Being happy is pretty simple if we focus on it. We said it before: 40% of our happiness depends on us, on our own actions and attitude. It’s our own habits that play the biggest role, and not the people we have around or our environment, as we would tend to think. You should always remember this: happiness is an inside job – don’t assign anyone or anything else that much power over your life.

Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your life. Click To Tweet

 

Often, when we think about changing habits or incorporating new ones into our lives, we immediately think “I already have too much to do, my schedule is full, so… no, maybe when I’m less busy…I don’t know, but not now”. So here is a list of 5 things to do that will definitely not take much of your time (although if your wellbeing is your priority, time should stop being a concern).

Cultivating habits for a simpler and happier life

 

1. Express your feelings and thoughts.

I remember I read once that humans should be more like dogs – dogs are not embarrassed nor afraid to show their feelings. When you come back home from work, they will run and wag at you and make all this big celebration and show you they are absolutely happy to see you again. If the day is nice, they lay on the grass; if they are bored and want your attention, they bring you their favourite toy and are not ashamed to show you how much they want to play.

It is important to say what we feel and think if we want to have authentic relationships and be true to ourselves. And not just because of that: feelings are there to be experienced and expressed. In “Inside out: why sadness can save us” we explain that emotions are meant to be felt, and that repressing our suffering or feelings typically leads to greater pain.

So if there is something bothering you, say it.
If you are missing someone, call.
If you love someone, tell them.
If you don’t like something, raise your voice.
If someone makes you happy, let that person know.

Saying what you feel and think will make you free.

 

2. Play and have fun as if you were a child.

 

“The creative adult is the child who has survived”. – Ursula K. Le Guin
“All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up”. – Pablo Picasso

These two quotes should inspire you to leave aside your responsibilities as adult from time to time, to let this kid we all have within show up, and to connect with life in a different, more fun, more relaxed way.
Fun is a very important element of our happiness and wellbeing. Treat yourself to do what you want and have fun. Be like a child for once. Make yourself time to play and have meaningful moments with your kids or with your pets. They love it, they need it, and you will benefit greatly from it.

Embrace your inner child, no matter what age you are. Click To Tweet

Sing in the shower, dance in front of the mirror, whatever. Sometimes, making fun of ourselves is a very good medicine for a hard day 🙂

And remember: “Never, never, underestimate the importance of having fun” – Randy Pausch

 

3. Take a moment to connect with nature. Sit in the sun and feel the breeze.

In “One step closer to happiness: savouring the moment” we discussed the idea of being more aware of our surroundings and of the simple things that we encounter every day that bring us joy. Sitting in the sun for a moment everyday to just feel the fresh air in your face is a great way of connecting with nature, relaxing, disconnecting from your routine, feeling energized and happier.

Our connections with nature could just be the best medicine, improving our health, happiness, and well-being. Being surrounded by trees and flowers calms our minds, brings silence and a sensation that time doesn’t matter that much.

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There is a growing number of studies putting forward evidence that a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier people.

Remember to disconnect from technology. None of the above will be possible if you are on alert for a beep on your phone. Leave it aside. Put it away.

 

4. Make sure to meet your friends and widen your social network.

One of the scientifically proven ways to be happy is to connect with our loved ones, to widen our network, and to feel we are part of a community.

 

 

 

 

5. Be open to learning new things.

“A mind is like a parachute: it won’t work if it’s not open”, said Frank Zappa. We should challenge ourselves regularly and pursue things that bring us a feeling of achievement.

Sometimes, when facing this challenge, we think of big things, which discourage and put us off from even starting. It is not about learning “big new things”, it can be a new cooking recipe every week, or reading about a different topic every now and then, listening to people that think different to you or that know more than you about certain issue.

Learning something new will trigger serotonin, which is one of the “feel good” chemicals in our brain.

Learning something new will trigger serotonin, which is one of the “feel good” chemicals in our brain.

 

Life is, with its ups and downs, is less complicated than what we make of it. We don’t need much to be happier – it’s all in our attitude and way of thinking. Cultivate healthy habits, give yourself time to have fun, play and relax, and you’ll find that whatever burden you’ve been carrying will suddenly feel lighter.

 

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