happinessAccording to Dan Buettner, author of: Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, happiness isn’t just a mindset or an emotion; it can affect your overall health. These days we are so busy running around, juggling multiple responsibilities, and working so very hard that we often forget how to be genuinely happy.

I came across a saying recently, I think it was in a song that says: “Sometimes I work so hard to live, I don’t feel like I have a life.” Well the key to life is being happy. Happiness can improve the quality of your life. Being unhappy has a negative effect on your career, your family, and you own mental and physical health. This time of year can start getting stressful with kids going back to school, their hectic schedules, and the holidays being just around the corner. Instead of focusing on all the things that need to get done and stressing and worrying over them, use this opportunity to take a step back and enjoy yourself.

The following are a few helpful tips to start your road to happiness:

  • Spend time with your friends and family. Sounds simple but this quality time often gets put on the back burner when careers take precedence. Friends get caught up in their own hectic family schedules but it is important to set that time aside to see each other. Strong family and friend relationships have shown to reduce the rates of depression, suicide, and stress. Plan a family game night, a vacation, or a monthly night out with friends.
  • Find your purpose. What makes you happy? What are you good at? When do you find yourself feeling rewarded for what you have done? Find that reason and it will give you a reason to get up each morning and be happy doing what you are doing.
  • Practice your faith. Although this may not to pertain to everyone, religious people tend to be happier than non-religious individuals. Even if you aren’t religious, find something you believe in that gives you a feeling of hope.
  • Get your finances in order. You don’t have to be rich to be happy but you can be practical with your money which will leave you comfortable. If an opportunity arises such as a nice vacation or larger purchase of some sort, there will be no guilt if you have the means to do so. Not having a lot of debt will make a world of difference when it comes to your happiness. You won’t have to walk around every day wondering how and when the next bill is going to get paid.
  • Exercise and eat healthy. This is huge. Exercising releases endorphins which immediately put you in a better mood and when you exercise you tend to eat healthier. The two go hand-in-hand. Cut out the processed, sugary, salty, high-fat foods for natural, organic, local, and fresh. Lots of lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and good carbohydrates are key to optimal health. Remember: everything in moderation. If you eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis you don’t have to feel guilty about splurging once in a while on that beer, glass of wine, or slice of pizza.
  • Express gratitude. Being more aware of what you are grateful for on a daily basis is a good way to put things into perspective. Stop comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone out there who has more money, is more successful, has the bigger home, or is more attractive. You are who you are and you have friends and family who love you for that. Remember that there are others out there who have far less than you. Be grateful for your home, family, friends, career, and a home to live in.
  • If you can’t change a situation, change the way you see it. There are so many things in this world that we cannot control. As frustrating as that may be, there’s nothing you can do about it rather than accept it, see the positive in it, and move on.
  • Lighten up and don’t take things so seriously. Life is too short to be so serious all the time. Enjoy each day for what it is, see the good in people, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated. We come across so many people on a daily basis that are struggling in one way, shape, or form. We don’t know their history or what their story is. Smile at someone you don’t know, it may just make their day. Performing random acts of kindness are a great way to make yourself happy and feel good about yourself, and there is without a doubt you will have an impact on the person on the receiving end.

Overall happiness can lead to a better quality of life for not only yourself, but the loved ones around you. Start working at it a little each day and you and everyone around you will start to notice.