Have you ever wondered how happy people do it? What’s the secret of that one friend that always seems to be waking up on the right side of the bed? We all want to be happy and it's easier than you might think.
Check out these daily seven steps that happy people have in common:
1 - Start Your Day With ARG
ARG isn’t just what pirates say – it’s also a morning ritual that will boost your mood throughout the day. It stands for anticipation, recollection, and gratitude. And making ARG part of your morning ritual has proven effective. First, think about what you need to accomplish in the day ahead. Next, think about a positive memory. It may sound strange, but this step significantly buffers stress. Finally, give gratitude for what you have that day.
Waking up with ARG makes you a more optimistic person. If being optimistic isn’t enough reward in itself, consider that optimistic people are significantly less likely to have heart attacks!1
2 - Savor The Small Stuff
Do you rush out the door, downing your morning coffee? Most of us do. But there’s actually power in slowing down and enjoying even the smallest things. Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School, has researched how mindfulness around consumption of food or drink actually makes us enjoy the experience more.2
The great thing about savoring is that you don’t have to change any of your routines. By adjusting your mindset, you can find joy in what might’ve been an otherwise bland day.
3 - Sweat It Out Of Your System
I know, I know. You’ve heard this advice before. Whether you’re letting your running shoes store moth balls or racing in marathons, you’re probably tired of hearing about how great exercise is. But the only reason you keep hearing about it is because it truly is the best thing you can do for your mind and body.
A 2006 Dutch study showed that exercisers are “less anxious, less depressed, less neurotic, and more socially outgoing.”3 If you think you hate exercise, try something new! From running to dancing to lifting weights there’s no wrong way to sweat it out.
4 - Lend A Helping Hand
Karma is real! That’s at least according to an eight-decade long study on personal fulfillment and life expectancy which showed that selflessness is directly correlated to living a longer, happier life. “Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age,” the researchers wrote.4
If you’re not sure where to start, Silicon Valley guru Adam Rifkin has some excellent advice. His suggestion – what he’s called the “five-minute favor” – is to do a quick favor that makes a big difference to the person on the receiving end.5 Some examples are giving a reference, filling out a positive feedback form, or showing love on social media.
5 - Treat It Like A Game
You might not hate work as much as you think you do. As funny as that sounds, Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness, shows that we tend to overrate our happiness during leisure time and underrate our happiness at work.6 That’s because most people actually enjoy challenging and engaging environments. Again, the key lies in changing your perspective.
Instead of letting work feel like a struggle, set clear goals for yourself and track your progress. By noting your progress and crossing off goals, your brain begins to see work as less of a chore and more of a game.
6 - Make Time For Friends
Scheduling shouldn’t just be for your work life. Set aside time on your calendar to spend with friends. You’ll be 70 percent happier for it. That’s the percentage of personal happiness that stems from having close relationships with others.7 That’s one important reason quality time with family and friends should be a priority.
An easy way to stay on top of your social life is by making firm commitments. Instead of telling a friend “We should grab dinner sometime!” ask her if she’s free on Tuesday. Then give yourself a reminder – phone calendars with alerts work great! – so you’ll follow through.
7 - Practice Resiliency
This might be the most difficult step of all, but it’s also one of the most important. One study showed just how much perspective, and resiliency, can affect outcomes. It looked at men who had suffered heart attacks and their mindset in the weeks following. It turns out that those who perceived benefits like growth, maturity, or re-evaluated values were much healthier years later.
We all go through hard times. Unfortunately, there is a lot we can’t control. But one thing we always have power over is our own thinking. By finding meaning and being resilient during the rough patches, you’ll have years of smooth sailing ahead.