15 Easy Ways to Live a Happier Life in 2019
Ring in the new year with a new sense of self.
“The Worst Year Ever, Until Next Year,” beamed one New Yorker headline in the twilight of 2016. And if you’re like millions of Americans, that sentiment might ring true in 2018. After all, it’s been a doozy of a year, and if politics, the financial markets, and the state of the Academy Awards hosting gig are any indication, it doesn’t look like 2019 is shaping up to be a cake walk, either.
But we at Best Life remain big fans of the belief commonly held by many therapists that one does indeed have the power to pick his or her worries in life (to a degree, of course). To that end, we’re here to tell you that there’s simply no reason that you can’t pack up much of the negativity that’s been keeping you down over the last year and packing it into a suitcase, handing it to the year 2018, and saying, “Don’t let the door hit you on the rear on the way out.”
To ensure that you turn over new leaf with the arrival of 2019—and to ensure that you live a more centered, peaceful, and happier life—simply follow all of the expert-backed tips and tricks we’ve compiled right here. And for more reasons to find your happy place, check out these 50 Facts About Happiness That Will Change the Way You Think Forever.
Remain mindful of the present.
As a mindful lifestyle and stress management coach, The Quiet Zone Coaching founder Susan Petang finds that living in the moment is the first step toward finding your happiness.
“Being mindful of the present moment is similar to how we notice everything around us when dreaming. Be observant, be curious, notice how your body feels, and take in the sounds and sights around you. During your trek through daily life, [with every new place], imagine you’ve never been there before. Be amazed, find wonder in ordinary things, and be grateful for the experience,” she says. Once you’ve learned how to stay grounded and thoughtful in this way, you’ll eventually learn how to create and restore your happiness. And for more ways to stay mindful throughout the new year, be wary of these 20 Ways You’re Stopping Yourself from Being More Mindful without Realizing It.
According to Dr. Nefertiti B. Poyner, an early childhood specialist and national trainer at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, unplugging from your electronics can be an incredibly useful way to maintain your zen throughout the new year—especially if you’re looking to reconnect with others.
“Parents wanting to set a good example cannot expect their children to disconnect from their devices if they are not willing to unplug, as well. Setting aside time each day to power down your phone, put it in a drawer, and focus on family activities can have a huge impact on family engagement and connection,” she says. This even applies to social media—simply deleting an app like Instagram or Twitter off your phone for a day can allow you to relax and rewind without a constant stream of notifications good and bad disrupting your day.
Self-respect can only occur if you’ve made an effort to repeatedly respect others, says Dr. Poyner. While this can especially apply to every family gathering during the holiday season, it can also be a beneficial practice to commit yourself to during any interaction—even with strangers. Remaining aware of how you treat others, and learning to steer clear of conversations regarding politics, religion, or any other controversial topics can keep any interaction seamless and respectful.
Not only that, but treating others with respect will most likely result in their equal treatment of you. Employing the Golden Rule is what keeps your professional and personal relationships thriving, and will also ultimately work to keep you happy. And for more amazing ways to stay zen, check out The 50 Greatest Happiness Hacks.
Volunteer to help others in need.
While you may be aware of how giving back can improve your own happiness and self-worth, it can be challenging to find the time or energy to devote yourself to charitable acts. But, according to Dr. Poyner, committing yourself to help others in need is easier than you think. In fact, lending a helping hand as a family can bring you closer to those you love and teach your children about the importance of giving back from a young age.
“Offering support as a family—whether it is by going caroling at a nursing home, delivering cookies to employees at a fire station or leaving a card in your mailbox for the mail carrier—can bring about feelings of self-worth, happiness, and even optimism,” she says. And if you’re looking for ways to give back, learn all about the 17 Quirkiest Charities That Give Back in Creative Ways.
Start each morning with a mindfulness exercise.
According to Brittani Persha, LCSW-S, a social worker and owner of Brittani Persha Counseling, to ensure that each day begins in a more positive, productive way, set aside a few minutes to practice mindfulness first thing in the morning. “Start each morning with a five- to ten-minute mindfulness exercise. I often recommend using an app like Headspace or Insight Timer. This helps you to clear your head and be intentional about being present and how you choose to start your days,” she says. And for more ways to make the everyday mindfulness practice a breeze, check out these 10 Ways to Focus Better During Meditation.
End each day with journaling.
In order to process any particular day’s events, it can be beneficial to sit down with a journal at the end of each day, says Persha. If you have trouble putting pen to paper, or simply can’t recall anything of substance that happened throughout your day, Persha recommends beginning each entry by listing two things that you’re grateful for at that moment. That will then more easily allow you to reflect about your day insofar as how it pertains to those two things.
Make more time for your passions.
