Happiness is a choice. It’s a choice we make every day by the way we think and the actions we choose to do. That’s why habits to be happy are so critical.

BUT, many would agree, that those choices can be harder in the winter. Daylight is scarce. It’s less motivating to exercise. And seasonal depression affects millions. So, this year, let’s take the steps we need to stay on track.

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Habits to be happy this winter pin

This is PART 2 of an earlier post: 9 Daily Habits To Instantly Create Happiness. Check out that updated article for the original 9 habits you need to be happy. By adding these additional 9, you’ve got 18 super beneficial ways to be the most positive version of yourself this winter.

9 More Habits to be Happy

1. FAKE IT

It turns out that “fake it till you make it” has some merit to it. According to research, simply pretending that you are happy will make you happy.

In the How of Happiness Sonja Lyubomirsky explains this:

Remarkably, pretending that you’re happy – smiling, engaged, mimicking energy and enthusiasm – can not only earn you some of the benefits of happiness (returned smiles, strengthened friendships, successes at work and school) but can actually make you happier.”– Sonja Lyubomirsky

So, make it a point to smile more often, even if you don’t feel like it!

2. RESILIENCY & LETTING GO

Our ability to bounce back from adversity enormously affects our happiness. And overthinking is a huge obstacle that keeps us holding on to unhealthy thoughts for too long.

In a great book I read recently, author Hal Elrod teaches the following steps to be “emotionally invincible” in the Miracle Equation:

  1. The 5 Minute Rule – When you’re upset about something, set a timer and take five minutes to stomp, swear, and rant. Let the feelings flow. When that time is up, go to the next step.
  2. The Miracle Mantra – Say to yourself “can’t change it.” Over and over if you have to. Work on accepting that whether it happened 5 minutes ago or 5 years ago, the past is the past. It’s pointless to obsess about it. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you’ll be able to get back to a happy life.

This practice was the first step in helping him come back from both a debilitating car accident and an extremely aggressive cancer (which he was not expected to live through).

And it’s not that you have to be happy about the situation. It’s simply a tool to let go of worry, anxiety, and anger. With repetition, you’ll be able to come back from obstacles and adversity MUCH quicker. This means that you can focus on the changes that you CAN make and dramatically improve the quality of your life.

“A secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be.”

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3. SELF COMPASSION

habits to be happy, self compassion

Happy people respect themselves and see their own worth.

They comfort themselves instead of criticize. Plus they realize when they need self-care, and when they’re using negative self-talk.

Here are some great ways to practice self-compassion:

  • Recognize and practice your strengths on a daily basis.
  • Build your self-confidence by regularly doing things outside of your comfort zone.
  • Be more aware of your thoughts. Re-direct when you’re talking badly about yourself. Give yourself a compliment every day.

You owe yourself the love you give to others. So, remember, don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend.

And if you need more self-compassion ideas, sign up below for the self-care toolkit!

4. BE PRESENT & SAVOR

Stop and smell the roses. Our lives will pass by in the blink of an eye.

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and the science is staggering on the benefits of it. Everything from a stronger immune system to less depression and anxiety is available through this practice of being mentally present. And meditation is the number one way to develop this skill. So, sit alone with yourself every day.

“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.”

Buddha

Another great way to practice mindfulness is to make a habit of thinking of several amazing things that happened during your day. By doing this, you’ll posture yourself to be more present. You’ll be looking for those moments when you otherwise wouldn’t be, and appreciating the here and now.

Related Post: My Journey to Meditation

5. FIND PURPOSE

Habits to be happy, going back to school

Those that see their jobs as a calling and find flow in them are the happiest people. These people are doing things they enjoy, feel driven to do it, and feel they are living according to their values.

One easy way to find purpose is to set meaningful goals and pursue them.

We feel happy when we make progress towards big ideas and dreams. So run that 5K, start a side hustle, or learn how to play that guitar that’s been sitting there forever.

But strive to live a purpose-driven life. At work and at home.

What puts you in flow (a state of timelessness)? What are your big dreams for your life?

Related Post: Design Your Life With a 5 Year Plan

6. FOCUS LESS ON STUFF

A lot of research has been done that proves what we already suspect. Stuff doesn’t make us happier.

If you want to be happy, leave the pursuit of things behind and focus your time on experiences, passions, and friendships.

At the end of your life you’ll be reliving those special moments, not counting how many nice things you have.

Related Post: The Top 5 Life Lessons

7. GIVE

Of all the habits to be happy, the research on this one is the most fascinating. Even though we instinctively vote to spend money on ourselves, the facts show that giving to others makes us much happier.

In the book Give and Take they describe one example:

One study of more than 2,800 Americans over age twenty-four showed that volunteering predicted increases in happiness, life satisfaction, and self-esteem – and decreases in depression – a year later. And for adults over sixty-five, those who volunteered saw a drop in depression over an eight-year period. Other studies show that elderly adults who volunteer or give support to others actually live longer.”– Adam Grant

Other research indicates that giving has similar effects as doubling your income. But it’s important here to make it a choice, not an obligation. Also, you see the best return when you can connect with others through giving.

But even small gifts make a big impact, so don’t be afraid to start small.

8. USE ANTICIPATION

Habits to be happy at a concert

Experiences work so well to make us happy partly because we look forward to them. Often, anticipating an event makes us happier than the event itself. We are excited about the future positive memory.

Here are some great ways to utilize the power of anticipation to give yourself a mood booster:

  1. Buy tickets to a concert or movie now, and enjoy it later
  2. Envision positive events for the next day
  3. Force yourself to pay for something and wait to consume it
  4. Plan a vacation
  5. Join a monthly club
  6. Make a monthly appointment you’re excited about

What can you schedule or buy NOW to anticipate for the future?

9. DEVELOP YOUR GROWTH MINDSET

Research shows that people who try to be happy are actually happier. So, let’s approach happiness as a set of skills we can develop to be a brighter version of ourselves.

Our life is what we make of it. So, understand that you control how happy you are.

Something To Consider

A lot of research on happiness points to developing a positive mindset. So focus on the good stuff through our “habits to be happy” like gratitude, self-compassion, purpose, giving, and experiences.

What kinds of habits do you practice to be happy? Which work best for you?!

Before you go, check out this sweet video to further remind us of what’s important.

“Be so happy that when others look at you, they become happy too.”

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