If you believe you deserve to smile and enjoy life on the daily, and want to know the practical and proven tips that WORK, then this article is for you.
In that time, research has proven that our ability to be happy directly affects our health, our relationships, and the longevity of our life. However, the most important discovery of all, is that through specific daily practices we can literally REWIRE our brain and condition it to be happier.
Let’s go over 5 proven and scientifically-backed keys to living a thriving, happy life (…and simple tips on how to do it).
1. Feed Your Mind.
The laws of nature are pretty clear: if something isn’t growing or evolving, it’s dying. And we are no exception. Humans have a psychological need to sense and feel that we are growing. Progress feels amazing, and growth sparks our confidence. Frankly, it’s hard to FEEL happy when, inside, we feel stale, stagnant and stuck.
So if you want to be happy every day, a simple tip is to do something every day to feed your mind with new knowledge, new ideas, new skills and habits that not only fuel growth, but also your happiness.
(touch image to share it)
2. Contribute Beyond Yourself.
There is certainly a felt sense of happiness when we do something nice for ourselves. #treatyoself It’s helpful, but also fleeting. However, when you give your time and energy to the service of others, the effects not only last 2x longer, it also builds character traits like selflessness and humility.
Acts of service can be extraordinarily simple: hold open a door for someone at work, make dinner for the family, help a friend through a tough time, etc. OR, it could be something on a much larger scale: Volunteer your time for a charity, create a product or service that solves a problem, or just have the courage to ask this simple question: “How can I help?”
Now, don’t take my word for it, trust what your experience teaches you. Try any one of these things, notice the way you feel, then report back.
3. Activate Gratitude.
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past decade, you’ve likely heard about the power of gratitude, gratitude journals, etc., and the incredible power it has over your happiness. However, I’d like to take this one a bit “deeper.”
You see, for many gratitude is a check-the-box mental exercise, or occasional journal entry (yep, I used to do that too). The problem is that gratitude is a FEELING, and for it’s magic to work on your happiness, you have to 1) do it daily, and 2) get out of your head about it.
TRY THIS: Grab your phone right now, and set a daily reminder on your phone (AM or PM) with this simple question: “What’s Good?” Then be patient with yourself as you sense the most authentic answer. Could be something simple like “I’m grateful that I was able help [insert name] solve that problem today.” Or, something more profound you feel after a deep breath, like “I woke up. I won.” Either way, the instruction is this: Focus on what you’re grateful for. Then at the moment of discovery, move it down from your head, and into the center of your chest. Now doesn’t that feel different!
If you FEEL gratitude, then it’s working.
(touch image to share it)
4. You should “Move it, move it.”
No, it’s not just the main dance sequence from the Dreamworks film Madagascar, it’s also #4 on our list of fantastic happiness keys.
Sure, there are plenty of articles on how 30 minutes of daily exercise not only increases your health, creativity, and lifespan, but also that it increases your daily sense of happiness. How? I’m so glad you asked. Exercise (strength training in particular) has an incredible triforce effect. (yes, Zelda fans, go ahead and giggle).
1) Moving your body in an exerting way produces a lovely cocktail of chemicals called endorphins, which not only decrease your sense of pain, but also has a noticeable effect of making you and your brain happier. 2) Additionally when you set the intention to do something (like your goal of exercising) and you crush it, it feels pretty damn awesome. It not only boosts your confidence, but also your sense of happiness with yourself. 3) It starts you on a larger path of achievement, happiness, and fulfillment. Exercise (and sports for that matter) have a largely unspoken ripple effect on your personal philosophy. You will find yourself thinking: “Well if I can do this, what else can I do?” 30 minutes of physical fitness is like a “gateway drug” into a much larger world of personal achievement, success, and happiness.
5. Do what you love!
Now, you might be thinking, “duh, I knew that,” and I’d place my bet that you did. Yet, as G.I. JOE famously taught my generation, “knowing is half the battle.”
You might be surprised to learn that most people around the world DON’T do what they love. Like so many of us, we start off following our passions, dreams, and hobbies, and then life gets busy. Before you know it, we’re working 10-14 hour work days (including traffic), doing house chores, paying bills, and generally just “taking care of business.”
But, if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves in the drift, feeling like we’ve lost touch with the things that we used to do that brought us so much joy. The musical instruments find their way to the basement collecting dust. The jeep gets covered in a tarp that never comes off. The sport leagues we used to play in, and the all men’s singing group we used to be apart of (what? you didn’t have one?), all start to slowly fade out of memory like that dude from Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out.
BUT WAIT there’s good news. No matter how far we get pulled off course, there’s this bold idea called “living a life by design,” instead of one by default. It’s BIG part of what we teach in The Legacy Life Map™, and I strongly encourage you to look into it.
With that said, here are a few simple things you can do right now, to help you get back on track: 1) Write down 5 things you used to do that brought a great deal of mental stimulation, creative expression, and joy into your life. 2) Next to that thing, write down how you FELT while you were doing it . 3) Make a bold move. Have a courageous conversation with your spouse, friends, roommates, whomever, and say “this is what I’d like to start doing again, and I’d like your support in helping me get back into it (or heck, join me in doing it).
Truth is, if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. Either way, I’m here to tell you that you’re worth it, and that YOUR happiness is a positive wave that will spread through others. Make the investment in your own happiness, and I bet you’re not the only one who benefits.
There is a large population of people who believe happiness is something we stumble into, or trip over; feel for a fleeting moment, and then it’s gone. Therefore we have no control over it, and we need to just enjoy it when the wind blows in our direction. I don’t blame them. Even the word happiness itself, with it’s root word “hap” (as in haphazard, and happenstance) quite literally translates as “by luck, or by chance.”
Good news is, there is a significantly large and growing population of people, backed by science, who have found a better way. They know that happiness is a state of being that we can access at any time with the right habits. We don’t need to chase after it, or hope it finds us, we PRODUCE it in our hearts, minds and actions. We can access this state of being every day with a few simple habits like learning something new, doing something nice for someone else, noticing what we’re thankful for, exercising, and doing what we love.
There are keys available to all of us that unlock that potential, and allow us to live a wildly thriving and happy life. The life we all deserve. The life we’ll be proud of at the end of our days.
I’m curious. What on this list has worked for you? If you were to add a 6th or 7th item, what would it be? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
About the Author
Co-Founder of Legacy Life. Man on a Mission.
Patrick is a dedicated husband and father who believes that each of us, without exception, can shape our minds, bodies, and lives in any direction we choose. His mission is to help you get the insights, tools, and strategies you need to leave a legacy you are proud of.