Do you want to be happy? Of course you do, who doesn’t?! Here are 101 easy ways to achieve a better, happier life!
It’s not things that make us happy but our experiences.
Travel can have a profound effect on us by taking us out of our comfort zones and opening our eyes to some of the different places and lives that were unknown to us. It’s also just fun!
We’re obviously big fans of travel, but what else can make you happy? Read on for 101 ways to change your life for the better:
1) Travel when you can. Travel can open your eyes to the world and offer a fresh new perspective.
2) Take a weekend trip. If you haven’t got the funds for a jaunt to Paris, no matter. Even a weekend or day long break from home can make you happier.
3) Spend time by the ocean. There’s nothing like sand between your toes and fresh sea air.
4) Go camping. Commune with nature closer to home—the food will taste better and you’ll sleep deeper in the great outdoors.
5) Go skydiving. Face your fears and reap the benefits of this exhilarating extreme sport—you’ll be euphoric for weeks.
6) Go stargazing. Find a spot relatively free of unnatural light and marvel at the beauty of the night sky.
7) Sit in front of a beautiful view. Find a spot close by with a nice view that you can visit when you need a break.
8 ) Make enough money to meet your basic needs. Studies have shown that anything beyond that amount will not necessarily make you happier.
9) Avoid financial hierarchies. For a new job, choose a place where everyone makes a similar amount. People feel better when they feel equal to their co-workers.
10) Find satisfaction in the job you have. Don’t expect to find one job that will make you happy—instead focus on the positive aspects of your work instead of blaming a job for your unhappiness.
11) Take initiative at work. You’ll gain professional respect, self-fulfillment and feel more in control in the workplace.
12) Keep plants in your workspace. The LA Times found that employees who decorate their office space are more satisfied with their jobs.
13) Bake cookies and bring them to work. You’ll enjoy the baking and making your co-workers happy.
14) Get enough sleep. Sleeping for 8 hours per night can elevate your mood and better prepare you to greet the day.
15) Take vitamin C. Keeping your immune system happy will keep you happy.
16) Laugh out loud. Laughing releases endorphins and lowers levels of stress hormones.
17) Cook with more garlic. Garlic not only adds delicious flavor to meals, it also keeps blood pressure down to keep you relaxed and healthy.
18) Get more fresh air. Fresh air is invigorating and alters the levels of serotonin in your brain—the stuff that makes you happy!
19) Eat more foods with tryptophan. It has an amino acid needed to make serotonin, the chemicals that make you happy. Try more bananas, dairy products and poultry.
20) Work out. Exercising can not only make you feel better about yourself, it also releases endorphins in your body to give you a natural high.
21) Eat chocolate. Besides releasing endorphins and stimulating serotonin production in your brain, chocolate releases phenylethylamine, the chemical that causes feelings of love.
22) Meditate. According to the Dalai Lama as well as several medical studies, meditation not only decreases stress, but also triggers a neurological response that makes you happy.
23) Do yoga. Learning to control your breathing through yoga practice helps you control your responses to stress and fear.
24) Get a massage. Besides its relaxing properties, the touch involved in massage creates warmth in your body and releases the chemical oxytocin—also known as the cuddle hormone.
25) Eat chickpeas (or other beans). Chickpeas have an amino acid that makes you happy, and beans keep your sugar levels steady throughout the day.
26) Have sex. Numerous studies show that a healthy sexual intimacy with a caring partner can have tremendous physical and emotional benefits.
27) Install more windows in your house. Getting enough exposure to the sun has been proven to be crucial to happiness and well-being.
28) Put full-spectrum lights in your home or office. If you live in a wintry climate that doesn’t get much sun, you can replicate the effect with light bulbs that mimic the sun’s rays.
29) Drink coffee. Studies in Brazil showed that people who drink coffee every day are less likely to suffer from depression. Coffee is the world’s most popular mood-enhancing drug, but remember to drink in moderation
30) Eat more spinach. Popeye’s favorite green is packed with folic acid, an important vitamin that boosts serotonin production.
