Are you feeling blue? Or do you just want to increase your daily enjoyment? Happiness can be attained more easily than you may think. Below, you will find the 31 Days of Healthy Happiness Challenge. Embark on this journey with an open heart and mind, and you might be surprised with the satisfaction you find!
Day 1: Pay it forward. Whether you buy coffee for the person behind you in line, donate to your favorite charity or spend some time at a local soup kitchen, spread your help, love and kindness simply because it’s the right thing to do and will make you feel good in return.
Day 2: Talk about something worthwhile. According to a recent study, engaging in small talk was connected with unhappiness, while deep, meaningful discussions were linked to happiness. Cut the small talk and be yourself. Be real and you might be amazed with the kind of conversations you experience.
Day 3: Chill out. Take time for yourself today. One idea might be to draw yourself a warm bath, play your favorite music and relax for 20 to 30 minutes. Taking time for yourself is important to function as your happiest self.
Day 4: Discuss real-life issues with a true friend. When a person has multiple people with whom they can relate and be themselves, they are 60 percent more likely to experience happiness, says another recent study. Having a friend you can call up when times are tough is often more important than one who only wants to stick around for the good times.
Day 5: Compliment five people. Giving and receiving a compliment feels good. If you like a stranger’s shirt, tell him. If your mom’s new haircut suits her, let her know. Be genuine with your praise; even if it’s just sending a text, you will make somebody’s day with your optimistic admiration. Plus, you never know who could use a kind word.
Day 6: Do something you adore. Spending time doing the things you enjoy the most is good for you. Just 15 to 20 minutes of “me” time each day can help to make life happier for you and those around you.
Day 7: Start a positivity journal. Write down your dreams and aspirations; visualize them coming true. Think about how you would accomplish your goals, and make an action plan. Keep track of all the good things that happen in your life. Writing can be very therapeutic and can help to organize your thought processes.
Day 8: Wear your favorite outfit. When you feel put together, you naturally feel more confident. Slip on your favorite outfit and head out into the world as the true you.
Day 9: Join a group. Time and again, studies have shown that those who join groups feel happier, more connected and less lonely, and they tend to maintain stable relationships. Whether you join a walking club or a local soccer team, group participation may improve your mood.
Day 10: Share a pet picture or video. Yes, cat videos are all the rage — but have you ever wondered why they are so popular? Studies suggest that watching videos of those cute, furry little creatures are likely to make you feel happier and less stressed. So send your favorite video to your friend, co-worker or grandmother — all in the name of science.
Day 11: Watch the sunrise (or sunset). The day-to-day of life can be stressful. But when you make an effort to enjoy the little things, life doesn’t seem so bad. Even if you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way to work in the morning, enjoying the sunrise through the car window can help start your day off on the right path.
Day 12: Hold yourself accountable. If you have goals, figure out how you’re going to make them happen and go after them. Studies have shown that people who set both short-term and long-term goals are happier than those who don’t.
Day 13: Take a savoring stroll. A savoring walk is different from a walk you’d take for exercise. While on this walk, you’d notice, for example, the color of the leaves, the feeling of the warm summer wind caressing your face and the sound of the birds singing their songs. It is all about noticing and immersing yourself in nature, taking a short time away from the daily grind without talking or other distractions.
Day 14: Realize positivity is a decision. Happiness is a choice. There are always at least two ways to view any situation. If your frame of mind is positive, life will be much more enjoyable.
Day 15: Watch your favorite funny movie. Grab your favorite healthy snack and blanket, and cuddle up on the couch for some laughs.
Day 16: Schedule something to anticipate. Having occasions to look forward to, such as a fun concert, a night out with a friend or a weekend getaway, is key to maintaining a happy life. Get out your calendar and schedule something fun to look forward to.
Day 17: Work it out. Whether you’re an experienced athlete or just beginning a fitness regimen, take time today to sweat your way to bliss. According to the University of Vermont, just 20 minutes of exercise can boost your mood, and the benefits can last for up to 12 hours.
Day 18: Do something creative. You don’t have to be Dali or a DIY craft-pro to work on something creative. If you like to paint, paint. If you like to refinish furniture, go for it. If you like adult coloring books, color away. Today is your day to let your imagination go wild, so let it.
Day 19: Make a healthy, homemade dinner. What’s the happiest meal you can make? Something homemade and healthy. Only you know what makes you feel good, so treat yourself to your favorite delicious meal tonight while you simultaneously hone your chef skills.
Day 20: Spend some time with yourself. Being social is great for happiness, but so is spending time solo. Today, focus on you. Some suggested activities might be reading that book you’ve been meaning to finish, listening to feel-good music or meditating.
Day 21: Clean out your closet. Go through your clothing and donate anything you haven’t worn in a year or more. Also use this day to give away other unwanted items from around your house. Somebody somewhere will be grateful to receive your surplus items — and you’ll be thankful for the clear space.
Day 22: Be spontaneous. Do something today on a whim, simply for the enjoyment. From laser tag to skydiving, the world is yours.
Day 23: Hang out with a friend. Call up that one friend you’ve been meaning to see, and spend some time together. Invite him for a bike ride or over to watch a movie. Spending time with those you care about can be meaningful.
Day 24: Celebrate somebody else’s happiness. While it is important to relish in your own successes, it is equally important to cheer on those you love. When your friend gets a promotion or buys a new house, rejoice and do something nice for her.
Day 25: Use your strengths. Today, write down a list of your strongest attributes. Then evaluate your list and figure out how you can use them to your advantage and others. After that, put them into action.
Day 26: Express gratitude. Chances are, somebody, somewhere along the line, has done something significant to help you out. Today, let them know how important they are in your life by thanking them. Send them flowers, write them a card or simply call them on the phone.
Day 27: Find something good about something you dislike. It might seem hard in the moment, but if you focus on a positive feature of a task you hate, it will make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful. For example, paying your mortgage means having a roof over your head or getting a cavity filled means that you have access to dental care.
Day 28: Go on an adventure. Whether you’ve lived in your city since birth or you’re the new kid in town, go somewhere you’ve never been before. Visit that amazing pizza place you’ve been hearing about, or explore the nature preserve. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a totally new and pleasurable experience for you.
Day 29: Be happy not being happy. It’s OK not to be happy 100 percent of the time. Being constantly happy is not natural – life ebbs and flows. Today, try to be more at peace with the tough moments in life, and realize they, too, shall pass.
Day 30: Visit your grandparent or other elderly family member. Spending time with those who love to see your smiling face is important. Elderly family members are often overjoyed just to know you’re on the planet. Today, visit with somebody who you know could use your positive energy.
Day 31: Toast to a month well-celebrated. Drink your favorite green juice or other celebratory beverage. Delight in simply being alive. Cheers to a happier you!
“The Secrets to a Happy Life, From a Harvard Study,” Anahad O’Connor, well.blogs.nytimes.com, March 23, 2016.
“Five Science-Backed Strategies for More Happiness,” Kira M. Newman, greatergood.berkley.edu, March 16, 2016.