34 Strategies to Increase Happiness
Do you want to be happier? Chances are, we all do. So many studies have explored the benefits of happiness, that it’s almost impossible to argue against it. But how can you increase your happiness? This article will explore some strategies for increasing your level of happiness.
Increase Your Happiness With These Strategies:
1. Developing a new hobby or interest. Hobbies are a great way to change the monotony of your day while simultaneously increasing happiness. There are so many hobbies out there, you’re sure to find something that suits you! Sometimes just learning a new skill will be the interest you need to get out of your rut.
2. Promoting social connections by volunteering or attending events like parties and sporting events with friends and family
3. Staying physically active with activities that provide an immediate sense of satisfaction like gardening, cleaning, and cooking healthy meals.
4. Practicing gratitude by appreciating everyday things that might seem incidental (e.g. the smell of coffee in the morning, the fact that you don’t have a headache today).
5. Spending time thinking about positive aspects of your life (e.g. how wonderful it is that you are able to perform these life-affirming activities).
6. Read books or listen to audiobooks on positive thinking, personal growth, and self-help ideas. Watching or reading inspiring books, audio tapes, movies, or blogs about overcoming personal challenges (e.g. “The Road Less Traveled”).
7. Avoiding negative people and situations whenever possible by: Being intentional about who you spend your time with to avoid negative influences. For example, if you know that your co-worker has a negative spirit day after day, choose not to spend much time with them outside of work either one-on-one or as part of a team.
8. Avoid situations that you are not able to control the outcome of. It’s unlikely that you can control the outcome of every situation you encounter, so you may as well try and minimize the negative events in your life instead of having to deal with them.
9. Give yourself a reality check by writing down your thoughts in a journal and then comparing what you write with what you actually do (e.g. punish yourself for thinking negative thoughts or behaviors even when they are true).
10. Repeating a positive mantra and envision yourself doing something you love that will be good for your soul and your mind.
11. Listening to uplifting music (e.g. podcasts, audiobooks, and music) and reflecting on the good things in your life.
12. Meditating by shutting out all distractions for a period of time in order to focus on self-improvement (e.g. meditation, prayer).
13. Spending time with people who you find supportive and nurturing when you are sad or struggling (e.g. call a friend when you feel like crying, attend a support group).
14. Taking time to physically connect with nature, like a walk in the park or a hike up a mountain. Taking time to be in nature and connecting with the natural world can actually improve your happiness levels. This could be in the form of watching a sunset, walking through a park or even just breathing fresh air.
15. Make an effort to connect with family and friends on a regular basis, because many studies show that connections throughout life contribute to happiness.
16. Being thankful for what you have. It is easy to grow complacent after being surrounded by luxury and comfort most of your life. The most important thing you can do is reflect on the good things in your life and acknowledge them when they happen. It is also important to remember that things are never as bad as they might seem at first glance, so don’t be afraid to make plans for the future.
17. Find your strengths and concentrate on them. The only thing you’re capable of controlling is yourself. The more you learn about what makes you, you, the better equipped you are to control your own happiness.
18. Cultivate new interests that are enjoyable. It’s difficult to change your entire life overnight, but you can switch up the way you do things slowly by finding new interests. For example, you could take up a new sport or hobby that you’ve never tried before. This will keep things fresh and exciting while increasing the number of positive experiences you have.
19. Reaching out to others, rather than letting them come to you. Start by taking action and initiating contact with the people in your life. Don’t waste your time wondering what they are doing – call them, email them or visit for coffee to learn more about them! By reaching out to strangers and making connections with new people, they will begin to pull in others that you might not have even realized needed your attention.
20. Make an effort to surround yourself with people that have similar interests and goals. Peer pressure can be intense but when you enjoy the company of others you will be able to relax and let go of your inhibitions.
21. Creating goals for yourself that give you a sense of accomplishment. Knowing that you have a set of goals to reach is very motivating. They can also be used as a way to help keep yourself focused on positive things in your life because you’re constantly looking ahead at what you can achieve.
22. Developing personal values. Your personal values are the guiding forces in your life and they will determine how happy you are. Once you identify your own personal values it can be a lot easier to analyze a situation versus just going with the flow, which is often the easiest route for most people.
23. Give yourself positive feedback by writing down the extent to which you feel satisfied with yourself in general (i.e. how much do you feel that you are improving in your life).
24. Make exercise a habit. Even if you’re unhappy with your current state, there’s something you can do about it – start exercising! This is one of the best ways to get in touch with your body and the natural world around you. Plus, high energy levels are contagious, so others will most likely want to hang out with you if they’ve never seen you as a high-energy person before! It can also be a great way to meet new people in the area that also have a passion for health and fitness.
25. Being mindful of how your thoughts and actions can rouse positive feelings (e.g. focus on how good it feels when you are working out, or notice how spending time with friends makes you feel good).
26. Practicing the art of self-care by taking time to be with yourself, whether its by taking a walk around the block, by doing some yoga or meditation.
27. Get into a routine of doing something good for your health. Many people make the mistake of only focusing on fixing their current symptoms or bad experiences in life but fail to notice that their unhappiness stems from a deeper cause. Once you start treating your body right, it will help motivate you as well as improve the quality of your life.
28. living away from stressful environments. There are few things more important in life than living in a positive and happy environment with people that care about you. It’s also important to note that moving away from a stressful situation doesn’t necessarily mean moving away from friends and family. Many people think that they are sacrificing their social life by relocating to another area, but the truth is you can have as much, if not more, of an outgoing social life in another city if you make it your goal to do so!
29. Use positive self-talk with yourself to replace negative self-talk and negative behaviors (e.g., “I am the best version of myself.”).
30. Spending more time thinking about what makes you happy and less time worrying about what is wrong in your life.
31. Being open to trying positive things that no matter how small they are can make a difference. With all of the things that are going on in your life, sometimes you forget to look for and take advantage of small joys in life. For example, while watching TV one day, I was looking over at a stray cat who was sleeping on my laptop. It made me think about how our minds can be so focused on what’s wrong with us that we forget to enjoy the little things that may not have any direct impact on our lives – but that actually make us happy!
32. Enjoy the company of others by thinking of ways to get together as often as possible.
33. Preparing yourself with positive expectations before undertaking conversations or activities that frustrate you (e.g., anticipating success or focusing on all the reasons why something should go well rather than stressing out).
34. Making decisions based on what is important to you instead of thinking about what others want or think about you (i.e., the choice to skip a commitment to hang out with friends and instead spend time with family because it’s important to do good things for yourself).
Being happy requires learning the values of what it means to love yourself by accepting who you are and working on improving who you want to become.
“Happiness is not about what happens to you but about what you decide happens to you.” -Iyanla Vanzant
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