Found on Ask Reddit
1. Write down the positives (and negatives) of every day
The following advice changed my life…
In a journal, write down the 3 most positive things and 1 most negative thing that happened ‘today’ at the end of every day. At the end of the week, review and make a new top 3/1 list. Repeat at the end of the month. Do that every month, and then compare the months at the end of the year.
Two things will happen:
(1) You’ll start looking for positive things, so you have something to write about at the end of the day. I believe this is the core of being happy.
(2) Reviewing your happy memories is fun, but reviewing your negative moments each week will show you how trivial most of the negatives were, and that even the big tragedies don’t hurt so much over time.
2. Notice the positive things in others
Notice positive things in others and tell them. Example: you tell the funniest stories, your boots are cool.
3. Practice gratitude
4. Change your perspective
Changing your perspective is a great start. For an example, overly apologetic people have a habit of nagging their faults.
- Sorry for waiting on me = Thank you for waiting up for me
- Sorry for talking your ear off = The conversation was enjoyable. Thanks for hearing me out
5. Let go of the little things
Don’t engage in gossip, and let the small things go….even if you were “right”.
6. Accept your flaws
Accept yourself and all your flaws, I find the more I practice that lately the happier I am overall.
7. Look for the beauty in everyday life
Find something beautiful every day.
That’s how I cope with my depression. Even on terrible days, I can find something: the way moonlight makes my dog’s fur look silver, the sound of rain, the exquisite softness of a blanket. There’s always something beautiful to experience.
8. Feel life instead of just experiencing it
For me, the best way is to feel life. Internally feeling the texture of my own skin, feeling the air go in my lungs, feeling my muscles engage as I use them. Externally, hear the birds sing and watch them fly, watch the people around me run, work, talk, eat, fight, love, feel the ground under my feet and its vibrations. In essence, I strive to remove the meaning that my mind places on the world and I let the world create its own meaning. I center myself, observe, and then strive to love every little bit of it; the good and the bad. I end up experiencing something existential. Not a crisis though. More like awe. It’s as if I’m bearing witness to a moment in time and space that has never been, but is, and will likely never be again with these same variables. In those moments, I am simply happy to exist. It’s brightens up the rest of my life too.
9. Become more aware of the good happening in the world
Try to become more aware of the good that’s happening in our world, both at large and around you in your daily life. I can identify the specific turning point that flipped this switch for me. It was watching this video by John Green, author and Youtuber. I had no idea how much better the world was getting in some hugely important areas. Just knowing a slice of how much good there is happening right now made me stop looking for the negative in everything around me, confirming my biased world view, and allowed me to take in the good and the bad and take on a more balanced perspective. It’s so difficult to not slip into hopelessness and despair when we hear about things like school shootings, genocide, and government corruption, but no one talks about all the ways in which the world is (seemingly) slowly but surely getting better.
10. Treat yourself with love
Treat yourself more lovingly. This one is incredibly difficult, and one that I still struggle with on a daily basis. But I have hope that it can get better. Therapy is what helped me. It’s certainly possible to accomplish this without therapy, but it can be so helpful when you find the right therapist. Please, remember this. Despite what our culture says, you are no less valuable if you don’t love yourself. The phrase “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself” is just not true. You are lovable and capable of love even if you don’t love yourself, but that said, it is so much healthier to strive to love yourself. I know there’s a lot of stigma around therapy, but I promise you, it can help pretty much anyone if you find a good match with a therapist.
11. Remind yourself of the things you have to look forward to each day
Start your day with an attitude of “What do i have to look forward to today?” Make a list and start the day positive. It may turn to shit but plenty of times it won’t.
12. Be both positive and pessimistic
Positive pessimism: Bad things WILL happen. They just will. There’s no avoiding it. But good things will also happen. No avoiding that, either, and thank goodness! Even at the darkest moment of your life, there will still be sunrises and puppies and chocolate. Find those good things and be grateful for them.
12. Go on a social media cleanse
Ditching Facebook really helped. This last election really put the nail in the coffin for me, family fights, friends posting “facts” that weren’t backed by any data. It is cancer folks.
13. Learn to rest (but not quit)
Setbacks happen. Plans change. Things go awry. This is the way of the world. When something takes you off track, it’s important that you get back to it. It is never too late.
It is never too late.
14. Help people when you can
Help everyone you can. My parents taught me to always do what’s right, as long as the only inconvenience to me not any resource I’d call limited.
A good example is from when I went to see Avengers: Infinity War with a buddy. There was a guy in a wheelchair with his girlfriend/sister/friend, and when they got into the theater, the ground-level row was apparently too full for their group (who hadn’t yet arrived), so they decided to go up a few levels to a row where they could reserve enough seats to sit together.
