I had an entirely different blog prepared for today but, after a phone call with my mom this morning, I thought it would be fun to give you some quick tips for a happy life.
You may be thinking “This is ridiculous. How would she know this? Where did she get this information?” So let me put your mind at ease before we get too far in. This is a little bit ridiculous but it’s possible. That’s what makes it so fun. I know these work for me– I really enjoy my life. I want you to enjoy yours, too. And I got this information primarily from a college course I took on Midlife and Elder Years in which we discussed research on individuals who lived long, happy lives and regions with the highest populations of self-identified “happy” people. Let’s begin!
Get Outside: Sunshine and walking are both ingredients for a happy life. If it’s raining, get a good pair of rainboots and go play!
Release the Material: My grandpa says, “Having more stuff doesn’t make you happier, it just makes you have more stuff.” If your expectations are that online shopping will cure your blues– you’re probably using retail therapy as a coping mechanism. Me, too. It’s nice but it won’t get you in the rhythm of a happy life.
Live and Let Live: Giving people the freedom to embrace their own values without feeling threatened yourself is going to free you up to live your own life. Have values, be strong in your beliefs, communicate gently– just don’t micromanage the values of those around you.
Find Purpose: If your passion for your job, relationships, hobbies, etc. is drained, happiness is leaking out of your life. Be intentional to find meaning in all you do.
Embrace the Kitchen: Drink water then drink more water! Strategize ways to prevent overeating. Greens, beans, grains, and nuts will make you feel so much better. If you’re drinking age or older, an occasional glass of wine was found to improve people’s well-being over the life span.
Be at Home at Home: Get all the natural light you can in your house and keep that place clean. Making your bed is a great first step because you should be getting S E V E N hours of sleep on average each night.
Save up: saving is going to pay off more than consuming when it comes to happiness. You don’t need to live in the stress of financial insecurity. If this is your number one happiness block, ask for help!
Love a Pet: Don’t buy a horse today if you can’t afford it. But if you like animals, start saving and make a plan. Start thinking of pet names and what pet might fit your lifestyle best. If you don’t want the responsibility of a pet, go play with someone else’s!
Trust Bravely: This one is difficult for many in the state of the world but trust is going to lead you toward happiness. You will inevitably get hurt when you trust people. I think it’s worth it to trust, hurt, and make things right than to never trust. Just like it’s better to hope, hurt, and hope again. Love, hurt, and love again. If you get hurt, say so. You can make the world a better place with accountability and grace.
Be Friendly: People with at least three close friends they can turn to tend to be happier than those who don’t. Daily laughter is so important– chase that! Research found that putting loved ones and religion first in life will help you live a long, happy life. Be intentional with your friends and the people you surround yourself with.
These habits can shape your life into something wonderful. Life won’t always be easy but you will always have something good. Some of my favorite ways to live happily are to open all the windows in my house during the day, collect pillow and blankets on birthdays and Christmas, clean my house for fifteen minutes every day, walk my dog, and invest in friendships.
Wherever you’re at today, my encouragement is to chase some sort of happiness. Stoke the flames of passion for life in your heart. Add some extra cash into a savings account. Clean out your closet. Whatever you chose, do it as a statement to yourself that you can be happy. You can enjoy life. My only ask is that you invite God into it. He is full of life, full of joy, full of passion, and makes everything better.
Midlife and Elder Years; Dr. Lewis. University of Georgia 2017.