“The most important thing is to enjoy your life–to be happy. It’s all that matters.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m always trying to find ways to be happy, especially right now as I’m feeling cooped up during social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even if we’re going through a rough patch or having a tough day, we can always find something to be happy about. And let’s be real, when we are happier, we are so much nicer to be around. (Especially our kids!) Did you know that happiness is vital to living a good life? Happiness helps us achieve our cherished personal ambitions and goals. Also, by being happy, we have the potential to change many other lives just by being ourselves. Our kids need to see us happy right now and we need to give them ideas and ways to stay positive while they are experience such an abrupt change in schedule and normal life.
We thought it would be fun to compile a list of some happiness hacks, for we know that we could all use some more happiness in our lives right now. Hope this lists inspires you to start creating some of your own happiness in your life.
Getting your blood pumping releases endorphins throughout your whole body, creating feelings of happiness that can combat a bad mood or help alleviate symptoms of depression.
NAMASTE IT UP
Yoga can help ease depressive symptoms as well as anxiety, allowing you to slow down and focus on your breathing rather than your worries, frustrations, and problems. You can find plenty of free Yoga practices on YouTube.
EAT WHOLE FOODS, ESPECIALLY THOSE LEAFY GREENS AND HEALTHY FATS
Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are rich in folate, which is linked to a decrease in negative moods and depression as it helps produce dopamine in the brain. Healthy fats, such as avocado, slow our digestion, thus helping to even out our blood sugar levels. This then leaves us feeling more calm and satisfied. So next time you’re feeling a little anxious, try making some avocado toast or snacking on a handful of nuts. Or, make a delicious Kidzshake smoothie packed with leafy greens and healthy fats! Try our Green Machine Pineapple Whip, Pineapple Avocado Green Smoothie or Peanut Butter Green Shake.
Do you ever realize just how wonderful having fresh flowers at home can make you feel? Fresh flowers can do wonders in keeping away anxiety and negative moods. They also just brighten up your home or workspace. If you are practicing social distancing and cannot go to the store to buy flowers, order seeds online and make your own flower garden!
DON’T FORGET TO SMILE BIG
Even just the simple act of smiling—even if you have to force it—might help to activate the happiness centers in your brain, leaving you in a better mood. So turn that frown upside down!
LET THAT SUNLIGHT SHINE THROUGH
The simple act of letting in some sunlight can also brighten your mood. When your workspace or living area is brighter, you tend to feel happier!
Nothing like fresh air and soaking up sunshine to boost your mood! Also, when you’re exposed to the sun’s rays, your body produces Vitamin D. And did you know that Vitamin D deficiency can make you feel more depressed, anxious and tired? Even just 15-20 minutes outside can greatly increase your mood.
SMELL THE ORANGES
Do you ever feel more at ease or almost awakened when you smell the fresh and vibrant aromas of citrus? That’s because citrus scents, such as orange, lemon and grapefruit, bring out positive chemical reactions in your brain. Next time you could use some uplifting, try using a few drops of citrus essential oil on your pressure points.
PLAY WITH YOUR PET
In our house, our dog is always such a great mood-booster and wonderful emotional support animal! Having a dog or cat can truly improve your quality of life. Nothing like seeing how excited they are when you come home, too. Some research suggests that even just petting your dog for 15 minutes releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin—all of which are mood-enhancing hormones.
LISTEN TO MUSIC (AND DON’T FORGET TO SING AND DANCE ALONG, TOO!)
I’m sure we can all agree that music is a lovely mood-booster. We tend to connect with our favorite artists and bands and love playing their songs and albums on repeat. Music releases the feel-good chemical dopamine into our system and brings on nostalgia. Singing and dancing along, too, gets us more into the groove and lets us disconnect a bit more from our worries or anxieties. Furthermore, I’m sure your kids would love a little dance competition with you.
COLOR IN RAINBOWS
It’s hard to dwell on troubles once in the flow of a drawing or painting. Drawing and coloring have the power in engaging us fully, bringing us into the present moment. And coloring with lots of various colors, like the rainbow, can make us feel happier. According to Colour Expert Maria Killam, “The colours of a rainbow are light, fresh and happy and since they are so rare, they elicit a sense of awe and delight.” So don’t forget to color with a rainbow of colors.
GET CRAFTY AND CREATE A VISION BOARD
Studies have shown that creating art can help reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. Exercising our creativity also gives us an outlet from our daily routines, helping us express our emotions and boost our happiness levels. Vision boards are especially a fun craft to do with your kids, as they can be a really positive, encouraging way for kids to learn to believe in themselves.
BONUS: PRACTICE KINDNESS!
How do you feel when you help others? I don’t know about you, but I sure feel a lot more happier. You feel really good inside when you do good for other people. And a little kindness goes a long way.
“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” ~Dalai Lama
Written by Gelsey Plaza from @nourishing_rainbows