Let’s keep it simple this week with some easy ways to boost your happiness in 2022!
I’m gonna assume you’re already familiar with the happiness benefits of things like exercise, meditation, and, of course, the much-proselytized gratitude list. Because if you consume any media at all, chances are you’ve already read or heard about those and the myriad other healthy habits we should all adopt.
In an ideal world it would be lovely to squeeze all those things into our busy lives. But what if you just want some quick and easy ideas to make your busy life a little happier?
Say no more. This is a list of 22 minimum-effort happiness interventions to try at any time.
I’d love to know if you try any of these ideas and if they make your life a little happier. And please let me know your quick happiness fixes - maybe I’ll include them in a future Happiness Letter!
1. Sign up for the Happiness Letter
Yeah, this thing right here! If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up now for your free, weekly email filled with wondrous, wild-hearted inspiration for living a happier life. 👇
2. Spend time with people who nourish and support you
Social connection is an essential component of happiness, even for introverts. Make a list of the people in your life who you feel good around, and who are supportive and encouraging. It might not be a long list and that’s ok. What’s important is that you’ve identified your people – now, make an effort to spend time with them!
3. Spend time with yourself
On the flip side, we also need time alone to unwind and create space for self-discovery. Rather than putting off trips or activities because you have no one to accompany you, indulge your curiosity with solo visits to museums, concerts, cinemas, cultural events – whatever delights you!
4. Have a duvet day and don’t feel guilty about it
Whether you call it a duvet day, a lazy day, or a mental health day – take time off to rest and recharge without feeling guilty. Your productivity is not your worth! In the words of Dr Thema Bryant-Davis:
“Some of us are so hard on ourselves, moving from one task to the next without taking time for breath, rest, or joy. Take sacred pause to appreciate your journey. You’ve come a long way.”
5. Schedule something to look forward to
Good news if you don’t have time for holidays, fun activities, or seeing friends right now. Planning some future fun can provide just as much, and sometimes even greater, happiness. A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that simply planning a vacation or break from work can improve our happiness.
6. Do more things that make you forget to look at your phone
What everyday activities make you forget about the attention-sucking distraction monster in your pocket? For me, it’s walking my dogs, cooking, reading, and writing. What activities make you forget to look at your phone, and how can you do more of them?
University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:
“We scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in wellbeing of any exercise we have tested.”
And a 2013 review published in the journal BMC Public Health found that volunteering was linked with a reduced risk of depression and a higher amount of overall life satisfaction.
If you don’t have time to volunteer, a 2008 study showed that making a charitable donation will make you feel happier than if you spend money on yourself!
9. Make a personal playlist of your favourite feel-good songs
Load a Spotify or Youtube playlist with all your favourite musical mood-boosters. Forget about being cool or current, and don’t worry about anyone else’s opinions – this playlist is just for you. Cheesy, guilty pleasures are recommended and encouraged!
10. Devote time to your hobbies
With all the demands of our busy lives, it can be hard to justify spending time on hobbies. But did you know? A recent study by University College London noted that having a hobby reduced the risk of developing depression by almost a third, while people with depression who took up a hobby had a 272% higher chance of recovery.
11. Treat yourself
If you’re waiting for a sign to purchase something small and frivolous for yourself just because you want it, this is it! Permission granted! ✨
While this isn’t a practical long-term happiness plan, I believe that some days you gotta take the dopamine hit wherever you can get it.
12. Learn something small by heart
Mastering new skills makes us happier – even if it’s just memorising something small. What would you enjoy committing to memory? Here are some ideas I like:
13. Make a self-care package for yourself or someone else
Create a self-care box filled with items that provide comfort – like tea, a favourite book, a journal, a candle, affirmations, essential oils, etc.
14. Do your future self a favour
Whenever I can, I try to make life a little easier for ‘Future Me’ just in case she has a bad day. This can look like planning my clothes for the week on a Sunday night, not committing to too many obligations, or when I’m cooking, making extra to keep in the freezer.
15. Display photos of happy times and loved ones
Whether you frame some prints or use a digital photo frame, displaying your fave photos has been shown to enhance happiness. Researchers at the Open University found that looking at personal photos gave research participants an 11% mood boost!
16. Use the fancy candle/notebook/perfume
You know those gifts you receive that are ‘too nice’ to use? That you’re reserving for some unspecific special purpose? Go ahead and use them any old time. You deserve to enjoy small pleasures.
17. Give your phone a happiness overhaul
Do you reach for your phone every time it vibrates or beeps? Even when the critical communique is just an Amazon delivery update? Are all the interruptions from your phone throughout the day worth your attention? Go into your phone’s settings and switch off non-urgent notifications, and enjoy the newfound peace it brings.
18. Treat your social media as a sacred space
Curate an online environment that honours your right to feel safe and happy. Are there people who you would avoid on the street, but who you grant access to your life through your social media? Block ‘em. And don’t worry if they notice or how they feel about it. You aren’t obliged to give everyone access to your space.
19. Join your local public library
Because happiness is having your own library card.
20. Sign up for free trials of self-improvement or self-care apps
And for a week or so, make the most of all their features for free. Just remember to set unsubscribe reminders so that you don’t accidentally wind up paying a subscription you don’t want! Some apps I like with free trials:
Calm (7-day free trial)
Headspace (14-day free trial)
Shine (7-day free trial)
Skillshare (1-month free trial)
21. Continue or start therapy
Ok, this one isn’t as quick, easy, or inexpensive as the other items on this list. But if you’re interested in ways to improve your emotional wellbeing, I can’t overstate the value of therapy. A therapist can empower you with coping tools, help you to process past experiences and increase your self-awareness.
22. Lastly, to quote Mary Oliver,
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
I really do need a social media clearout! I hadn't really thought about it before. Such a good idea. I don't need negativity in my life anymore 😊 Going to work through the list and see what else will bring me joy 😃❤️
"And not a gratitude list in sight!" made me chuckle. I love these tips! (And so glad to sign up.)