“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions," says the Dalai Lama.
Many experts and spiritual teachers tell us that happiness, or joy, is a choice that we make. In fact, research shows you can get happy in seconds once you have found the right tools.
Try a few of these simple exercises to help boost your mood and feel more joy each day.
Take a Walk in the Park
Canadian researchers asked people to think about a painful event and then go for an hour-long walk in nature. They found that by the end of the walk, the participants felt better. Perhaps the beauty of nature combined with moving the body can help us literally “step away” from negative thoughts. Walks can also help city dwellers who experience brain fatigue to feel more calm and happy.
Make a Joy List
Take a few minutes and list your top 20 favorite activities. Once you are done, go through the list and put a date next to the last time you actually did that activity. For any items that you haven't done in more than a month, schedule them into your calendar. Notice how much happier you become when you do the things you love.
Have A Morning Joy Party
Many experts say that how you start your day has a huge impact on how you will feel. Instead of starting your morning with a grumpy walk to the coffee maker, why not try a morning joy party? Listen to uplifting music, dance around your room, sing in the shower, take time to meditate or pray, make your favorite breakfast, put on your favorite clothes, or do anything that helps you start your day in a celebratory mood.
Ever notice if someone smiles at you, you can’t help but smile back? Research shows that our facial expressions can influence our emotions. If you smile, you can’t help but feel happy. So put a big grin on your face and see what happens to your joy factor.
Get a Happy App
If you are feeling too busy to keep up with your own happiness, get an app to help you. Happify is one example. It uses activities and games based on research from psychologists and neuroscientists to train your brain to feel happier each day. Try Today's Victories, which helps users track people and things they are grateful for in their life, or Serenity Scene, which leads users through a short guided relaxation exercise.
© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies