3 Practical Tips to Live Happier This Year

Have you seen Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk? If not, you can find it here: The happy secret to better work.

The thing that stood out to me most was this statement: 90% of your happiness has to do with how you perceive your world. That is to say, 90% of your happiness depends entirely on how you choose to see your life and the resultant feelings from that perspective.

That is both exciting and daunting. Exciting because you can control 90% of your happiness by tweaking your own insides. Daunting because tweaking your own insides isn’t always so easy.

So today I thought I’d give you a few practical tips to help you adjust that 90%.

3 Practical Tips to Live Happier

  1. Start a gratitude journal.
    By writing down a couple of things everyday that you are grateful for, you can increase your happiness in a few short weeks. There is a lot of research backing me up from Martin Seligman in his book Flourish to articles like this one from Psychology Today to BrenĂ© Brown’s work – here is a short video of her talking about the link between joy and gratitude.
    Need a little help getting started? Start small. Write down 3 things that you are grateful for, even if they are simply: I woke up today, I have food to eat, I’m breathing. And don’t overanalyze what you write, just be honest and open. If you prefer digital, try the Gratitude Journal App for iPhone ($0.99).

  2. Meditate.
    Even just a few minutes a day, spend time quieting your mind. Research continues to show that meditation is good for us – it makes us happier and smarter.
    Need a little help getting started? You could simply set a timer for 5 minutes and sit quietly, focusing on your breath. Or try a guided meditation. The Calm app for iPhone (free) has several. I’ve used the 7 steps of calm and the guided 10 minute meditation. (You can upgrade to get more, but the free stuff is good enough to get you started).

  3. Exercise. Again research shows that being active is linked to happiness. Not to mention the added benefits of fitting into your favorite jeans and having more energy which can only add to your happy feeling.
    Need a little help getting started? Start small and make it as easy as possible. That is, remove as many obstacles as you can: schedule it on your calendar, have everything you need ready to go, so when the time comes you can just go. Also: make it fun. Find an activity you enjoy and do that.
    For a little digital motivation, try a Fitbit or UP to track your activity. I have a Fitbit and find it helps me keep a minimum activity level (it’s like a game trying to get enough steps everyday).

None of these are magic bullets (so it won’t change anything, poof, overnight). They require a (small) commitment from you (so you have to do the work, though none of these require much work). But if you do even one of these regularly this year, you will feel a difference.

What makes you feel happier?

Disclaimer: a few of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through that link I will get a small amount of money. Like maybe enough to buy a cup of coffee and not a fancy one.