8 Ways To Boost Your Happiness Every Day

From lending a helping hand to moving your body, it’s easy to bring extra joy to your life. 

By Sasha Gonzales        18 March 2024

On 20 March, the world celebrates International Happiness Day. More than just a date on the calendar, this annual celebration aims to help people realise the importance of happiness in their lives. When we feel good on the inside, we are likely to be more compassionate, accepting and emotionally resilient. We also tend to enjoy better relationships (because everyone loves being around happy people) and engage in healthier behaviours (positive-minded people usually take better care of themselves and exercise more, for instance). Furthermore, when we’re happier, we’re better able to manage stress and any challenges that come our way. 

There are many ways to feel more joyful every day – here are just eight examples. 

1. Practise gratitude

Boost happiness - Practise gratitude

Counting your blessings and expressing appreciation towards others can impact your life in a positive way, says life and leadership coach, June Wee-Grant. 

“Every night, make a list of three things or people you were grateful for that day – it could be as simple as ‘fresh air’ or ‘a colleague who was kind to me’.  

“If you were grateful for someone’s kind act, send a message of thanks to him or her and explain how their gesture made you feel good. This has the added benefit of strengthening your relationship with that person.” 

An easy way to practise gratitude is to work it into your existing routine, such as just before going to bed, June adds. 

2. Go for a walk

Boost happiness - Go for a walk

Walking helps to fire up our endorphins, also known as “happy hormones”. Whether it’s long or short, taking a walk has been shown to increase feelings of satisfaction, happiness and other positive emotions, says June. 

If you walk regularly as a form of exercise, great. If not, see how you can include it in your daily schedule. For example, instead of asking someone to buy lunch for you so that you can eat at your desk, walk out to get your own food. June says to pay attention to how you feel afterwards – you might feel a sense of satisfaction, knowing that you did something positive for your wellbeing. 

Walking in nature, such as in a park or on a hiking trail, has the added bonus of releasing stress and anxiety and even improving your memory. 

“The best part about walking is that it’s free and available to everyone, 24/7,” June adds.  

3. Pay it forward

Boost happiness - Pay it forward

Another way to feel good is to give to others without expecting anything back. According to June, studies have shown that people who give are generally happier; knowing that they’ve helped to improve someone else’s life, even in a small way, can trigger instant feelings of joy. 

She recommends starting small – hold the door open for the people behind you or pay for a stranger’s coffee or meal if you can afford it.

4. Be playful

Boost happiness - Be playful

Playfulness isn’t just for kids. As adults, having a playful spirit can help supercharge our mood and creativity and help us connect with our emotions, too. 

“Remember what you used to love playing with when you were younger and make time to do those things again now,” June points out. 

Playing a sport with a friend, strumming your guitar, or even letting your imagination run wild with some building blocks, are all good examples of adding extra joy and pleasure to your life. 

5. Take a mindful shower

Boost happiness - Take a mindful shower

Showering isn’t just one of the best ways to refresh yourself; it’s also an excellent opportunity to practise mindfulness.

Mindfulness is known to increase self-awareness and focus, improve the connection between mind and body, increase creativity, and improve sleep, says June. 

Taking a mindful shower is easy, but do it first thing in the morning or at the end of the day when you’re not in a rush. June suggests paying attention to the temperature of the water on your skin, the scent of the products you use, and the way you feel as you clean different parts of your body (such as the firmness of your muscles or the texture of your skin). Do this slowly as you try to fully engage your senses. 

6. Sing your heart out

Boost happiness - Sing your heart out

“There’s evidence that singing boosts happiness,” says June. 

“Singing also counts as an aerobic activity because it introduces more oxygen into the blood, which leads to better circulation.

“If you have the courage to sing in the presence of others, go for it and have fun, but if not, you can always sing alone, such as when you’re in the shower.”

7. Laugh out loud

Boost happiness - Laugh out loud

There’s truth to the saying that laughter is the best medicine. Laughing allows us to forget our troubles, even if just for a while, relaxes our muscles, and puts us at ease. Plus, it reveals to us the light-hearted aspects of life, says June.  

Some suggestions for laughing more: Spend time with people who make you chuckle heartily, listen to a funny podcast on your daily commute, watch a stand-up comedy show, or attend a laughing yoga session.  

8. Sign up for volunteer work

Boost happiness - Sign up for volunteer work

Research shows that volunteering makes us happy as well as brings fun and fulfilment to our life. People who volunteer regularly are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression and tend to enjoy better relationships. 

Decide on causes or charities that are important to you and ask how you can contribute your support. Besides volunteering, you can help your community in other ways, such as offering to run errands for an elderly neighbour or cooking a meal for a sick relative, for instance.    

Read on for more tips to find happiness!

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