Updated: 3 days ago
Have you spent some time this past year wishing you were happier and your life felt less stressful? Happiness is something we all have the ability to create, foster and share with others. Yet so often we define our happiness by things in the outside world, especially the things other people see. And if we feel we don’t meet those standards or ideals, we can quickly feel our happiness moving out of reach.
Instead of putting your happiness in the hands of others or basing if on material things, seek joy from within.
Not sure how to start? Get ready to boost happiness this year with the help of these 4 powerful mindset tips!
Tips for Finding Your Happy, Stress Free Place
Move away from negative thinking
If negative thinking is a challenge for you, it’s definitely something you’ll want to change in the New Year ahead to empower your "year of happy." Negative thinking can be a vicious cycle that leads to increased stress, anxiety and depression. Breaking the cycle is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind and spirit.
Being in the present moment is important for stopping negative thinking in its tracks. It can help put distance between you and the things that trigger negative thoughts. It forces your mind to become more aware of negative thoughts and to take a step back from them, releasing their power.
Reframing your thinking is also a good way to promote a happier, stress free life. If you find you tend to think negatively about situations, it can be a challenge to flip this around and see the positive side, but it is worth the effort. Start by trying to put a positive spin on situations that would normally create stress and negatively influence your mood. For the New Year, set a goal to reframe your thinking at least once a day, choosing to see something in a more positive light. Over time, you’ll actually train your mind to look for the positive and encourage those healthier thought patterns.
Immerse yourself in authentic experiences
Linking your happiness to outside factors often fails to achieve the happiness you were hoping for. Instead of setting goals related to money, objects or other things that you think will make you feel more satisfied with your life, swap them for authentic experiences that make you feel genuinely happy. Focusing on things you enjoy such as hobbies and friendships will help you naturally feel positive emotions such as joy, contentment and relaxation.
This was been reinforced by a study done by a psychology professor at Cornell University. He set out to see whether spending money or having authentic experiences ultimately made people happier. The end result? Experiences had the power to increase happiness, partly due to the fact that we tend to experience them with other people. This gives them more meaning and makes them more memorable.
Practice self acceptance
In a 2014 study that looked at “happiness habits”, self acceptance was one of the habits that was deemed most likely to lead to genuine happiness. We’re often a lot kinder to other people than we are to ourselves. If you find this to be true for you, it’s time to change this.
Being kind to yourself is one of the best things you can do to make this next year the year of happy, yet it can be difficult to achieve, especially if you’re used to being your own worst critic.
If you feel like you’re not good enough, you’re more likely to look outside of yourself for happiness. When setting intentions for a happy New Year, it’s important to start with yourself, fostering self-acceptance and committing to self-love in this next year.
Show compassion and gratitude
As you might guess, gratitude and random acts of kindness have both been shown to improve happiness and overall life satisfaction. One of the reasons for this is the fact that it helps you to feel better about yourself and your world.
Being thankful can have a major impact on your wellbeing and studies have linked keeping a gratitude diary to optimism, improvements in mood and better physical health. Having a more positive outlook on life can help reduce stress and cut back on negative thinking, which makes gratitude a simple and effective way to feel happier about life starting right now.
A gratitude list isn’t the only way to increase feelings thankfulness. A few other ways that you can embrace gratitude are to send a heartfelt and handwritten note to people who's made a positive difference to your life, taking a walk in nature and feeling grateful for the natural world around you, and reflecting at mealtimes on the work involved in getting that delicious food onto your plate.
Research has repeatedly linked kindness to feeling happier. One theory for this involves the production and release of neurochemicals that create a “high” … not that dissimilar to a chemical “high.” It also encourages your brain to release oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.”
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