We have a tendency to create happiness goals for ourselves in the context of the future: Once some event takes place, we will be happy. But really, happiness should be on today’s to-do list.
Here are some easy mental shifts you can make right now to boost positive vibes in a matter of minutes.
1. Move through the world as if it is a friendly place rather than a hostile one.
This view allows you to take a potential annoyance ― like a driver cutting you off in traffic ― and assume a charitable pose: Decide to believe this person was simply in a hurry, not trying to hamper your morning commute. Taking this view of the world leads to more peace and less stress.
Experts estimate that roughly 40 percent of our happiness is within our control, altered by how we act and think. Living in a happy world, therefore, is a choice.
2. Decide that you’re grateful for three specific things.
Write down three things you’re thankful for, right now. This simple act could lower your blood pressure, decrease feelings of loneliness and help you sleep better tonight.
3. Decide to be kind to yourself.
Decide right now to counteract negative self-talk with positive thoughts about you, your appearance and the specific gifts you bring to the world. Talk to yourself with words as kind as the ones you’d say to a friend. Extending love to yourself and others has been shown to boost positive emotions overall.
4. Decide you’ll stop trying to “be happy.”
Happiness comes naturally from a balanced life, not from forcing a constant smile. Decide you’ll start to channel your effort into activities that bring you joy instead of chasing after the feeling itself.
5. Decide to wipe your slate clean.
Sure, you’ve done things you regret. Everybody has. Pinpoint a few mistakes that are bugging you right now, confront them and then decide to forgive yourself. Voila! An instant happiness boost.
Make an effort to get that boost every day, and you'll set yourself up for a long, happy life.