Making Happiness a Habit


It’s great to surround yourself with positive people, but sometimes we struggle with how to become one ourselves. It might take a bit of work, but it’s possible to change your negative outlook into a more sunny alternative. Here are a few tips for doing just that.  

Start by getting rid of the negative influences in your life. If you’re just put down every time you attempt something, you’re likely not going to make much progress. And when you stagnate as a result of that, you become unhappy with yourself and the direction (or lack thereof) your life is heading in. This isn’t the same thing as getting rid of people who give you feedback that you don’t want to hear. It’s hard to listen to, but it’s often needed. The people you really need to drop are the ones who make you feel bad about yourself and your ambitions.

Stop negative thoughts in their tracks. We’ve all had days where we feel like it’s not worthwhile or the project isn’t going anywhere. But the more time you devote to these thoughts, the further they become embedded in your mind. It becomes harder to feel positive. So the next time you start thinking one of those thoughts, interrupt yourself. It’s time to channel your inner Scarlett O’Hara and make the decision to think about how awful you are tomorrow. Get back to your work. Chances are good that tomorrow you’ll be too busy killing your to-do list to remember that you thought you sucked for a whole ten seconds.

Take a break from being in super-serious mode all the time and find things that bring you joy. This can be anything at all—rock climbing, cat videos, “Heart and Soul” piano duets with your nephew, or just dancing around your room. Having some time to relax and not think about work for a little bit can often help you attack your work later with a fresh mind and renewed energy. It might even help it to feel a bit less “ugh, work.”

Cultivate your positivity. It will certainly be tested at times, but try to keep that “yes” mindset rather than giving in to a tailspin of negativity. One of the best ways to cultivate positivity in yourself, ironically, is to know when to say “no.” If you’re someone who constantly says “yes,” chances are you’re also pretty exhausted. It’s hard to stay happy, healthy and motivated when you’re moving through life under a huge weight of the excessive responsibilities you’ve accepted. This is no excuse to duck your obligations, but also know and maintain healthy boundaries for yourself.