Healthy Habits for a Happier You
Happiness is often thought of as something that comes to you.
Many people sit around waiting for happiness to show up on their doorstep, so to speak. Or, they go on a hunt for it trying to buy their happiness or making their happiness dependent on a relationship or career change. But, the truth is, happiness is within you. It’s within all of us. You already have all the tools you need to be happier in your current life. Your happiness isn’t dependent on buying the house, getting the job, or finding the ‘person.’ It is something you have control over.
Harvard University started the Happiness Challenge to show people just that — happiness is a lifestyle. They put together a collection of eight research-backed habits that make people happier. At Move Forward counseling in Pennsylvania, we frequently work with clients from around the state through our online and in-person sessions to establish a happier lifestyle.
We have an overview of the eight healthy habits for a happier you.
There is a reason depression and anxiety skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of it had to do with the isolation that people felt. It was hard to socialize. Many people lost the social connection they had previously known.
Social support is vital to physical and mental health. It is an essential part of the human experience. Personal relationships impact our lives in many ways. It is important to make time in your days to socialize with friends, family, coworkers, and community members. Being social positively impacts self-esteem, emotions, physical health, and the body’s response to stress.
There is quite a bit of research that shows doing good deeds for others boosts happiness for the doer. Engaging in frequent acts of kindness can be very rewarding and uplifting for the human spirit.
Next time you are feeling down, channel that negative energy into something positive. Pick up some groceries for an elderly neighbor, make a care package, volunteer, or clean out your closet and donate to someone in need.
Get Enough Sleep
Why is it so hard to get enough sleep? We are all so busy that sleep is often the last thing to get our attention, yet it is so important. Sleep deprivation can have detrimental effects on cognitive functions like memory and can cause a decrease in alertness. Lack of sleep contributes to mental exhaustion, increased stress, fatigue, confusion, and tension.
The bottom line: “Sleep is overrated” is not an accurate statement. Sleep is very important to your mental and physical health.
Eat Nutritious Food
The foods we eat impact how we feel. Eating fatty foods, refined sugars, carbohydrates, excessive caffeine, and alcohol, can leave people feeling sluggish, anxious, unmotivated, and just plain yucky. Be mindful of what you are putting in your body and you will notice that the healthier you physically feel, the happier you are mentally.
Let It Out
The practice of journaling daily or even screaming into a pillow each morning can be helpful tools in letting things go. Don’t let negative emotions build up inside of you. Instead, write down what you are feeling so you are better able to process them. Or, talk it out with a licensed professional counselor or therapist, or a close friend or family member.
Gratitude journaling can also be very beneficial for creating a happier life. Keeping a running journal of all the positive and good things that have happened to you will keep you focusing on the good rather than the bad.
Do Things You Love
Everyone has something they enjoy doing, something that makes them feel good. It could be reading, writing, walking, swimming, knitting, golfing, repairing cars, building model airplanes, literally anything you enjoy. Make time to do those things. Even if it is only once a month, make sure you are making time to do the things that lift you and make you feel alive.
Get Outside and Get Moving
Fresh air can do wonders for your mood. Staying inside all the time, away from sunlight and nature, isn’t good for you. Next time you are feeling stressed, try stepping outside for a bit and notice how you feel when you return.
Movement combined with getting outside can be a great combination. Research shows that in addition to helping us get into shape and maintain a healthy figure, physical activity is positively correlated with general well-being, positive mood, and lower levels of anxiety and depression.
It is so easy to complain about things but the very act of complaining shifts your mind to the negative making you feel unhappy. Instead, make a pact with yourself to not complain for a few days and see what happens. Use positive talk instead, what good things happened? What is good about this situation? The same goes for how you talk to yourself. Instead of “I need to lose a few pounds” or “I am such an idiot,” try “I am doing my best” or “My hair looks great today!”
Happiness is achievable for everyone, even those who struggle with mental illness. The trained professionals at Move Forward Counseling can help you to navigate life and make positive changes toward a happier you.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Our professionally-trained and licensed counselors have openings. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant. Get started to feeling better today. You can get the tailored help you need right now. We are here for you.
Help with establishing habits
If you would like to start counseling to help you establish healthy habits for a healthier you, please write to email@example.com or submit a Contact form.