A few ways to be happy in 2019.
Remain mindful of the present.
As a mindful lifestyle and stress management coach, The Quiet Zone Coaching founder Susan Petang finds that living in the moment is the first step toward finding your happiness.
According to Dr. Nefertiti B. Poyner, an early childhood specialist and national trainer at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, unplugging from your electronics can be an incredibly useful way to maintain your zen throughout the new year—especially if you’re looking to reconnect with others.
Self-respect can only occur if you’ve made an effort to repeatedly respect others, says Dr. Poyner. While this can especially apply to every family gathering during the holiday season, it can also be a beneficial practice to commit yourself to during any interaction—even with strangers. Remaining aware of how you treat others, and learning to steer clear of conversations regarding politics, religion, or any other controversial topics can keep any interaction seamless and respectful.
Volunteer to help others in need.
While you may be aware of how giving back can improve your own happiness and self-worth, it can be challenging to find the time or energy to devote yourself to charitable acts. But, according to Dr. Poyner, committing yourself to help others in need is easier than you think. In fact, lending a helping hand as a family can bring you closer to those you love and teach your children about the importance of giving back from a young age.
Start each morning with a mindfulness exercise.
According to Brittani Persha, LCSW-S, a social worker and owner of Brittani Persha Counseling, to ensure that each day begins in a more positive, productive way, set aside a few minutes to practice mindfulness first thing in the morning. “Start each morning with a five- to ten-minute mindfulness exercise. I often recommend using an app like Headspace or Insight Timer. This helps you to clear your head and be intentional about being present and how you choose to start your days,” she says. And for more ways to make the everyday mindfulness practice a breeze, check out these 10 Ways to Focus Better During Meditation.
End each day with journaling.
In order to process any particular day’s events, it can be beneficial to sit down with a journal at the end of each day, says Persha. If you have trouble putting pen to paper, or simply can’t recall anything of substance that happened throughout your day, Persha recommends beginning each entry by listing two things that you’re grateful for at that moment. That will then more easily allow you to reflect about your day insofar as how it pertains to those two things.
Make more time for your passions.
If you’re already aware of things that make you happy—whether it’s a weekly workout class or something as simple as a chocolate bar after a long day at work—then you’re one step closer to realizing and pursuing your life’s passions. According to Dr. Alyssa Adams, a clinical psychologist and relationship coach, making more time for the things you enjoy is an easy and rewarding exercise to implement into your daily life.
Cut the negative people from your life.
“Prioritize spending time with people that are supportive, kind, and positive. Limit time with people who drain your energy. Take note of how you feel when being around different people in your life. When you get a call or text from someone you know, what is your immediate gut reaction? When you spend time with a particular person, how do you feel? Are you tired, stressed, or drained? Try and limit the time you spend with people who tend to drain your energy,” says Dr. Adams.
Break the mold.
As it turns out, your daily routine might be one of the major factors contributing to your less-than-rosy outlook on life, says Dr. Adams. Breaking your normal routine can be as simple as taking a new route home from work or as big as going skydiving—and then taking a trip across the world. Basically, anything that makes your adrenaline pump or even works to expand your mind can help maintain a balance in your life that truly promotes happiness.
Get a handle on your negative inner critic.
According to Dr. Adams, finding happiness begins with how you handle that negative inner critic in your head. In fact, finding a sunnier outlook on life can be as simple as acknowledging these critical thoughts, and then simply taking the time to replace the negativity with a comfortable neutrality.
Don’t sweat the small things.
When you stress about a little thing that has already happened or could happen to you, it only creates unnecessary stress and anxiety—especially when that little thing is anxiety regarding those things that you simply can’t control. According to Dr. Alok Trivedi, a human behavior and psychological performance expert and founder of the Aligned Performance Institute, this unnecessary worry could even lead to health problems.
Make time for solitude.
“We all lead very busy lives these days, but no matter how busy you are, you must make time for yourself. Even as little as 20 to 30 minutes each day can have a very positive impact on our mental health. Find a quiet place where you can be alone and just unwind, relax, and recharge. If sitting in quiet isn’t your thing, then find a fun activity that you really connect with that takes your mind off of everything else going on,” says Dr. Trivedi.
In short: solitude allows your busy mind to recharge—which is important in order to maintain your energy levels throughout the week.
Learn to say “no.”
While helping others has the potential to lift your own spirits as well, extending a helping hand too often can have the inverse effect and cause you to hemorrhage all of the energy required to help yourself, says Trivedi. “If there are too many requests for your time, understand that it is perfectly acceptable to say no. People aren’t going to dislike you because of it. Simply say, ‘I would love to help, but unfortunately I have another commitment and I’m unable to.'”
Set reasonable goals.
Rather than letting the days slip past you without achieving anything beyond what’s required of you on a daily basis, put pen to paper to visualize these goals you want to set for yourself. This, according to life coach Vikki Louise, is one step closer to becoming your best and happiest self. “Days, weeks, and months can quickly pass by, so be sure to create goals that you can work towards over time. It can be anything from writing a book to creating an event to practicing yoga. Goals remind us that changes are long-term,” she said. And if you want some goals you can totally meet, check out these 30 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Stick to This Year.
Get comfortable with self-love and self-compassion.
At times, it can feel as though you spend more energy turning a critical eye to every aspect of your life—even when you don’t deserve such harsh criticism. According to clinical psychotherapist Laura Federico, one of the best ways to live a happier, more fulfilled life is to learn how to get comfortable with showing yourself the adequate amount of self-love and self-compassion.