Taking the Time to Make Yourself Happy

Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

We live in a world that prioritizes long work hours and overbooking. But these goals are not sustainable long term, and, for most people, they don’t encourage happiness. In addition, being on the go all the time makes it difficult to be mentally and physically healthy. The truth is that each time we deprioritize ourselves and put a deadline or obligation before our own well-being, we are moving ourselves towards frustration, anger, and burn out.

Life has its ups and downs, but you will be better prepared to manage those changes when you have also devoted time and energy to your personal well-being. And it’s not nearly as hard as you may imagine. In this article, Cheryl Conklin of Wellness Central shares some tips on how to be happy amidst the chaos of life.

Think Outside the Self-Help Box

You’ve probably read lots of ways you can reduce stress and tension in your life, like taking walks, practicing yoga and meditation, or reading and doing crosswords. And those are all really good ways to reduce stress and help you relax. But there are a lot of other ways that you may not have considered… yet. Here are some to get you thinking. Try them out and see what is a good fit for you.

  • Enroll in a Self-Defense or Martial Arts Class. It can be pretty cathartic to kick and punch at things as a stress reliever, and martial arts can provide that in a safe and purposeful context. Martial arts help teach you how to bounce back from setbacks, encourage focus, and offer a nice boost of “feel-good” endorphins that lift your mood.
  • Try Out Bird Watching. Tracy Aviary and Botanical Garden reports that just seeing or hearing birds may spark an improvement in mental well-being that can last up to eight hours. Their claim came from a group of German researchers who discovered that birdwatching, and particularly identifying new species, lightens people’s moods and provides as much satisfaction as getting a $150-a-month raise. You can visit a nearby park or aviary or just step out into your own backyard.
  • Reminisce with Roller Skating. Skating has been shown to be a very relaxing activity, primarily when you’re skating outdoors in the fresh air. Aside from the regular stress relievers that you can get from any form of exercise, roller skating calls back happy childhood memories, immediately making you feel happier and more carefree. Get a pair of skates and roll back the years.
  • Find Healing in Reiki and Meditation. Holistic healing practices, like yoga, reiki, massage, and meditation have been shown to reduce anxiety and help people manage pain. Finding ways to relax your body and mind are important to seeking happiness, so try a reiki session or schedule a massage to get your entire being relaxed and ready for joy.
  • Volunteer and Give Back. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel. You can find an organization with a cause you believe in and devote some of your time to them. Or, if you have a passion you don’t see represented in your area, start your own charitable organization! Structure your charity as a nonprofit corporation in order to apply for grants and public funding. It’s not as hard as you might think to form an NPO or NPC, and there are great tax benefits in addition to the positive impact you can make on the world around you.
  • Experiment with Art. Art is a wonderful way to express yourself and channel your feelings into something beautiful, even if it's just for yourself. Whether you mold something from clay, take an easel, some oils and brushes out in nature, or fingerpaint at your kitchen table, find something that brings you joy. As long as you’re happy with the process instead of worrying about the finished product, the results will all be the same, a happier and more satisfied you.
  • Get Your Hands Dirty with Gardening. Being in nature has amazing mental health benefits, as does getting your hands and feet in the dirt. If you love watching things grow, then start your own garden. Home Garden Hero is a great resource for indoor and outdoor gardening tips, so you can set yourself up to succeed – even if your thumb isn’t the greenest.
  • Take Up Photography. Everyone has a camera on their phone, and you’re probably pretty good at capturing family and pets. But try using photography to really look at life in all its beauty and wonder. Whether it’s the strangers you see on your city streets, close-ups of bees hovering above a flower, or the night sky, photography can help you see the world in ways you usually miss, which can be uplifting and satisfying.
  • Try New Hobbies. Yes, building model airplanes or putting together jigsaw puzzles can be relaxing. But what about trying something you always thought looked really fun but never considered actually doing? Look for classes or a group that interests you, like archery, magic, fencing, astronomy, or beekeeping. YouTube has a lot of instructional videos on each of those and so many more that you can get a feel for each by trying it at home first. Then if you find you enjoy it, go out and make it your own hobby.
  • Learn a language. This can be so much more than how to say a word or phrase in another language, including American Sign Language. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture – its food, its history, its costumes, and its traditions. And there are probably many groups in your town that celebrate frequently, so you can make a whole new circle of friends who share those same interests.

Embrace Your Joy

Children are great at finding happiness in the little things. Somehow, we tend to lose that ability as we become adults. But it’s never too late to regain it. These are just some of the fun and interesting ideas that you can use to help improve your mental health, your mood, and your overall well-being. The important thing to remember is to take the time to do it. Your happiness is just as important as the work you produce, so go out there and be joyful!

Cheryl Conklin created Wellness Central from her desire to share various resources and her thoughts on wellness. Apart from blogging, she enjoys traveling and going on endless adventures, and writing about her experiences at the end of the day.

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