An unbelievably easy practice to boost your happiness, every damn day
Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
Like a hamster in a wheel.
Same sh#t, different day.
Is that how you currently describe your days?
Well, I think you’d agree that that’s simply not good enough.
Life is here to be lived.
To the max yeah?
I’m guessing you’d like a slice of that. But let’s get real – when life feels bland and treadmill-like, happiness can slide off the radar. The ho-hum of the daily grind squeezes the sparkle out of your day. And maybe it’s not that you don’t feel happy, it’s just that the jolts of happiness are sporadic and/or you’re simply not noticing them. Too busy with err, “life”, to stop and smell the roses.
So how about rather than just going through the motions with your nose to the pavement, we find a way to boost your daily happiness levels.
The practice I have to share with you will inspire you to ‘smell the roses’ each and every day. Actually, not just smell them, but to notice them, soak them up and feel thankful for them too.
The practice: GRATITUDE
A gratitude practice is so easy to do you’ll be able to incorporate into your life right now. It won’t cost you a cent and I can guarantee, hand on heart, it will increase your enjoyment of every damn day. Can I get an AMEN!
Is your happy my happy?
But before I show you your ticket to Happyland, let’s get a few things clear. Happiness is relative. My brand of happy isn’t necessarily yours, and that’s 100% fine. You like tea, I like coffee (actually it’s a weak decaf almond milk latte that I love. Thanks for asking..) And, when I’m talking happy, I mean that lovely, gentle, smiley feeling of easy contentment. Not necessarily that concentrated, short burst version of happy you get from a momentous occasion like a lotto win (well, I can only imagine..) or a brand-new pair of fancy shoes. I’m talking about smaller, more consistent sources of happiness – like seeing the sunrise, a sip of clean cold water on really hot day, or when someone lets you in ‘that’ lane, in peak hour traffic or better yet that feeling you get when you do something nice for someone else and you know they really really appreciate it.
Plus it pays to remember that happiness, like all emotions, is transient.
Our feelings naturally ebb and flow from one moment to the next.
Show me the way
You can really boost your happiness levels through gratitude. Yes, simple acts of expressing genuine thanks for the things, people, opportunities etc in your life right now can make a positive impact on your emotions.
Sound too good and too easy to be true? Stay with me, my skeptical friend…
Get your lab coat on
OK, let’s talk science for a minute. Gratitude is more than some passing woo-woo trend. Its effects are backed by some serious clinical studies. Our lab-coated friends report that when we express gratitude, the brain releases more of our chief feel-good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin.
You can give your thanks through a silent thought, verbal expression, by writing and several other methods. The cool thing is, it doesn’t matter how you express your gratitude – if it’s genuine, your brain will come to the party and make you feel good!
Are you ready to experiment?
Here’s a simple gratitude practice you can get started on NOW! This version can take as little as 5 minutes a day. All you need is a pen, paper and the willingness to give it a go.
Your easy 3-part gratitude practice for every day happy:
1. Get it down
It’s one thing to make a mental note of the things you feel grateful for, but committing your observations to paper really brings them alive. Plus, by extracting your thank-you’s from your head to paper helps free up some mental bandwidth so you can think about other stuff (or simply lull around in a spacious state of unadulterated bliss – your call, I’ll let you figure it out while I sit here and float about in this feel-good feeling for a bit…. ahhhhh.
There’s no need to go to town with pages of thankfulness (unless you want to ofcourse!).
A short list of 3 observations is great and it might look a little something like this:
Today I am grateful for:
1. The warm sun on my face as I walk to work.
2. The tear-inducing laugh I shared with my friend last night.
3. A soft warm bed to sleep on and wake up in this morning.
Grab a cute notebook for your daily list, that way, you’ll avoid capturing the same ‘gratefuls’ day after day, and you’ll end up with your very own compendium of awesomeness to reflect on anytime you need a happy pick-me-up.
Not turned on by writing? No dramas. Instead of writing your observations down, say them to yourself, either out loud or mentally.
Pick a regular time to do this daily so you don’t forget e.g. as you’re settling down for sleep, in the shower or on your coffee break, for example.
Team up with a ‘happy buddy’ for motivation and accountability. Share a minute or two exchanging your daily thankfuls – in person or even a quick text or instant message will do the trick. You could even choose to send each other three things you are grateful for about each other too, which leads me on to my next point…
2. Create a happy ripple
Make a daily habit of complimenting a fellow human. You’ll feel good, and so will they! You might even inspire them to pay a compliment forward to someone else, creating a beautiful ripple of happiness – how good is that?
Ripple tip: Compliment on qualities rather than things. Tell your partner how much you enjoy and appreciate their cooking skills, notice what a great listener your bestie is, or thank your Uber driver for getting you home safely.
3. Thank ‘YOU’
Yep, I saved the hardest one til last. We are our harshest critics, right? So give yourself a break already and say something nice about yourself, to yourself, at least once a day! If that feels too hard, try taking a body part each day for doing what it did best and how it served you that day.
Thank YOU tips:
. Smile at yourself in the mirror
. Reflect on the great way you handled a situation or used your strengths at work
. Give yourself a hug
. Whisper a heartfelt, ‘you rock, baby!’ to yourself.
Practice makes happy
We all want to be happy, right? But here’s the clanger, this gratitude practice is not called a practice for nothing. You really do have to commit to see results in your life. Feeling happier, more at peace, more grounded and resilient? Yup, I bet you can find 5 minutes a day to cultivate that, if you really wanted to, right?
Over-use is encouraged
Make ‘thank you’ the two words you use most everyday. Be genuine and generous with your gratitude. When you do, I bet you’ll notice a flood of feel-goods through your body and soul, and be part of an uplifting ripple of gratitude that has the power to make the whole world a little happier.
Oh and thanks for reading this, you’re amazing, yes you truly are!