Many people make the mistake of delaying their happiness. They tell themselves they will be happy after they finish a project or after they lose 10 pounds or after they get that raise—and so on.
But this is nonsense! You must give yourself permission to be happy now. If you achieve or reach a specific goal, that’s great, and you should be sure to celebrate it, but there is no reason to put off being happy today.
Here are five tips that will help you enjoy happiness now as opposed to later:
- Stick to the basics. Happiness doesn't necessarily require hours of deep meditation and reflection. In fact, research indicates that going to sleep at a decent hour and proper nutrition have a significant impact on happiness.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s a cliché, but there is science to back up this statement. If you dwell on or outwardly express anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances, it will only amplify bad feelings. On the contrary, not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.
- Fake it. Feelings follow actions. If you’re feeling low, act cheery, and you will likely find yourself actually feeling happier. So, make yourself smile and laugh. This strategy is uncannily effective.
- Try something new. Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. Indeed, the brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation will give you a powerful sense of satisfaction. Moreover, research indicates that people who do new things—like learn a game or travel to unfamiliar places—are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well.
- Think twice before ‘treating’ yourself. Make sure the actions you take to make yourself feel better are actually healthy for you. While it's easy to think, “I'll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine... a pint of ice cream... a cigarette... a new pair of jeans” it's worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better. In most cases, the pleasure lasts only a minute, but the feelings of guilt and loss of control and other negative consequences will linger.
Remember, happiness is largely in your control. There is no reason to put off happiness for tomorrow, when you can start enjoying it today. Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier really does work. Use the tips above and you will be on your way to enjoying happiness starting now!
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson