5 happiness hacks to make you smile
Happiness is a fleeting emotion and not a constant state. Feeling happy is on the spectrum of emotions that includes sadness too and all of our feelings are valid. We can achieve a healthier mental state by accepting all of our emotions and not rushing ourselves to feel different or denying any of our feelings.
Sometimes it can feel challenging to feel happy, so here are 5 happiness hacks to put a smile on your face. They range from something you can do in 30 seconds through to 20 minutes, and all of them will help you to feel lighter and happier.
30-second happiness hack – the truth about smiling
People have got it wrong about smiling. If you want to feel happier start by making yourself smile first. This happiness hack reveals the changes in your facials muscles send signals to your brain to release happiness endorphins, and then you can feel like smiling even more.
2-minute happiness hack – how catastrophic thinking steals your happiness
People can get caught up in unhelpful thinking styles. One of them is catastrophic thinking. That’s when a negative thought comes into your mind about something that is outside of your control that may or may not happen in the future.
People can have these thoughts about anything. They’re easy to identify as the scenarios that play in their mind become more and more dark, negative and catastrophic. It’s as though you allow your imagination to imagine an ever-worsening series of ‘What if?’ until you are completely absorbed in your own nightmare version of day-dreaming.
It’s imperative to acknowledge that catastrophic thinking is something you do to yourself and not something that happens to you. This is a symptom of disordered thinking. This technique is about you taking back control of your thoughts. Because ultimately that’s all they are – just thoughts.
So, when a negative, catastrophic thought comes into your mind, say to yourself ‘That’s one of those thoughts I scare myself with’ and then interrupt it.
The most successful way to do this is by physically moving. If you’re sitting down then get up. If you’ve a little privacy then stand up and raise your left knee and tap that knee with your right hand. Then switch and lift your right knee and tap that knee with your left hand.
This is called Cross-Crawl and is a body energy technique taught to break the hold this unhelpful thinking can have on you. It’s so silly to do – hence the need for privacy – you’ll often end up smiling at yourself, and you’ll have forgotten whatever was on your mind too.
5-minute happiness hack – silencing your inner critic
One of the reasons for not being happy is the inner voice in your mind that runs a constant monologue about everything you say or do.
If after reading that you are thinking to yourself ‘What voice in my head?” well, that’s the one I mean. It usually exists just below your conscious awareness and rarely has anything constructive or supportive to say. It’s like a constant drip, drip of toxic negative judgments. Your inner negative voice can eat away at your self-esteem and your ability to be happy.
Up until now, your inner voice has had free rein of your sub-conscious mind. Now it’s time to turn that carping, moaning voice into your best friend and most enthusiastic cheerleader.
Sit quietly for a few moments and tune into the voice in your head. Really hear the sort of things it says to you. Try to work out if the judgements your inner voice say remind you of anything anyone said to you as you were growing up.
You might have an a-ha moment when you realise for how long you’ve been carrying these old judgements around with you and how unhelpful they are.
Each time you notice a negative judgment about yourself I want you to take a deep breath in and breath it out. As you breathe out take a moment to replace that negative thought with a positive thought about yourself instead.
The process of replacing negative judgments with positive affirmations works best when it becomes a habit. Psychologists have worked out that it takes 21 repetitions to embed a new habit. So just set aside 10 minutes a day for three weeks until your mind is used to supporting and cheering you on instead of putting you down.
10-minute happiness hack – just say thank you
Gratitude work is one of the oldest and most effective ways to increase happiness. At the end of your day, preferably just before sleep, just jot down in a notebook all the things that happened to you during the day that you are grateful for. The physical process of hand-writing these sentences of gratitude is essential so preferably do not type them.
In tough and challenging times it can be really difficult to recall anything to feel grateful for, but as you commit to this nighty process more things will come to your mind. Again a commitment of a minimum of 21 days of recalling everything you feel grateful for will reap you increased happiness in your life in an almost magical way.
Begin with five things you are grateful for and try to build into a list of fifty. When your written list is complete, it will be enough for you just to read to yourself each evening all the things you are grateful for.
Working with gratitude the last thing at night after your busy day sets up your subconscious mind to find and feel more gratitude as you sleep soundly at night.
20-minute happiness hack – release your happiness hormones
It takes 20 minutes of exercise before the happiness endorphins are released in your brain making you feel exhilarated and happy, so don’t give up at 19 minutes!
If you feel you are struggling to feel happy and have underlying reasons that make you feel sad, then reach out to me with an obligation free discovery call. You may need some help to transform how you think and feel about yourself before you can feel true happiness.
Sally Baker is Senior Therapist, published Author and Speaker in private practice in London for face to face sessions and the world over via the internet.
With almost twenty years of professional experience, she employs cutting-edge therapeutic approaches to help one person at a time to transform their lives.
She has extensive experience working with people to alleviate their anxiety, depression, anger issues, eating disorders as well as conflicts within relationships and the family.
To find out more about Sally Baker, her books and her work visit her website, www.workingonthebody.com