31) Eat foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Certain kinds of fish like salmon or sardines have Omega-3, which is known to elevate mood levels—high doses are even used to treat depression.
32) Eat more colorful fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidants which help remove toxins from our bodies that cause stress and aging.
33) Put some strawberries in your breakfast. The smell of strawberries is known to invigorate and energize.
34) Drink hot mint tea. The scent of fresh mint is energizing and the steam will perk you up.
35) Smile. It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown.
36) Make a grateful list. Focus on all the great things in your life to enhance feelings of joy and attract more good things.
37) Break outside your comfort zone. Being comfortable doesn’t make you happy—challenging yourself does.
38) Follow your gut. Most of the time your first instinct is not only correct, but the best choice.
39) Don’t regret your decisions. If it turns out you were wrong, don’t waste time worrying about it, instead make the next best decision and move forward.
40) Accept that you can’t be happy all the time. Focus on being content and the truly happiness will be all that much sweeter.
41) Try to see from others’ perspectives. Much of our unhappiness comes from our frustration with other people not understanding us. Try to imagine how they see the world and the frustration will ease.
42) Let the little things go. There’s no sense in wasting your energy and inhibiting your happiness by worrying about things you can’t change.
43) Make the decision to be happy. Happiness is an attitude, not a physical state.
44) Don’t take things personally. So often, anger and frustration directed at us is a result of someone else’s misplaced stress. Recognize that it’s not necessarily about you and you’ll remain calmer and happier.
45) Savor the small moments. People who take longer to enjoy small moments and then reflect on them later in the day show significant increases in happiness.
46) Avoid comparing yourself to others. It’s damaging to self-esteem—focus on your own achievements.
47) Make meaningful goals. Harvard scientists say humans need a sense of purpose to thrive and that people with dreams and aspirations are happier than those without.
48) Embrace spirituality. Research suggests that people who participate in a religious community or explore alternate sets of beliefs are happier and better adjusted in life.
49) Have a good cry when you need it. Allowing yourself to break down completely is cathartic and you’ll feel better after you let it all out.
50) Learn to forgive yourself. Focusing on your past mistakes serves no purpose besides keeping you from moving on.
51) Maintain perspective. When life starts to feel out of control, remind yourself of the positive things in your life and how lucky you are.
52) Define what happiness means for you. Don’t worry about what other people define as happy, find what makes you happy and go for it.
53) Stay close to friends and family. Moving far away from networks of support can take a toll on your level of happiness—even if you have moved in order to make more money.
54) Get a dog. The studies showing the positive effects man’s best friend can have on your psyche are numerous: better emotional and physical health and a wagging tail.
55) Give more hugs. Hugging releases the same chemical as massage and is always free!
56) Make time for your friends. Personal connections are so important and making even a little time to be with people who make you smile can keep you happy.
57) Make new friends. Meeting other people is exciting and finding a new person with whom to connect can only enhance your fulfillment.
58) Write thank-you notes. Expressing gratitude makes you and the recipient happy.
59) Call your mom. Or your dad, or your grandma or anyone you haven’t talked to in a while and surprise them with a chat.
60) Get a cat. If you’re not a dog person, cats make wonderful, loving, stress-reducing housemates and bed-warmers.
61) Cuddle up with someone you love. Enjoy time with your kids or your partner for instant happiness.
62) Babysit for a friend. Being around children’s infectious optimism is sure to boost your mood.
63) Hold a baby. They’re cute and cuddly and without a care in the world—you’ll feel instantly uplifted.
64) De-clutter. A clean home is a clean mind, and you’ll feel better in an orderly environment.
65) Donate to charity. Giving to those less fortunate than you will make you appreciate what you have.
66) Rent a comedy. Take an hour and a half out of your day for pure laughing entertainment and you’ll feel instantly boosted.
