Happiness costs nothing, and it isn’t so difficult to attain.
You don’t have to take grand vacations or wear $1000 shoes. You don’t have to be married with five kids or to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
All you have to do is cultivate simple habits that will make you smile every day.
Here are 12 habits that you can do daily to become happier ( they’re all so easy to do!).
1) Name three things you’re grateful for
Sometimes, the reason it gets harder to smile is that we forget how lucky we are.
To be happier, remind yourself of just how lucky you are.
Before you get out of bed, count your blessings.
This helps you practice gratitude, and to always look for the good and the beauty in the ordinary.
Do you have two hands, two feet, two eyes and two ears? Do you have at least one person who truly cares for you? Do you have electricity and water?
Well, you should realize that you’re one lucky chap.
2) Pay attention to how the world slowly wakes up
Do yourself a favor and start waking up before the world gets busy.
Make yourself a cup of coffee and then go outside to just observe what’s happening in front of you.
Notice how the sky turns from pitch black to orange to blue.
Listen to the sounds of your neighbor turning on the shower, preparing breakfast, and rushing to the door.
Notice how the shops slowly open, and how the streets slowly become filled with life.
You are part of all of this… and isn’t it a wonderful thing?
3) Take warm baths—and take your time doing it!
Sylvia Plath once said, “There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure.”
And I believe her. Warm things make me happy, too.
I always come out in a better mood after a warm bath—whether I just had a stressful day at work or I’m healing from heartbreak.
While at it, you might want to listen to your favorite music and take your time to really treat yourself like royalty.
4) Make a complete fool of yourself
When life gets too serious, I do embarrassingly stupid things.
I do it alone, of course but I’m sure the fun would be doubled if you do it with someone else.
Do silly faces in the mirror, do the chicken dance, act like you’ve turned into a grandma or a penguin or a helpless little worm.
Doing silly stuff doesn’t only make us laugh, it can also remind us that we shouldn’t be too serious with life.
After all, at the end of the day, we’re just silly kids trapped in an adult person’s body!
If you have 30 minutes to spare, sit at a cafe or on a public bench and just observe people.
Seeing people argue, laugh, or bicker can make us realize just how wonderful it is to just be human.
If you want, you can let your mind wander.
Get curious about these people. What do you think their names are? Where do you think they’re going? Do you think they’re happy?
By looking at others, you detach from yourself and your everyday worries, and you’re able to focus on life that’s right in front of you.
6) Eat a happy meal
And I don’t necessarily mean a McDonald’s happy meal. What I mean is any (healthy) meal that can truly make you happy!
As we get older, we start to worry about calorie intake and fats and cholesterol so we eliminate most of the good stuff and replace them with boring stuff.
But while eating tofu and salad can extend our life for a few years, you shouldn’t feel like eating is a chore.
Food should be enjoyed! It’s one of the major sources of happiness!
So do yourself a favor and find ways to eat delicious but healthy meals. You can find plenty of recipes online.
7) Dance or sing while doing chores
While you’re in the kitchen, pretend you’re a rockstar performing in front of a thousand people.
Play your favorite feel-good tunes and act like you’re Taylor Swift washing dishes.
Or Freddie Mercury sweeping the floor.
Or Michael Jackson scrubbing the bathroom.
This can make boring chores more enjoyable. Do it with your partner or your family and I guarantee you that you’ll add more joy to your day.
8) Talk to your animals and plants
No, you’re not crazy if you do it. And so what if you are, at least you’re happy.
Talk to your beloved plants and animals (or stuffed toys). Cuddle them, kiss them, have tea with them if you want!
Pretend they answer back and have long conversations with them.
Interacting with animals is scientifically-proven to decrease cortisol and release happy hormones.
Do this daily and trust me—you’ll be less grumpy.
9) Listen to good news
We hear and read bad news every single day—wars, crimes, the economy collapsing.
You might think they don’t affect your wellbeing, but it’s been studied that bad news can make us anxious, sad, and even angry.
It can also negatively affect how we view the world.
The solution? Stop doomscrolling or consume more happy news.
David Byrne has a website called Reasons to be Cheerful where he posts good news from all over the world. Maybe you’d want to read more content like that.
It can stop us from thinking that it’s all doom and gloom. And some of them can definitely make us smile.
10) Give 20-second hugs
Hugging can release happy hormones called oxytocin. But don’t just do two-second hugs—make it 20 seconds or even a minute.
Science says that 20-second hugs can greatly reduce stress and improve immunity. And based on experience, they also make me smile.
So make it a habit to hug longer.
And the good news is that you don’t even have to have someone to hug, you can simply hug your pet or your stuffed animal and it will have almost the same effect.
11) Get creative
Write poetry, knit, paint, do some crafts, build a treehouse…
Do something that makes you totally and completely engaged. Just 30 minutes of doing hobbies is guaranteed to improve your mood.
Not only does this take your mind off your worries, you’ll also get to appreciate the little things in life.
Sketching can make us pay attention to details, cooking can make us appreciate ingredients, and writing poetry can make us appreciate life.
So try not to let a day go by without spending at least 30 minutes on your hobbies. It’s necessary for a calmer, happier life.
12) Do small acts of kindness
Studies show that giving can make us happier.
No wonder they say that the best way to be happy is to make others happy.
And I suspect that the best way to make yourself smile is to make someone smile, too.
It might not be easy to do, and it would probably require more effort than the other habits in this list, but it has a bigger payoff ( both to you and the person you’re giving kindness to).
So do random small acts of kindness daily.
Offer your seat to an old man. Give some cookies to your neighbor. Write a good review to a restaurant you just went to.
Not only will you be a blessing to others, you’ll be smiling every single day, too.
So you see?
It won’t cost you a single dime to be happier.
It’s all about being grateful, being present, and maintaining a childlike attitude towards life.
Incorporate all of these in your daily routine and you’ll become a more joyful version of yourself.