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Don't Worry. Be Happy.
People at work often comment on how happy and cheerful I am. As walk into the office, I wish everyone, “Good morning!” and I actually mean it.
I tend to be a happy, optimistic person. It’s mostly due to my mindset and approach to life, but I also make small changes to my routine to be happier each day.
How to Be Happier Every Day
Below are 10 simple changes to feel happier every day. I hope you find these nuggets helpful.
1. Decorate Your Office and Home with Plants
I love plants. Plants have a calming effect, purify the air, and are affordable. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to buy a plant, I’ll remind you that plants are one of the top millennial decorating trends. =)
I have a HUGE banana tree that I bought at Ikea two years ago, and I love it.
I’ve also found great plants and flowers at Aldi and Trader Joe’s.
So go ahead and buy yourself a plant. Or a bouquet of flowers. Or a beautiful orchid.
For less than $15, you’ll have something to look at that makes you smile each day.
2. Get Sunshine and Exercise at Lunch to Add Happiness (and Improve Productivity!)
More than 50% of Americans eat lunch at their desk. That’s shocking! Don’t be one of the 50%.
Go out and get sunshine during your lunch break!
Studies show that employees are more productive when they take a lunch break. So go ahead and step out of the office. You have a hall pass from me.
Yes, you will lose 30 minutes of time you would have spent warming your office chair, but you will get that email sent, that PowerPoint created, or that data analysis completed quicker.
Tips for Being Happier at Work
Keep a pair of comfy walking shoes and socks under your desk at work. Each day, unless it is raining or unbearably cold, walk outside for 30 minutes and listen to a podcast or upbeat music.
Get your sunshine and exercise at work. I promise, it will make you much happier and more productive. Your waistline will thank you too!
3. Smile to Be Happier (Really! It Helps.)
Smiling, even if it’s a fake smile, makes you happier. In a psychology study by Strack, Martin, & Stepper, participants who held a pencil between their teeth while watching cartoons, forcing a smile, rated the cartoons as funnier than participants who made a pout face. So smile!
4. Make Weekly Plans with Girlfriends to Be Happier
I read that a man’s happiness is related to his ability to “win” in life. That’s why men play sports! In contrast, a woman’s happiness is linked to the strength of her relationships. That’s why we women love getting lunch with girlfriends to “catch up.” No agenda needed. I make weekly plans with my girlfriends, and it has significantly increased my happiness.
Plus, it’s nice to have someone to call and talk to for 5 minutes when I’m feeling down, need a pep talk, or am feeling frustrated.
Here are simple ways I stay in touch with girlfriends:
Take a gym class together. My friend Danielle and I went to a hot yoga class last week. We both enjoy working out, and we caught up 15 minutes before class and on our walk home. If you enjoy working out, grab a girlfriend and work out together!
Get coffee. I love coffee dates with my girlfriends. Coffee is much more affordable than lunch, and I love cozying up on the couch at my local coffee shop.
Go on a walk together. My friend Pooja and I live in the same neighborhood, and we both walk along the Beltline. We use our walks to catch up after work, blow off steam, and share dating stories.
Join a rec league. Some of my closest female friends are from volleyball and tennis. When we have weekly games or practices together, we catch up and meet new people. Double bonus!
5. Call an Old Friend
It’s hard to keep in touch with friends, especially if you’ve moved around the country like I have. But there’s nothing like a 30 minute phone conversation with a friend to elevate my spirits and put me in a good mood.
I make an effort to schedule phone dates with my girlfriends from high school and college. It might only happen once a year, but it’s an easy way to stay connected. There’s just something so comforting about talking to someone who has known you for 10 years.
6. Take a Vacation Day or a Personal Day
Most people don’t use all of their vacation days. It’s such a shame! Take a vacation day every three months to avoid burn-out.
Don’t have many vacation days? Take a sick day or a personal day.
When I find myself getting frustrated with work, or just worn out – I take a sick day to reset myself. I sleep in, treat myself to a cappuccino, go shopping, and do whatever I want.
Take care of yourself and take a break when you need it. When you return to work, you will be in a much better mood.
7. Make Fun Plans for Monday to Spark Happiness
I rarely get the Sunday blues, and that’s because I make plans for something every Monday to look forward to.
Here are easy ideas to make your Mondays better. Some of these suggestions are silly…I know. It’s all about the small things in life to be happy!
Ways to Make Mondays Better
- Treat yourself to your favorite coffee once a week. Make that day Monday.
- Wear your favorite shoes to work on Monday. Maybe the ones with polka dots or leopard prints that make you feel sexy.
- Buy a pair of super soft, feminine underwear. Wear that underwear on Mondays.
- Find a fun workout class, like Zumba, and go each Monday after work.
- Wear your brightest, boldest red lipstick on Mondays.
- Schedule lunch with a coworker each Monday.
- Block your work calendar for the first hour of the day each Monday, so that you can catch up on emails and plan for the week versus feeling stressed.
- Jam out to music on your way to work instead of listening to NPR.
- Plan a date night on Mondays.
8. Tell Someone You Appreciate Them
If you’ve read “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, you know how important it is to make people feel appreciated.
Tell others you appreciate what they do for you. It will make you feel better!
Remember to say “thank you!” too. If you spread love and kindness, it will come back to you.
9. Change Your Perspective to Be Happier
When you get upset about how someone treated you, try to change your perspective.
Put yourself in their shoes, and give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Did a client send you a snippy email? Maybe they are stressed at work and their job is at risk.
- Did you receive a curt text from a guy? Maybe he is in a work meeting, and just isn’t in the right mindset to send you a thoughtful text.
- Did someone cut you off while driving? Maybe their alarm didn’t go off in the morning and they are late for a work meeting.
- Did a friend promise to come to your birthday party, and then cancel last minute? Maybe they are overwhelmed with family issues.
Whatever happened, give people the benefit of the doubt.
Come up with a story on why someone may have acted the way that they did. It’s helped me learn to not take things so personally.
10. Find a New, Challenging Hobby
I personally get in a rut easily. I like change, and if I don’t feel like my life is moving forward, I get unhappy. But sometimes you can’t rush work promotions or life events.
To have a zest for life, pick up a new hobby, and try something new.
Want inspiration? Here are new hobbies to explore.
- Take up a new sport. I recently took up tennis. Tennis with ALTA is huge in Atlanta.
- Sign up for a dance class. Find a local dance studio, and give line dancing, salsa, or swing a try. If anything, you’ll have a good laugh and meet new, friendly people. I started going to Wicked Westie in Atlanta and love it.
- Learn how to sew. It’s useful! My sister sews, and she loves it. She has two little kids at home, so sewing is one of the few things she can do while watching them.
- Go rock climbing. Perfect indoor hobby for the winter!
- Sign up for a class at a local community college. Want to learn about floral design? Six Sigma? Email marketing? World War II? Most colleges have adult classes.
- Explore your creative side. Take a pottery or a photography class. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta has great classes.
- Check out Groupon. Groupon has tons of coupons for local activities. I usually find coupons for cooking classes, dance classes, skydiving, and more.
Make This Year Better than Last Year – and Be Happier!
Make small changes in your routine and increase your happiness.
What changes are you making to be happier and healthier this year?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Lots of Love!
Christina Marie from Very Easy Makeup