10 Ways to Increase Your Happiness

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Jack Hinrichs, LMFT, Outpatient Therapist.  Everyone wants to be healthy and happy, right? But how do we get there? According to research, there are certain ways to increase our happiness based on the habits that happy people implement.   Keep reading to explore some of the many ways we can all increase our happiness.  

1. Discover Your Definition of Happiness 

We all have varying definitions of happiness. So, what does happiness mean to you? For some, it’s spending time with their children, for others, it’s creating more moments of peace. Discover and define what happiness means to you, and how you can incorporate more of those things into your life.  

2. Cultivate Mindfulness 

We hear a lot about mindfulness, but that’s because there’s extraordinary research that shows the improvement of our quality of life when we utilize mindfulness effectively. The basis behind mindfulness is intentionality. Slow down and enjoy what you are doing in the present moment. By doing so, you become mindful of what’s happening right now, instead of thinking about the past or stressing about the future.   Related: 8 Mindfulness Practices to Reduce Stress 

3. Foster Connections 

When you think about the happiest moments of your life, were you alone, or with other people? While there’s nothing wrong with spending time alone, there is significance in sharing moments with others. Developing meaningful relationships has a profound impact on our happiness levels. These relationships become a source of joy in the good times and a source of support in the challenging times.   Related: Being Lonely and Being Alone: What's the Difference? 

4. Live Generously  

A 2017 study found a neural link between generosity and happiness. In the study, researchers concluded that “Generous behavior is known to increase happiness, which could thereby motivate generosity.”   When was the last time you were generous with your resources? This does not just include money, it could include other things like your time, words, or items.  

5. Embrace a Growth Mindset 

Embracing a growth mindset is another way to increase happiness, as those with a growth mindset tend to overcome challenges quicker. Jack Hinrichs, Outpatient Therapist at Nystrom, notes:
Happy people often use adaptive coping strategies and tend to be more resilient. They are able to bounce back from hardship. They learn how to be happy in spite of hardship and suffering (1).
Related: A Fixed vs. Growth Mindset 

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved." -Helen Keller

6. Incorporate Gratitude 

Gratitude has been associated with improved well-being. Not only does giving thanks and recognizing the good qualities in your life improve your own well-being, but being grateful can also improve your relationships.   To incorporate more gratitude, start a gratitude practice. You can write down things you are thankful for (like starting a gratitude journal) or share them with a loved one. Bring this into your daily life and see how your perspective begins to shift, along with your happiness.   For more on gratitude, read How Gratitude Can Change Your Life.  

7. Explore Your Purpose 

Take some time to explore your purpose or mission in life. What gives you a sense of purpose? What kind of impact do you want to make in the world? Start to find your purpose and pursue it.  

8. Define Your Values & Live Them 

Life becomes easier when you are honed in on your values and live them as well. You might discover that you’ve known all along what it will take to be happier, but you aren’t living your values. Write down your values and place them somewhere you will see them often.  

9. Be Mindful of Screen Time 

A study conducted by Preventative Medicine Reports concluded that screen time greater than six hours per day through TV or computer use is correlated with higher levels of depression. Take note of where your screen time is currently and how you feel when you log out or turn the TV off. Try to keep the TV/computer out of the bedroom and keep recreational screen time to two hours or less per day.  Related: How to Help a Loved One With Depression

10. Get Sunshine 

When we’re exposed to sunshine, our mood improves and our bodies are able to absorb vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for both our mental health and physical health. According to WebMD, “There is sufficient research to show that not having enough of the vitamin can lead to depression-like symptoms,” and most people are vitamin D deficient.   The simplest way to get a healthy dose of vitamin D is to ensure you are getting adequate sun exposure. In addition, there are certain foods that contain vitamin D such as fatty fish or dairy products fortified with vitamin D.  

A Word From Nystrom & Associates 

There are many more ways we can work to increase our happiness. And sometimes, we need a little help getting there. That’s perfectly okay. Our therapists and addiction counselors are here to help. Wherever you’re at, you’re not alone. Reach out today to request an appointment online or call 1-844-NYSTROM Sources:
  1. The Habits of Happy People, Jamie Kurtz, Ph.D 

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