We’ve declared September self-improvement month, and we’re offering up oodles of advice on how to be the best you. One of the most effective ways to achieve this goal is with an attitude adjustment. It might seem like external events are running the show, but truth is you are very much in charge of your own happiness. Check out these strategies on how to be happy — you’ll be sipping from a half full glass in no time.
Need a quick mood boost? Check out our playlist of 7 feel-good songs that will have you singing and dancing along!
1. Be grateful
Reminding yourself of what you’re thankful for on a regular basis will help you keep the larger picture in mind, enabling you to overcome small hurdles more easily. You could start every day by writing a new gratitude list, which could include anything from your pet dog to your good health and happy family, or keep an ongoing list to refer to when times get rough.
2. Clean up
Your physical surroundings have a huge impact on your mental state. If you’re feeling down, a couple hours spent cleaning and organizing will do wonders for your mood, and a tidy space will make it easier to get things done. You might want to do some redecorating while you’re at it. Add colorful art, beloved photos, comfortable throw pillows — whatever will make your space feel inviting and uplifting.
3. Choose experiences over stuff
It can be tempting to buy your way out of a bad mood, but the pleasure you get out of acquiring things is short-lived compared to the uplifting effect of time well-spent. Whether it be a date night out or family board game night at home, focusing on experiences rather than things will help you keep your priorities straight and achieve long-term happiness.
4. Write it out
The act of writing enables you to vent frustrations or disappointments without hurting anyone’s feelings. If someone or something is bugging you, write them a letter describing your emotions. This act is inherently cathartic, and explaining how you feel may lead you to resolutions without causing conflict.
5. Redefine failure
Try eliminating the word “failure” from your vocabulary and instead view all mistakes as learning opportunities or inevitable detours on the road to your final destination. If you didn’t get that job you really wanted, think about how you can improve your resume or interview skills so you have a better shot next time. Even a recipe gone wrong is a chance to learn something new (then have a good laugh and order a pizza).
Viewing slip-ups as a positive thing can help you stick to exercise and weight loss goals, too. Learn more ways to stick to your exercise commitments here.
Take advantage of that mind-body connection and work out as a way to lift your spirits. Whether it be pumping iron, yoga, or a long walk, moving your limbs and breaking a sweat will give you endorphins in the moment, and being in good shape will keep your mood levels even when you’re not working out. Even better if you can get your exercise while outside; fresh air does wonders for the soul.
Exercising more is a great goal to keep. Learn about more goals you should be adding to your list to help make your life happy and healthy!
Fake it until you make it! Even if you really feel like crying, cracking up (or just cracking a smile) will lift your mood. Better yet, find something funny (a movie, book, a comedian friend), and let those smiles come from some place real. You’ll literally laugh yourself into a better mood.
On the other hand, sometimes you just need to let it out! Storing up negative emotions will only intensify them, but crying will help you release some of your frustration and get to the other side of that bad mood. So shed some tears, but don’t wallow in your misery — once your eyes are dry, look forward.
9. Get a new perspective
Routines can be comforting, but mixing things up will help you to see all aspects of your life in a new way. Try walking the dog on a different route or swap your usual breakfast cereal for a creative omelet. New experiences, even on a small scale, will keep you more engaged and open to new ideas.
Need some new breakfast ideas? Try these cheap breakfast recipes — they all ring up under $1 and are chock-full of flavor!
10. Take baby steps
Setting large goals is a healthy way to stay motivated. But you should also give yourself credit for the smaller steps you take along the way. Want to run a marathon one day? Celebrate for your first 5k, because it’s an essential milestone. Be patient with yourself.
11. Find some alone time
Make an effort to enjoy a bit of solitude every day. You could meditate, read, or even just fold laundry while being at peace with your own thoughts. You’ll never be truly in touch with your feelings if you don’t have quiet time to reflect on them.
Don’t let the daily routine wear you down. We’ve picked 5 opportunities for you to be mindful each and every day.
12. Find good friends
No, this isn’t a contradiction to step 11. Just as solitude is restorative, so are social bonds. Foster positive relationships in your life, those friendships that lift you up and in which you feel supported. Having a network of positive relationships will make it much easier to weather tough times. And being there for others in their time of need will make you feel better, too.
13. Pick a creative outlet
Life is full of work and obligations, so finding an activity that you do just for fun will feel refreshing and exciting. Be it knitting, gardening, or painting, spending time doing something you love will restore balance to your life. The act of learning a new skill is also good for your mind and creative muscles.
Learning something new doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Try one of these 9 low-cost and free learning resources instead, or try teaching yourself something new by using online tutorials — like these easy sewing projects for beginners.
14. Let fate run its course
There’s a lot you can control in life — and even more that you can’t. For instance, you can’t prevent rain on your vacation, but you can control your attitude and see it as a great opportunity to stay inside and bond by the fire. Letting go of the things that you can’t change will bring you peace and empower you to take charge of what is under you control.
15. Pause & reflect
Don’t be a victim of your emotions. If you’re frustrated, angry, gloomy, etc., take the time to figure out why. Even if you can’t solve the issue immediately, identifying and acknowledging it will make you feel centered and more in control. Remind yourself that these feelings will pass, and a better mood is always just around the corner.
No more moping around! Whatever your life circumstances, you can take concrete steps toward fundamentally altering your perspective. With a few small tweaks to your daily routine, you’ll soon be looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.