67) Watch kittehroulette.com. If watching nonstop videos of playful kittens doesn’t lift your spirits, nothing will.
68) Take a nap. A quick power nap, especially on a sunny afternoon, is luxurious and will help you make it through the day.
69) Change one thing in your daily routine. You’ll stave off boredom and might discover something new that delights you.
70) Take a walk. Taking a quick walk, even just around the block can clear your mind and raise your mood.
71) Surround yourself with smells that make you happy. Smell is a much overlooked sense that greatly affects our mood—try a coconut shampoo that reminds you of a vacation or bake cookies that remind you of childhood.
72) Listen to upbeat music. Even just a few minutes of a hip-shaking tune gets your blood flowing and makes you feel more positive.
73) Set your alarm early on a day you know you get to sleep in. When you wake up you’ll get the pleasure of realizing that you don’t have to get out of bed—then rolling over for some more satisfying zzz’s.
74) Paint a room in your house yellow. Looking at the color yellow has been proven to improve moods.
75) Make a home cooked-meal. You’ll get not only tasty food, but the pride of having made it yourself.
76) Dress up for no reason. Putting on clothes that make you feel good increases your self-esteem and your mood.
77) Add some soft blue to your bedroom. Light blue has been shown to be the most calming color and can set the mood for a restful night’s sleep—essential to a positive attitude.
78) Do something you loved as a kid. Riding a roller-coaster or going sledding can help you connect to your inner child and remember simple thrills.
79) Wear red. Red can make us feel confident, powerful and strong.
80) Splash on some perfume/aftershave. Studies show that floral scents can make you happier.
81) Volunteer your time. Selfless acts and helping others is a fast route to genuine contentment.
82) Decorate your home for the holidays. Preparing for holiday celebrations is always fun and a great excuse to invite friends and family over.
83) Take time for yourself. Go to a movie, or a museum or a walk around town by yourself to re-connect.
84) Perform random acts of kindness. Hold open a door for a stranger or leave some money in the vending machine, for no other reason than doing something nice for your fellow man.
85) Send snail-mail. Rediscover the pleasure of old-fashioned communication.
86) Make time to curl up with a good book. It can be either a thought-provoking tome or a guilty pleasure.
87) Invest in fancy bedding. Be cozy and happy drifting to sleep and wake up to a happy morning.
88) Go bowling with friends. Throw back to your younger years, and bonus points for matching shirts.
89) Dance. Alone or at a club, dancing is fun and stress-releasing.
90) Pay off your credit card debt. Debt can be a major source of stress and you’ll feel great when you eliminate it from your life.
91) Clean the house. Even if you don’t like cleaning, a clean home can drastically improve your attitude.
92) Volunteer at a local animal shelter. You’ll get the pleasure of knowing you’re lending your time and brightening the day of some furry friends.
93) Find a hobby. Painting, singing, tai chi—it doesn’t matter as long as you have an outlet to express yourself.
94) Turn off your phone for a day. Let people know in advance that you are taking a personal day and can only be reached in case of emergency. Savor the silence.
95) Sing in the shower. It doesn’t matter what you sing, just make sure you belt it as loud as possible.
96) Stash some money in a secret place so you can discover it later. Pick a spot you’re likely to forget so you get a thrill weeks or months later when you stumble on it.
97) Enjoy a guilty pleasure TV show. Make some popcorn and banish the guilt—we all need a cheesy escape sometimes.
98) Go for a walk or jog in the rain. The high produced by exercise will be heightened by the cool rain on your face.
99) Enjoy a cold beer or chilled wine on a hot day. Need I say more?
100) Go to hear live music. Hearing music live puts you in the moment in a way an iPod can’t.
And finally 101, Share with others! Tell us what makes you happy—the places you’ve been or the things you’ve done–we can all learn from each other!
If you liked this you might also like: Top 10 Happiest Countries in the World.
Photo: Mara reducing stress levels through yoga in Cook National Park, New Zealand.