Being happy can have a positive impact on our health. Here are 10 small things to practice every day to find happiness and improve your overall health.
1) Your first thought of the day should be positive.
Open your eyes each morning and commit to a positive thought. Think optimistically about yourself and the people around you. Time Magazine wrote that by practicing optimism, we can be happier and healthier, and extend our lives.
2) Exercise. Period.
Movement is good for you. Whatever exercise you choose, just do it. Staying active results in mental acuity and better physical health. We’re smarter, sleep better, and feel better about our bodies. All of those make us feel good and, in turn, happy.
3) Spend time with family and friends.
Harvard University happiness expert Daniel Gilbert determined that spending time with loved ones and friends is one of the main sources of overall happiness, according to Time Magazine. On the flip side, being lonely can harm your health. It has ties to diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
4) Be grateful.
Gratitude is so simple. It only takes a moment to be thankful. Merely thinking about the things that make you grateful can bring a smile to your face. Better yet, write down these thoughts. Many people believe that keeping a gratitude journal makes them feel better and much happier.
5) Pay someone a compliment.
Seeing someone smile, and knowing you made their day after you paid them a compliment, will make you feel better too. Huffington Post wrote, “human beings need positive reinforcement and words of affirmation to feel connected and cared about.”
6) Be kind to yourself.
Stop criticizing yourself. List all the good things that you know are true. It will definitely make you happier and that will improve your overall health.
Meditation — even if just for five minutes — can increase happiness, reduce anger, anxiety, depression and fatigue, wrote Time. If prayer is more your thing, that works too. And you don’t have to be religious.
8) Get enough sleep.
How many happy people do you know who are sleep deprived? Probably not many. It's not good for our happiness or health when we do not get enough shut-eye. “Sleep is essential to optimal health,” wrote Everyday Health.
9) Laugh. Laugh. And laugh some more.
Take BuzzFeed’s advice, and “don’t let a day go by when you don’t let yourself laugh.” Do whatever works for you. Watch a comedian. Share a funny story. Check out the comics or just be goofy.
When it comes to health, Time wrote, humor helps people cope with stress which in turn breeds better immune systems and less chance of heart attack and stroke.
10) Write down your hopes and dreams.
Want to skydive? Travel to Paris? Get a raise? Write it down. Seeing it in writing may prompt you to act.
Think about how happy you’ll be when it happens. And as we now know, happiness is closely linked with healthiness.
Reviewed September 22, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
"17 Tiny Everyday Things That Could Improve Your Overall Health." BuzzFeed. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.
Ayuda, Tiffany. "4 Things You Can Do This Week to Be a Happier Person." EverydayHealth.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.
Barker, Eric. "What 10 Things Should You Do Every Day To Improve Your Life?" Time. Time, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.
Smith, Paige. "20 Easy, Everyday Things You Can Do to Improve Your Life in 2016." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.