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In challenging times, it’s important to first take care of your own self and then care for others. Because if you are in distress, you won’t be able to make others happy.
With that in mind, here are some small changes that you can make to your daily routine to become happier—and with consistent practice, also bring about contentment in your life.
1. Practice gratitude
From a scientific standpoint, gratitude is not just a healthy behaviour. It is a positive emotion, which brings about a positive change in people even in challenging times. The emotion of gratitude has consistently been one of the most resilient happiness boosters and that is why it’s the first thing I’ll recommend for your daily routine.
Gratitude is an emotion which is very similar to appreciation that most people are familiar with. You can simply start by making a gratitude journal for yourself in which you can write three things you are grateful for every day. It can be as simple as sending out an appreciation text message to someone as well. You can include your family in this process as well, it can become a family ritual.
2. Include mindfulness in your daily life
Mindfulness is all about being consciously focusing your mind in the present moment without judgment. It can help us become more aware of what is going on with us internally and externally. If you’re unacquainted with mindfulness, you may wonder why anyone would try to develop better awareness of their thoughts, emotions, or actions and how you can benefit from it?
It’s hard to explain how it works before actually experiencing it yourself, but research shows that it provides various benefits ranging from improved health, stronger immune system, better resilience, and less anxiety. A few mindfulness techniques that you can easily try out are:
3. Don’t forget to exercise regularly
Exercise has remarkable physical benefits—all the way from increased energy to lower blood pressure, increased immunity, better sleep, and of course, weight loss.More importantly, it also has great mental and psychological effects. Research shows that exercise reduces anxiety, depression, and other psychological concerns while improving people’s mood, making them more confident, hence boosting their happiness levels.
For the sake of your own physical and mental health, start the habit of regular exercise if you haven’t already. You don’t need to go to the gym or go for a run. Any kind of exercise will do the trick—whether it’s a quick brisk walk, some yoga, playing your favourite game like badminton, or just dancing in your room.
4. Practice self-compassion
Treating yourself with kindness, care, and understanding—rather than harsh criticism and judgments—has been found to be an important predictor of mental well-being and resilience. Self-criticism is strongly related to anxiety, depression, dissatisfaction in life, and low self-esteem.
Self-compassion, on the contrary, helps to activate your brain’s caregiving and self-awareness systems making it easier to believe that you are capable and worthy, making you less self-conscious, less likely to compare yourself to others, and less likely to feel insecure.
It brings out more optimism, and positive emotions like happiness, passion and excitement—leading to even better relationships, more productivity in work, and generally increased level of emotional well-being.
Learn to provide yourself with all the love, warmth, kindness and compassion, just the way you treat your loved ones and friends. Remember you are amazing, just the way you are.