I have said it before, but it bears repeating, Happiness is a Choice. Is that not the best news ever?! It instantly makes me feel powerful and in control of how I act and react as I navigate my life. My first instinct is not always to, um, choose Happiness. That said, I have really been studying the power of habit and I am blown away by some of the mental muscles I have started to flex. A habit is something you repeat over and over again until it becomes something you do automatically. You get to choose the habits you want to create and then the only things left to do is practice them on the daily. Boom! Habit formed! That doesn’t mean you don’t slip up on occasion, but that’s when you choose to get up, dust off and practice some more. Yay! That is what I call taking charge, kicking butt and activating your super powers.
Here are 10 Habits of Contagiously Happy People. You know them, the people who make you laugh and smile. The ones you hang out with and leave feeling awesome and reenergized. The ones who handle difficult situation with resilience and determination. They get it, they know they get to choose how to react to life and they choose to learn and grow and see the humor. Yes, please.
At a basic level getting enough sleep, exercise, taking your vitamins, drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet is the foundation. Let’s do this first because without taking care of this stuff, it will be pretty tough to accomplish any of the other habits.
We are all busy. Prioritizing is so so key. Who are the people in your life who you just love and adore? Is it your mate? Your bestie? Your kids? Your parents? Whoever your very favorite people are, MAKE THEM A PRIORITY. Sometimes, I have gotten in the habit of putting the people who love me most on the back burner. Your family, your best friends, they are what makes life great. They are what makes you happy. If they get the leftovers of your energy, try to find a way to flip that so that they get the best of you. Even if that means adjusting your school or work schedule, getting up earlier, organizing your evening better. It is a habit worth cultivating and the happy will spread all over the place. Everyone you love will catch it.
It is not selfish to carve out time to do your favorite things. Whatever it is (salsa dancing, pottery, painting, making exotic animal balloon art), DO IT! And do it regularly. People who make time for fun are happier. When you fill up on good stuff that you love to do, you have more patience and energy to handle the ups and downs of life with a positive perspective. Happy habits are those that protect and increase your energy.
I really don’t think it is possible to be contagiously happy unless you get comfy spending time alone with yourself. Take yourself out for a walk or have a relaxing bubble bath. If spending time by yourself sounds un-fun, then that is the first relationship to cultivate. Just like the basics in habit 1, self-love is the main ingredient in the happiness formula. If you need distractions or approval from others to maintain your good feelings about yourself it leaves you vulnerable. It doesn’t take much to go from giddy to blue when your positive feelings come from outside yourself. A friend gets mad at you and all of the sudden you go from happy awesome girl to hosting a personal pity party. Um, no thank you.
One of the best ways to know and love the real you, is to take time to get quiet. I know I am getting hippie again, but seriously, give that inner child a hug, whatever works. Taking even a few minutes a day to journal, mediate, go for a run. Whatever it is that helps you get quiet and hear yourself think. I mean your real self. Go beyond, “What am I going to make for breakfast?” and check in with the bigger picture, “Do I feel ecstatically happy about the direction of my life?” Depending on the answer, get brave and adjust your life as needed until the answer to this question is, “Hell, yes!”
The more you tap into who you really are and love yourself for the exceptionally awesome person you are, the easier it is to show others your awesome. Be unapologetic about your quirky, lovable self. The better you know yourself, the faster you can catch yourself falling back into not so happy habits like trying to be something you are not just to gain the approval of those around you. It doesn’t work and it doesn’t give you a chance to sharing your unique talents and fabulous point of view with the world.
Rather than time management, I like the idea of energy management. The more you know and respect yourself, the more clear you can get on your values and your big beautiful goals. The things and people you prioritize should be those that make you feel like you are full of energy and living on purpose. If you spend your day on piddly energy-sucking activities and low value relationships, it time to change it up. I know changing jobs, going back to school, rethinking your relationship or any of the other adjustments you might need to make may feel super scary. You don’t have to do it all at once, but please start taking baby steps in the direction of your dreams. People who are living on purpose share happiness like an epidemic of positivity.
Wash your hair with it, brush your teeth with it, slip some in your smoothie. In other words, seek out the people and experiences that will help you grow. It is a lot easier to run recklessly in the direction of your dreams if you have fostered the relationships, plugged into the networks and really sought out your tribe. I know this term gets used a lot now, but I just love it. My favorite thing is how it instantly creates a picture of a community of people who have banned together over common goals, interests and values. Your peeps are out there. Find them and add them to your priority list. Choose carefully and hold on tight.
In addition to building your tribe, surround yourself with uplifting, inspiring things. Put up pictures of your loved ones in your office, frame motivating quotes on your desk, paint your living room walls a bright color. Whatever you do, focus on making your environment a reflection of the positive mindset you are cultivating. I collect word art that says things like, “Be Brave” and “You Rock”. I frame it on the wall. I drink tea out of funny/happy mugs. I smile and laugh when I see my happified space and so do my friends and coworkers. Hmm, its almost like the positivity is contagi…well, you get the point.
Being grateful is one of the single most important habits for a happy life. Remember all the good things and being thankful for everything that is going great and all the people who love you, it doesn’t get any better than that. The trick is to also be grateful for the sucky stuff too. That is not so easy. But, often it is the difficult stuff that helps us grow and ultimately find our happiness. So, when possible, be grateful for the not so great stuff too. Even if you can’t be grateful at the time, sometimes you can look back at it and see the gift.
Go forth and spread happiness all over everyone around you. Wipe some on your friends, family and neighbors.
P.S. Bonus habit, practice thinking optimistically.