It’s completely normal to feel stressed, sad, angry, or frustrated depending on your circumstances. However, you do have a choice in how you react in terms of how long you dwell in those negative emotions. Choosing to be happy takes time and effort, and it’s something that needs to be done each day.
Here are 9 ways to reduce stress, increase moments of joy, and overall make your life happier.
9 ways to choose happiness each day
1. Stay active
Exercise does not always mean sweating it out in the gym. Just staying physically active by taking walks, doing yoga and pilates, or dancing can help keep both your body and mind refreshed. An active lifestyle is a great way to battle depression as well. Try to set aside at least 10-30 minutes a day to work out, but don't push yourself beyond what you are comfortable with.
Meditating for 10-30 minutes a day is a great way to relax, relieve stress, reduce anger, and declutter your mind. It helps you shed negative thoughts and allows you to focus on the positives in your life.
3. Practice gratitude
It is important to be appreciative for what you have instead of worrying about what you do not have. You could take a few minutes in the morning, before bed, or even in the shower to think about things you are grateful for that day, even if they are small things. Keep a gratitude journal to jot down experiences or people in your life that you appreciate.
4. Play with your pets
Spending time with a beloved pet can be a great way to destress and boost your mood. Not all pets require tons of time, space, or money. There are many low-maintenance pets, such as hamsters, fishes, turtles, or birds that may be good choices for you, depending on your lifestyle and budget.
Helping others can not only elevate your self-esteem, but the appreciation you receive from others can give you a sense of purpose and motivation. In your free time, you could consider volunteering at local animal shelters, orphanages, or old folks homes
6. Engage in hobbies
Spending some time every day doing an activity you like can bring a lot of simple joy to your life. Reading a book, listening to music, playing an instrument, cooking, gardening, or doing arts and crafts can help you relax and forget about the stresses of the day. You could also join a club related to your hobbies and widen your social network with like-minded people.
7. Go out of your comfort zone
Going out of your comfort zone to experience something new could add a jolt of excitement to your life. This could be as simple as trying a new cuisine or going on a short trip. You could make it a point to enjoy a new experience once a week, like attending a cool workshop or going on a hike.
8. Talk to someone
Talking to someone when you are stressed or feeling down can help you feel lighter, taking some of the weight of negative emotions off your shoulders. This could be a friend or relative, or even a therapist or psychologist. Visiting a professional does not mean you have a mental illness, and is nothing to be ashamed of. A professional can guide you, help you release pent-up feelings, and make sure you take care of your mental health.
9. Spend time with loved ones
As tempting as it may be to isolate yourself when you’re unhappy, you may be surprised at how much being with your friends and family can take you out of yourself and give you much needed laughter and lighthearted fun. Avoid toxic relationships and people who cause you stress. Boundaries and healthy relationships play a vital role in personal happiness.