When I was in college, I viewed happiness as a faraway, long-term destination that was out of my reach. I regularly found myself thinking, “I’ll be happy when I get into graduate school!” or “I’ll be happy when I’m 10 lbs. lighter!” or worst of all, “I’ll be happy because [insert person] will make me happy!”
I was focusing so much on my future happiness that I forgot I needed to create happiness in my everyday life. Yes, I am one of those people that believes you’re the only person that can decide whether you want to be happy. I blame the crazy amount of self-help books I’ve read! (I like them, okay?) My self-help book extravaganza has taught me that happiness is created and is about small, everyday victories. So because I am completely list/goal-oriented, I decided what better way to create joyfulness every day than to make a list of items I want to start focusing on daily to maximize my happiness?
1. Make Lists
I’ve always been extremely motivated by office supplies. I know—thrilling, right? So, buying myself a new notebook is the perfect way to bring gratitude lists back into my life. All you have to do is write down 5 things that you’re grateful for every day. Easy-peasy! It takes 2.5 seconds and will remind you of all the lovely humans and accomplishments you have in your life. Defiantly adapting this into my morning routine.
2. Moving my Body
The past couple of weeks I’ve been in a major rut. I work, I go home, and I watch Modern Family. Do you know how hard it is to get off of the couch when re-runs of Modern Family are playing over and over again? SO HARD. Sitting on the couch is not conducive to moving body parts. Shocking, right? So, I’m putting a mini-ban on television until I’ve reached 10,000 steps for the day. (Even if it means jumping around frantically in my living room by myself until this happens.) I have a feeling I might regret putting this on my list 5 days from now.
My mind is stuck on fast-forward and moves a million miles a minute, so taking a minute to breathe and meditate makes me slow down. My favorite guided meditation app right now is Headspace because sitting in silence is way, way too hard. I know this from experience. (I went to a meditation class with a friend once and we sat in a dark room for 45 minutes with our eyes closed and no one talked and it was a nightmare. As a beginner, this killed my soul. No one should be left alone in a dark room with their thoughts for 45 minutes.)
4. Reading 10 Minutes a Day
Reading is the bomb and sometimes I forget this. There are no downsides. You get to learn, you get to explore new places, you get to go back in time, you get to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. You get to do anything you want to do with reading. Seriously! Reading only does positive things, and since one of my 2017 themes is to be more open to learning, to others’ perspectives, to everything. Reading is the best (and cheapest) way to accomplish this.
5. Reading the Skimm Every Morning
It’s terrible that this is even on my list given the fact that I’m a Skimm’bassador. However, in my defense, I’d like to say that sometimes I find current events exhausting and heartbreaking and sometimes reading them first thing in the morning kills my vibe for the rest of the day. That being said, current events are EXTREMELY important, as they shape the way that society views the world. So, here’s to learning how to compartmentalize my feelings about current events versus real life because reading about what is going on in the world is WAY too important to ignore.
6. Drinking a Glass of H2O When I Get Up
I rarely feel thirsty when I wake up in the morning, so drinking water right away seems pointless. IT’S NOT! Drinking water right away gets your digestive system running (shoutout to mis amigos that know how important this is!) AND think about how dehydrated your body must be after sleeping 8 hours (hopefully) and not having anything to eat or drink. Help your body out and give it some TLC in the form of H2O. On the list it goes.
7. Drinking 2 Cups of Spearmint Tea During the Day
I recently read somewhere that drinking 2 cups of spearmint tea every day is supposed to help clear up your acne. Since I’m 25 and still get acne and love tea, I figured why not give this a go?
8. Check the Weather Every Morning
This has been by far the hardest thing for me to accomplish and it’s ridiculous that it is. How does checking the weather maximize my happiness? Well, let me tell you, there is nothing that is more unhappy than being cold and wet, and when I don’t check the weather, I am both of these things more often than I should be.
9. Make my Bed
I am almost embarrassed this even made my list. Why am I not in the habit of making my bed already? I have no answer for you. But I do know that when I make my bed, my room feels cleaner, which in turn, makes me 10x happier. Boom. On the list.
10. Spend Some Time Outside
Growing up in the country, I learned to adore going outdoors, which is translation for my Dad turning off the air conditioning and my Mom telling my brother and I (very lovingly) to get out of the house. But seriously, I do really enjoy the outdoors! However, as I’ve gotten older, finding the time to go outside has gotten harder, especially during cold Illinois winters. So, for now, I’ve resolved to go for a walk every single day during lunch. Outdoors? Check!