Five Small Shifts to Increase Your Happiness this Week
When I get that promotion, I’ll finally be able to relax about money.
When we move closer to family, we’ll all be so much happier.
When I retire, I’m going to spend every day gardening, reading, and baking.
It’s easy to get too focused on “the big things” when we think about making changes in our lives to improve our mental wellbeing and overall quality of life. The long-term goals, the life-changing moments, the major accomplishments.
Don’t get me wrong, we need to celebrate those things and allow ourselves to fully bliss out in those wonderful times.
But we shouldn't defer our happiness waiting for those moments. And those once-in-lifetime moments aren’t enough to sustain us through all the daily ups and downs life throws our way.
What we need is a deep well of peace, gratitude, and joy that we can draw from.
And you know how you fill a well?
One drop at a time.
Here are five things you can do this week, starting today, that will help you build the kind of lasting happiness we all want to achieve!
ONE: Wake up to something other than your phone
I know, I know, we use our phones for everything, and it’s so easy to just set the alarm on your phone. But when you roll over to turn off that alarm, what are the chances you’ll also check to see if you have any new texts or emails? Or take a “quick” scroll through your socials? Or check the news? It’s almost inevitable, right?
The problem, though, is that it makes you feel like you’re already behind schedule for the day. While you’ve been sleeping, other people have been firing off emails, making smoothies for breakfast, and making multibillion dollar mergers! You start off the day on the defensive, feeling like you have to play catch-up.
TWO: Schedule time to think
You may not be able to do this every day, but at the very least pick one hour in your schedule this week that you can block out on your calendar. Then completely commit to doing nothing but thinking. That’s right—just think, don’t do.
Pick one project to map out and let yourself be creative. Or sit with your planner and just sketch out your schedule for next week, which can help you wrap your mind around what needs to get done. Or leave the day open to just see where your mind takes you—take a walk in nature, grab a table at your favorite coffee shop, or climb back into bed.
The most important part is that you don’t pressure yourself to accomplish anything specific.
There’s a time to be results-oriented and push to get things done, but leaving yourself time to reflect and plan will help you recharge, get a better sense of the big picture, and remind you that you are actually in the driver’s seat of your own life.
THREE: Be intentionally joyful
Happiness isn’t just about sinking into the good times and appreciating them. We have a million opportunities every day to pause and find something we can actively do to sprinkle joy into our lives and into the world.
Tickle your kid. Ask them to tell you their favorite joke of the moment. Wrap your spouse in a big hug. Text a friend and remind them of a happy memory. Wave to the baby in the shopping cart in front of you.
You have the power to create joy in this world. Choose a moment and be silly, be playful, be fun, and watch how everything and everyone around you embrace that light.
FOUR: Do something that makes you happy
Yeap, it’s just as simple as that! If you are looking for more happiness in your life, then the quickest way to get there is to make time to do the things that fill you up!
Go for a hike. Try that new pumpkin dessert recipe. Snuggle under the blankets and read a book. Blast the soundtrack to Encanto and have a dance party in your living room. Whatever that thing is for you do it with no guilt!
We are so good at loving on other people and taking care of them. Yes, that’s part of what it means to do life together. But we need to show ourselves love as well.
Find that balance between the love and joy you bring to others and the love and joy you create for yourself.
FIVE: Do that “to do” you’ve been putting off
Stick with me here. Maybe when you read that, your first thought was Whoa, girl, I’ve been putting off thing for a reason. How is that going to make me happier?
Listen, I know! I get it! I’ve got “that thing” on my list too. But I promise, this works!
Let me nerd out for a second and tell you why this is a scientifically proven formula for a burst of happiness. It's quite simple, actually... Our brains are wired to achieve goals. When we finish a task and can check it off the list, our brains celebrate by giving us a big ol’ hit of dopamine—that’s right, the “feel-good” hormone!
If you’re like most of us, you’ve got a few of those neglected “to do” items on your list. Don’t try to do them all. Just do one. Schedule your annual termite inspection. Replace the HVAC filters. Update your LinkedIn page.
It doesn’t have to be the biggest task. Start with the one that keeps showing up and taking up precious mental space. Yeap, pick that one, and get it done! It'll feel so so good, I promise.
There it is, friends! Five shifts—one for each day of the work week. Here’s my challenge to you—before you click away from this page, pick a small shift you can do today and then commit to getting it done!
All of those small drops will fill a well that will last a lifetime! Here's to more happiness.