There’s a lack of happiness in the world today and no shortage of stress and anxiety. The research is clear that happy people take care of their mental health and do life differently. They engage in actions that are distinct from those who struggle.
You can make happiness more likely through consistent healthy actions. If you don’t make time for your mental wellness, you will be forced to make time for your mental illness. Neglecting my mental health & self-care led me to 5 sleepless nights in a row, and a trip to the emergency room, at the end of 2021. You can learn more about my experience here.
Learn what the research says will help you stay mentally healthy for the long haul. Below are 30 research-based actions you can take that significantly increase the chances of you having more happiness in your life.
30 Happiness-Building Actions
1. Build Friendships: Plan to spend time with positive and encouraging people consistently. Make new friends and reconnect with old ones.
2. Consistently Read: Read something positive and inspiring to rest and stretch your mind for a minimum of 20 minutes each day, regardless of whether blogs, articles, or books
3. Have Fun: Engage in activities that energize you. If you don’t know what energizes you, connect with a friend to come up with ideas.
4. Practice Mindfulness: Live in your current moment, not the past or the future. Fully focus on what you are doing NOW (e.g. eating, reading, talking to a friend, etc.). Take at least 5 minutes each day to focus on your breath – identify & let go of intrusive thoughts and sensations.
5. Resolve Issues: Address lingering issues in a calm, intentional & healthy manner. Don’t put it off. Resolve those conflicts!
6. Eliminate Perfectionism: Strive for satisfaction with a 7, on a scale of 1 to 10. Let yourself be the imperfect special person you are.
7. Focus on Long Term Goals: Have 3 – 4 one-year goals posted where you see them each day. Create 3 month & monthly objectives moving towards each goal.
8. Move Towards Your Goals: Invest 70% of your time and energy into activities that move you towards your short & long-term goals.
9. Express Strong Emotions: Write down how you are feeling (positive & negative), why you feel that way, and what information that feeling gives you. Share with someone. “You must feel it to heal it.”
10. Organize Your Finances: Living within your means is crucial for long-term success. Follow a written budget, minimize debt, cut expenses & increase income potential.
11. Avoid Avoiding: Get your priorities completed! No binging on social media & Netflix. Take action instead of staying stuck in anxiety. Most procrastination feeds anxiety and comes out of a perfectionistic mentality. Check out this video I made to learn more.
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12. Minimize Alcohol & Nicotine: Only drink or smoke socially and/or at special events. Don’t use on a regular everyday basis. (Yes, I like to have a cigar with buddies on special occasions)
13. Apologize to Others: Own your mistakes! Let yourself be human. Say “I was wrong, no excuses”, when you mess up. It’s OK to make a mistake. For most, it eventually feels great knowing they have owned their part. Check out this video I made to learn more.
14. Take Risks: Stop playing it safe. Do things each day that are uncomfortable (i.e. trigger anxiety). Prove to yourself that you can face your fears, and potential failure (rejection, no results, etc.), and still move forward.
15. Stick to a Schedule: Create and follow a daily schedule regardless of how you feel. Don’t be a slave to your thoughts and feelings.
16. Have 3 – 4 Daily Objectives: Select your top 3 priorities for the day. Don’t go to bed without identifying your next three for tomorrow.
17. Practice Gratitude: Schedule some time to reflect on the blessings in your life. Engage in the daily 5 and 5 and reflect on gratitude questions.
18. Live with Balance: Invest time and energy into all 7 life areas. Make adjustments consistently.
19. Get 7.5 Plus Hours of Sleep: Your body and mind require at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night, and often even more. Block off at least 8 hours each night for rest.
20. Practice Positive Self Talk: Focus on the intrinsic qualities that you like about yourself for at least 5 minutes each day.
21. Laugh Often: Find funny things to enjoy. Laughter heals the soul! Here’s a favorite clip that makes me laugh
“When you have a rough day and things don’t seem to go your way, remember, tomorrow will likely be much better.” – Eric Gragg (my dad)
22. Eat Healthily: Minimize eating what you know drains you and maximize your intake of healthy nutritious foods
23. Move: 30 minutes of physical activity each day (e.g. walk, run, swim, cycle, lift weights, yoga, etc.). Mix it up and move your body!
24. Live Out Your Values: Live your life aligned with your moral compass and avoid temptations. Be honest, live the golden rule, do what you say you’re going to do & don’t live with secrets.
25. Enjoy the Journey: Research is clear that happiness is about the journey not the destination. Choose to enjoy the process of growth, whatever type of growth it may be.
26. Connect Spiritually: Give yourself 30 minutes each day of solitude for prayer, meditation, scripture reading, or self-reflection.
27. Forgive Others: Choose to forgive yourself & others. You may not be able to trust those that hurt, but you can work towards letting go of your resentment so you are free of them.
28. Focus on Your Vision: What do you want your ideal realistic life to be living in each area? How are you going to feel when you get there? Focus on that and let it sink in.
29. Journal Your Thoughts and Feelings: Consistently write down your thoughts and insights. It’s clearer on paper than in your head. Research different questions to answer.
30. Help Others: We are chance to help (not enable) arises, take advantage of it. Give your time, treasures & talents.
31. Reframe Negative Experiences: Focus on the positive that has come out of a negative experience. For example, if you didn’t get a job you really wanted and struggle to think “I lost a great opportunity”, focus instead on “there is a better career fit out there and this job wasn’t meant fo me.”
If you found this content helpful, you’ll love my online coaching course Tune Up for Life. It has life-changing information on overpowering anxiety and finding transformational clarity. It comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. No risk.
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