Monday is International Day of Happiness, which is definitely something to celebrate! Even if it requires a little extra thought now and again, we can all think of something that makes us happy and something that brings us joy. This week is the perfect opportunity to look into what sparks happiness for us and think about how to bring even more of it into our lives!
The term “happiness” is something we tend to use a lot, assuming that everyone has some level of happiness and that we all feel the same way about our own happiness. However, if we look a little deeper, what it means to be happy and how important this is, can vary widely from person to person.
When we talk about being happy, we are often thinking about the larger sense of being at peace and thinking positively about our lives at large. We can often mix happiness with joy, thinking these two are the same. While happiness can be a symptom or a sign of joy, the two are not completely the same. Happiness can be fleeting and dependent upon external factors, such as money, people, or material possessions. Joy is an overarching mindset of well-being, without being to be overtly “happy” in each moment. Joy includes all aspects of life, including the negative parts, without losing a sense of satisfaction in life.
Happiness and joy are not merely states of mind. How we feel about our own happiness directly impacts our mental and physical wellbeing. Our health can largely depend upon how content, safe, and joyful we feel in our daily lives.
Happiness is not only a result of how we’re living our lives, but it is also a driving force in motivating us to better ourselves and live the lives we’ve envisioned. There are always spaces for us to improve, to help others as well as ourselves in bringing a little more happiness into our lives.
So, what can we do to cultivate more joy on a day to day basis?
Spending a little more time outside. Even just a few extra minutes outside can make all the difference for our physical body and mental clarity. Just going for a short walk can improve our mood and boost our sense of happiness, quickly and effectively.
Getting some extra sleep. When we sleep, we give our bodies and minds time to recover. Sleep can often widen our capacity for patience as well as helping us to be less reactive to negative emotions. Sleep helps us to be more resilient, which is essential in cultivating joy!
Returning to gratitude. Whenever any negative thoughts or frustrations come to us, remembering what we are grateful for is a perfect way to remind us of how much we have to be happy for in our lives.
Add in some more nutrients. Focusing on our physical health dramatically impacts how we feel about ourselves and our happiness at large. Small changes can make a huge difference.
Listening to ourselves. Whether that means we need to do a little less on a Monday or push ourselves to do a little bit extra, we know what is best for ourselves and what we need in our lives. We can all do a better job of listening to those signals.
Find some furry friends! It has been proven that spending time with and petting animals releases oxytocin (the warm, fuzzy feeling) into our bodies, making us feel happier and more at peace.
Sharing with others. Connecting with friends and family helps us to build a stronger sense of community, attachment, and belonging. Being around those who love and support us is an easy way to feel happiness and share that happiness with others!
What does happiness look like to you? Share your thoughts, experiences, and ideas below!