If you’re already aware of things that make you happy—whether it’s a weekly workout class or something as simple as a chocolate bar after a long day at work—then you’re one step closer to realizing and pursuing your life’s passions. According to Dr. Alyssa Adams, a clinical psychologist and relationship coach, making more time for the things you enjoy is an easy and rewarding exercise to implement into your daily life. “The things that bring us joy often end up at the bottom of a long and overwhelming to-do list. It’s important to prioritize things that you love too! It’s a great strategy to improve your mood, so don’t forget to put yourself on the list, too” she says. And for more ways to maximize your happiness potential, know that Saying This One Word Will Boost Your Mood By 25 Percent.
Cut the negative people from your life.
“Prioritize spending time with people that are supportive, kind, and positive. Limit time with people who drain your energy. Take note of how you feel when being around different people in your life. When you get a call or text from someone you know, what is your immediate gut reaction? When you spend time with a particular person, how do you feel? Are you tired, stressed, or drained? Try and limit the time you spend with people who tend to drain your energy,” says Dr. Adams.
Basically, as Adams points out, you already know who it is in your life who drains your positive energy; it simply comes down to how you handle their influence over your happiness—and making sure that you limit contact with those who make you feel like a lesser version of yourself.
Break the mold.
As it turns out, your daily routine might be one of the major factors contributing to your less-than-rosy outlook on life, says Dr. Adams. Breaking your normal routine can be as simple as taking a new route home from work or as big as going skydiving—and then taking a trip across the world. Basically, anything that makes your adrenaline pump or even works to expand your mind can help maintain a balance in your life that truly promotes happiness.
Get a handle on your negative inner critic.
According to Dr. Adams, finding happiness begins with how you handle that negative inner critic in your head. In fact, finding a sunnier outlook on life can be as simple as acknowledging these critical thoughts, and then simply taking the time to replace the negativity with a comfortable neutrality.
“It’s important to start with noticing the thoughts that come up in different situations. What do you say to yourself? Then, start to gradually shift these thoughts by evaluating how valid or helpful they are in a situation. Begin to replace them with different, more neutral thoughts, and allow your thinking to become more flexible in different situations,” says Dr. Adams. And for more ways to stay positive, here are 23 Great Ways to Conquer Negative Thinking.
Don’t sweat the small things.
When you stress about a little thing that has already happened or could happen to you, it only creates unnecessary stress and anxiety—especially when that little thing is anxiety regarding those things that you simply can’t control. According to Dr. Alok Trivedi, a human behavior and psychological performance expert and founder of the Aligned Performance Institute, this unnecessary worry could even lead to health problems.
“There’s a time and a place when you have to put your game face on and take things seriously. But people also need to learn how to lighten up, roll with the punches that life throws, and laugh more. This is good for both your physical and mental health. Being too uptight about things can cause anxiety, stress, difficulty sleeping, headaches, and digestive problems,” he says.
Make time for solitude.
“We all lead very busy lives these days, but no matter how busy you are, you must make time for yourself. Even as little as 20 to 30 minutes each day can have a very positive impact on our mental health. Find a quiet place where you can be alone and just unwind, relax, and recharge. If sitting in quiet isn’t your thing, then find a fun activity that you really connect with that takes your mind off of everything else going on,” says Dr. Trivedi.
In short: solitude allows your busy mind to recharge—which is important in order to maintain your energy levels throughout the week.
Learn to say “no.”
While helping others has the potential to lift your own spirits as well, extending a helping hand too often can have the inverse effect and cause you to hemorrhage all of the energy required to help yourself, says Trivedi. “If there are too many requests for your time, understand that it is perfectly acceptable to say no. People aren’t going to dislike you because of it. Simply say, ‘I would love to help, but unfortunately I have another commitment and I’m unable to.'”
Set reasonable goals.
Rather than letting the days slip past you without achieving anything beyond what’s required of you on a daily basis, put pen to paper to visualize these goals you want to set for yourself. This, according to life coach Vikki Louise, is one step closer to becoming your best and happiest self. “Days, weeks, and months can quickly pass by, so be sure to create goals that you can work towards over time. It can be anything from writing a book to creating an event to practicing yoga. Goals remind us that changes are long-term,” she said. And if you want some goals you can totally meet, check out these 30 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Stick to This Year.
Get comfortable with self-love and self-compassion.
At times, it can feel as though you spend more energy turning a critical eye to every aspect of your life—even when you don’t deserve such harsh criticism. According to clinical psychotherapist Laura Federico, one of the best ways to live a happier, more fulfilled life is to learn how to get comfortable with showing yourself the adequate amount of self-love and self-compassion.
“A simple way to begin to a self-compassion practice is through a 5-minute loving body scan. This is a great way you can take a break during the day to direct some love towards yourself. Try finding a quiet, comfortable space, and pay gentle attention to each part of your body, working your way from your feet up. Visualize the love and care you have for yourself as you do this, really respecting yourself and what you cope with on a daily basis,” she says. Now get out there and make 2019 your happiest year yet! And for more ways to treat yourself with respect, check out these 30 Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself Every Day.
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