?
Studies show that the anticipation of traveling alone can boost happiness.
So if you’re going to Morocco in three months, you’ll be happily looking forward to it.
And in those weeks leading to your travel, I guarantee you that you’ll be generally cheerful and bright.
7) Quality time with family
If you’re not so close with your family, I get it if you don’t want to be with them.
But maybe—just maybe—consider it a good idea to reconnect with them. Who knows? Maybe they’ve evolved into better people. And you, too.
While family can get toxic sometimes, it has its many benefits on happiness.
It creates a feeling of belongingness and security, which is essential for a happy life.
So buy a good wine and book a ticket to visit your family.
Just being surrounded by the people who love you—and who’ve known you since birth— could greatly improve your level of happiness.
8) Moving to a new place
The one thing I did that turned my life around was ending my 11-year-toxic relationship.
The second thing was moving to a new place.
If you’ve been feeling stuck for a while and you’ve done all you can to be happy and yet you still aren’t, a change of scenery will do you good.
It doesn’t have to be a new continent or a new country. Even moving to a new room or a new apartment can make a huge impact on your happiness.
So if you’re tempted to have a fresh start somewhere, don’t hesitate. It could be the move that would turn your life around.
But if you think moving is difficult, don’t rush.
Simply having a plan and saying “yes” to that possibility—to that dream— can greatly improve your mood and overall outlook.
9) Starting a new hobby
When we’re kids, our parents bought us toys because they think play is essential.
They probably got paranoid if we won’t even touch our toys because OMG what if we have developmental delays!
But as we get older, for some reason, the world expects us to NEVER “waste our time” on toys and “useless” hobbies.
But this is crazy because hobbies are forever essential.
Any hobby—from knitting, painting, reading, to playing video games—can add life to our mundane existence.
Hobbies bring us joy.
So really, why deprive ourselves of joy?
A study shows that engaging in hobbies and fun activities actually increases well being by 8% and reduces stress by 10%. And ironically, this boosts productivity, too!
So if someone invites you to play a game?
Say “yes” and don’t even feel guilty about it!
10) Helping others
There’s a lot of research on happiness and altruism and most of them indicate that helping others definitely boosts personal happiness.
And I’ve also found that the opposite is true. I become less happy when there’s an opportunity for me to help and yet I don’t do anything about it.
So when you can help others, grab that chance.
Volunteer, donate, guide an old man on how to use the ATM. Be like Amelie Poulain and get addicted to helping people.
When you’re out and about, ask yourself “How can I make others’ lives a little better today?”
Doing this often would make you a little bit happier. I guarantee it.
11) Making someone smile
I love surprising people with gifts and random acts of kindness.
It’s just priceless to see how their faces light up!
If you really think about it—I’m not just doing things for them, I’m doing those things for ME.
I give random strangers coffee. I sometimes transfer $100 to my niece’s bank account for no reason.
I intentionally leave $1 bills on the road sometimes to brighten someone’s day.
I know these small acts seem like they’re not helping much, but at least it can make people smile—including you.
12) Doing absolutely nothing
Thanks to hustle culture, we measure our worth based on our productivity.
And because of this, we’re scared to rest because we worry that our future will be doomed if we “get lazy”.
Look, we’re put here on Earth not to work like a mad horse until we die.
And I’m not just talking about work as in job. I’m also talking about all the other things that keep us busy—chores, personal projects, and all that.
It’s totally fine to spend one whole day doing absolutely nothing.
We’re all going to die. Surely, you can just enjoy one day without thinking about your responsibilities.
And this kind of rest is needed if you want to be a happier person.
You might think that in order to be happy, you just have to be content.
But genuine happiness can only be achieved by both inner work (contentment, etc) and outer work (action).
And when it comes to outer work, you must try to say “yes” to things that are proven to increase happiness.
You can start with the list above, or you can create your own list based on how you define your own happiness.
What’s important to remember is that happiness isn’t effortless (at least for most people).
If you want to be a happier person, be more proactive about your happiness.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.