His female companion tried to help him up the steps, but she was visibly struggling with his weight and despite the theater being packed, nobody stepped up to help until I did. I let him put most of his weight on me while still allowing him the dignity to take whatever steps he could on his own, however slower it was than me hauling him up like a sack of potatoes. Then I went down and brought his folded wheelchair up to him, because he’d been planning to leave it at ground level. Then, after the movie, I checked to see if he had someone who could help him back down to ground level before I split. (He did.)
My friend was blown away by all of this, but it didn’t even strike me as something worth noticing until he mentioned it: I could help, and all I missed out on was the pre-preview commercials for a couple minutes. I probably would have forgotten it entirely if my friend hadn’t spent half an hour after the movie blown away by it.
15. Exercise, exercise, exercise
Exercise. Especially if its a social manner such as group hiking or dancing. The dopamine release will completely change your daily happiness, and in doing so, your outlook improves. Once that happens, you won’t have to purposefully do any of the other recommendations. They’ll come naturally.
16. Don’t compare yourself to others
Stop comparing yourself to people and stop caring what they think about you.
That’s literally the root of a lot of our problems. And if you take that away, almost immediately you become more positive.
17. Cut out anything that’s useless
Cut useless shit. Basically, look at your daily routine or what you do on the weekends and decide what is good for you and what isn’t. The concept behind that is breaking addiction and routine spice up your life, get your brain going and you start to see what you can do with a little dedication.
18. Cut out negativity, too
It’s not the easiest option but it’s something that worked for me personally. I cut off any negativity around me and generally stopped hearing bad/negative/ toxic news. That included cutting off some people in my life but things have really improved.
19. Pay attention to when you have negative thoughts and try to change the way you think about them
Learn how to interrupt any habitual hypothesizing, mind-reading or ruminating and begin to respond differently to those behaviours. By learn, I mean begin to pay attention to the times of the day when you have had reoccurring negative thoughts. If you’ve been obsessing about a past or future event, or if you’ve been performing a lot of self-doubt exercises such as body-image obsession or using past failures to discourage future attempts.
In these times, begin to label this type of thinking – this can help you understand your brain’s habits a little bit more clearly. For an example from my daily life, if you were like me and you found yourself having negative thoughts about your body, or your general appearance, you could try to begin to track those times as “judging” or “obsessing”, or something gentler such as “spinning” or “cycling”, in reference to the repetitive nature of negative thought processes.
When you find yourself more and more able to punctuate those incidences of negative thinking, it can become easier to question them, their timing, their framing, is there a need for those thoughts? Are they as real as they feel? Do they prevent you from using your energy on things that you enjoy, or things you’re curious about trying? The more you can challenge or “combat” the negative reoccurring thoughts, the more you can question them, deflate them, discredit them, and begin to offer yourself more positive outcomes. Begin to reinforce ideas like accepting past mistakes, accepting future risks, and begin to reject out-of-control repetitive sensations, such as doubting, catastrophic / doom-thinking, ruminating, hating, judging and other stress-inducing thoughts.
It’s important in my experience to have faith in your ability to re-wire. It feels like progress isn’t being made sometimes, but the best you can do is remain focused on outcomes you can affect through your positive reinforcement, not outcomes you fear or find undesirable. There’s only so much we control, so get comfy I guess. Love yourself, and know that you’re at an advantage because you know you’ve got a problem and want to work to get better.
20. Fake it till you make it
I have said it before, and I will say it again. If you are not positive, tell yourself you are, even if you don’t believe it.
I had something that was pretty shitty happen to me right before highschool, lost my group of friends, and had nobody, and had not cliques to join and had nowhere to go. What did I do? Told myself I was happy, and that today was going to be a good day, every time I woke up, or was feeling sad. Was it healthy? Probably not. Was I pretty much brainwashing myself until I was happy? Yes. Did I become happier, and have a more positive out look because of it? Yes. With in 1 year I found my clique, and with in 2 I was able to actually talk to people with out feeling like they thought I was a horrible person. Now I can talk to just about anyone, and not panic because they might have heard the bullshit that was spread all those years ago.
All you have to do is wake up, say your happy, and genuinely believe that you are happy, and today will be a good day, and when ever your feeling bad, or you are remembering why you are hating life, tell your self happy, and that it doesn’t matter anymore because your happy, and you can make other people happy by being happy. It may not work day one, but eventually you will feel yourself becoming happier, and soon enough forget why you were unhappy, or even depressed, in the first place.
Fake happiness today, for a happier tomorrow.