Happiness means different things to different people and there are some simple ways to forget your troubles and get happy every day. The question of happiness and how to obtain it is a complex one and has fascinated psychologists and social researchers for decades. And whilst I don't want to simplify a complex phenomenon by saying it's as easy as doing this or that, here are a few ways to forget your troubles when you're feeling blue and in need of a happiness boost.
1. What's Important to You?
One of the ways to forget your troubles is to think about the things that make you happy in life. Is it a particular job, a relationship or material things? Is it spending time with your family and friends or having the ability to be creative? Knowing what actually makes you happy will mean you're more likely to make time for the things that you know will lift your mood. Find it and pursue it - life's too short after all!
2. Think Happy Thoughts
After a long and stressful day, it's easy to focus on the negative, but one thing I find that helps and that immediately lifts my mood is writing down 3 things that went well and that I enjoyed during the day. This a great thing to do at the end of the day and whilst it's easy to hone in on the many negative things that may have occurred, thinking about the good things that have happened will help train your mind to think positively and will bring you a step closer towards being an all round happier and more positive person.
3. Enjoy Yourself
Make time for the things you enjoy. If you enjoy reading, writing or other hobbies and find yourself saying, "I wish I had time to do this or that," then now's the time to try and make time. If you tell yourself that you don't have time then chances are you won't. I set aside an hour most evenings to do the thing I love, writing, and there was a time when I used to tell myself I didn't have the time. Now it's just what I do and is an integral part of me. Because it's something I love doing, I have found time for it. It's important to be happy so make time for things that make you so! Sometimes it's just the little things in life that can bring so much pleasure. For example, a walk in the park or 15 minutes quiet time reading or doing your favourite hobby.
Listening to uplifting music can also be a way to improve your mood and having a bit of a dance in your room can also help. I'm often caught by my better half breaking into an impromptu boogie and although he often looks at me like I'm a sandwich short of a picnic (a British saying which means he thinks I've gone crazy), it does make me feel great. You should try it, who cares what anyone thinks!
5. Read Books on Happiness
There are many books on happiness. It's a subject that has fascinated people for centuries. These books can be inspirational and up-lifting and show how the quest for happiness is by no means a modern phenomenon. One of my favourite books is 'The Art of Happiness' by the Dalai Lama, which I keep by my bedside for when I'm in need of a spot of happiness recalibrating. 'The Happiness Project' by New York Magazine writer Gretchen Rubin is also an entertaining and inspiring read.
It's true, laughter is the best medicine. Watching comedies and uplifting films is a great way to achieve the recommended daily amount of laughter. Choose your favourite movie or sitcom and before you know it, you'll forget why you were feeling so blue in the first place. Even better, get the girls round and call an impromptu girls' night in. If you've grown up together, get those old photos out and laugh at the ridiculous hairstyles and fashion faux pas of the past, when everyone thought they looked so cool. Laughing also burns calories so it's another great excuse to indulge in a dessert size spoonful of it!
We all know about the many health benefits of exercising and it's also a great way to lift your mood. Simply put, exercising decreases the stress hormone cortisol and increases the body's natural feel-good chemical, endorphins, which makes you feel happy and fabulous. Happiness is inextricably linked to health, with people who are in good health saying that they're happier too. But how about combining laughter and exercise by finding a fun way to exercise? One of my favourite exercises is hula hooping, having been inspired by Grace Jones and her fabulous hula hooping spectacle at the Queen's Jubilee concert. I bought a hula hoop in an attempt to emulate her and whilst I have the vocal capacity of a constipated cat, I'm working up to being able to sing AND hula at the same time... It might take a few years but hey, if Grace Jones can do it!
These are just a few ways to forget your troubles and get happy and I'm sure there are many more. What kinds of things do you do to chase the blues away and help improve your mood?