March 20 is International Happiness Day. And with happiness advice shared across all media, I thought it would be good to focus on the most underutilized tips.
When you think of happiness, you may assume thinking positively, creating goals or surrounding yourself with happier people will help. But you can do even simpler things to be happier in each moment.
In researching my next book, Adventures for Your Soul, I went on my own happiness adventure and experimented with tons of ways to be happier in the moment, including simple lifestyle changes. What I found was a breakthrough, not only in my happiness, but my relationships. They were deeper. My self-worth grew. And I enjoyed being in the moment more.
Sometimes reaching our goals and becoming happier can feel like a struggle. It's nice to have a little break and do simple things that require a lot less effort.
Here are seven under-the-radar happiness tips.
1. Watch the sunset.
I moved to Hawaii for a few months to finish my next book and I paused every day to watch the sunset. When I moved back to Portland, I kept this ritual and I feel more balanced than ever. When you pause each day to reflect and give thanks, you connect with yourself and appreciate the moment. Not only does watching the sunset relieve stress, but it reminds us how precious and beautiful both our life and the world are.
2. Stop thinking so much.
Many of us spend more time in our head then our heart, and it's easy to get caught in a cycle of negativity. We often overthink, analyze choices or worry about outcomes before they happen. If you want to be happier, begin to monitor your thoughts. Pay attention to them instead of letting them run rampant, and begin to shift the conversation to a more compassionate, loving one. Remember, you aren't everything you think.
3. Smile more.
Smiling has huge benefits. Not only can you trick your brain into feeling better, but your body begins to feel lighter and more comfortable as well. Do it now. For a moment, smile as you read this. Watch how your body feels. I did an experiment and for one week I smiled at everyone, everywhere I went. I learned a lot, both about myself and others. Some people avoided eye contact, others were pleasantly surprised, while others made comments. But at the end of the week, my inner dialogue was kinder and I felt a lot happier and connected to my best self.
4. Stop holding onto limiting ideas.
Chances are you're holding onto something that is no longer working: job you hate, a relationship that has expired, a belief you're ugly or not good enough. We all have situations and beliefs that hold us back. If you really want to be happy, ask yourself what you can let go of, then gently do it.
5. Get more beach time.
In Wallace J. Nichols' book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, he demonstrates the power of water and its effect on our well-being.
If you're overwhelmed and stressed out, plan a trip to the beach. Not close to one? Don't let that stop you. Maybe now is the time to book that trip you've always wanted to go on to the Caribbean or Hawaii. Your happiness levels will spike when you have something to look forward to, plus you'll be fulfilling a dream.
6. Speak kindly to yourself.
Being happier starts with how you treat yourself. Look at your lifestyle, and instead of looking at all the things you do on the outside to be happy, such as yoga, detoxing, saving money and so on, focus on what you're doing on the inside. What's the quality of your thoughts? Start to cultivate more love and gratitude for the wonderful person you are in this moment. From the moment you wake up, speak kindly to yourself and continue this throughout the day.
7. Invest in your dreams.
You have goals in your heart that want to be manifested. Instead of focusing on acting on them when the time is right, take action today. Can you do more research? Put down a deposit or reach out to someone who knows someone? Taking action will help you bring your dreams into focus. Sometimes we don't know what we want or how what we want can happen, so we stay stuck in worry. But taking one action step everyday that your future self will hug you for will reap tremendous rewards. What action can you take today to invest in your dream?
Create your own happiness list with this FREE Love Your Life to the Fullest Guide.
Photo Credit: Getty Images