Happiness. Everyone seems to want it and people spend their lives searching for it…yet it often seems hard to find. For many people in today’s world, happiness is an elusive goal. But it isn’t for you!

A lot of people have tips and advice on how to improve your life and find happiness, but these self-love tips from Happiness Hacks bring them to you all in one place.

These happiness hacks range from the simple to the grand, but they are all proven to increase your appreciation of life and make you happier.

Decide to Be Happy

This may sound simplistic, but if you want to be happy, then decide to be happy. One way to help with this is to think happy thoughts. (That’s right, just like Peter Pan told Wendy!) When you choose positive thoughts over negative ones, you are more likely to develop an optimistic outlook on life. Positive people generally have higher levels of optimism and life satisfaction, plus they live longer. And here’s some good news—even if you aren’t normally a happy person, thinking happy thoughts is a skill you can learn. Work on being an optimist: choose to think positive thoughts and see the proverbial glass as half full rather than half empty. The next time you’re driving and someone cuts you off, for example, resist the urge to respond with anger, which can clamp down your blood vessels and increase your blood pressure. Instead, stay positive and let your anger go. Keep that positive vibe going no matter what you’re doing. The more frequently you choose to be happy, the happier you will be.

Say No

It’s easy to say yes—people like you when you say yes to the things they want or need. It’s tougher to say no, but sometimes saying no is just the thing you need to feel happier. Is someone trying to push you into doing something you don’t have time or the desire to do? Say no. Is someone trying to make you bend on a boundary you feel you need to stand firm on? Say no. Is someone trying to dump a project or task on you? Say no. If you have a hard time saying no, try this: stand in front of a mirror and practice saying, “No, it’s not possible,” and then turning and walking away. You never again have to give in when you know you don’t want to do something or when you know something is not a good idea. Practice until saying no is as easy as saying yes. Saying no is a powerful tool in your game-of-life chest.

Relax Before Bed

After a long day at work, are you tense? Are you tossing and turning while trying to go to sleep every night? If you release your stress before you go to bed, you may find you are able to fall asleep more quickly, have a better quality of sleep, and wake up more rested and refreshed. There are lots of ways to calm your mind and let go of the tension you hold in your body, including taking a warm bath, sipping a glass of wine, listening to peaceful music, doing some deep breathing, or praying to release your concerns to a higher power. Rather than living a stressed-out life, make a point to let go of the tension you’ve accumulated throughout the day so that you get deep, restorative sleep.

Pat Your Own Back

You praise your friends, your coworkers, and your spouse whenever they accomplish something praiseworthy, so why not give yourself some praise? You’re not being a braggart or egotistical when you acknowledge that you finished a task or made a breakthrough—you work very hard and accomplish many things that no one but you ever recognizes. If you finally played a complicated piano composition all the way through or found an ingenious way to increase your project’s budget, tell yourself how wonderfully brilliant and accomplished you are. Bask in the glory of the moment! You deserve it.

Make Some “Me Time”

Plan a little time off just to do some inner reflection. The amount of time is not as important as getting the respite you need. Make your time away a priority! It’s a chance for you to clear your head, gather your energy, and get perspective. Retreat to someplace peaceful where you can relax and have a break from the responsibilities of work and family. Don’t know of any great retreat places? Take your favorite book and head to a beach. Find a shady bank along the edge of a lake, creek, river, or a pond—someplace where earth and water meet. Sink into your beach chair, tune into the sounds of nature, open your book, and lose yourself in a story. Or just sit back, close your eyes, and let your mind wander. You don’t have to do anything while on your retreat—just make space for tranquility and joy to fill you.

Go Easy on Yourself

All too often, we are our own worst enemies. While it’s good to be aware of mistakes you’ve made in the past and improvements you can make in the future, beating yourself up on a regular basis is a surefire way to wind up singing the blues. In fact, self-criticism can just make you more miserable. So instead of dwelling on your past failures, focus on how and why you value yourself. This shift will make you stronger, more productive, less stressed…and, yes, happier.

Write Three Things You Love about Yourself

Do you have an inner critic who constantly reminds you that your nose is too big or your hips are too wide or your chest is too flat? Think of three wonderful things you love about yourself and write them on a card. They don’t have to be physical attributes—they could include things like “I love my compassionate nature” or “I love my ability to immediately put other people at ease” or “I love the fact that I have great inner strength.” Tape the card to your mirror, computer, refrigerator, or any other place where you’ll be frequently reminded of the gifts that are uniquely yours.

Smell Something That Makes You Happy

Smell isn’t just a fragrance; it’s a memory—think about chocolate-chip cookies baking in your grandma’s oven or a bouquet of flowers that a special date gave you. Because olfactory responses are directly linked to the emotional centers of the brain, they cause a flood of warm and fuzzy feelings that are sure to boost your mood. Find your favorite fragrance and smell it to increase your happiness.

Put Yourself First

When it comes to your life, the only person you really have control over is yourself. Other people in your life influence you and bring you happiness and joy and security, but you have no control over their choices or destinies. Of course, you love these people, and you’ll accomplish many things and make many sacrifices to help them when they are in need. But when you are in crisis, you must put yourself before anyone else. Focus on what you need to get through your situation. You may not be able to help others right now, and that’s okay—you will be there for them another time. If you spend your time focusing on others and making sure they are okay, you will be mistreating the most important person in your life: yourself.

Take Care of Your Body

Physical problems can affect your emotional state. If you are experiencing a small pain, ache, or discomfort in your body, address it now: get a massage, see a physical therapist, go to a doctor. Small physical pains can grow over time and start to affect your life in negative ways. Remove these pains from your life to create a happier emotional state.

Smile at Yourself

It may sound silly, but smiling causes an emotional response in your body that can actually make you feel happier. Smiling at other people can make them and you feel happier, but smiling at yourself in the mirror can have the added effect of boosting your self-esteem and self-love. Imagine smiling at yourself in the mirror every morning—think about what that would do for your confidence and mood throughout the day!

Give Yourself More Time

One of the biggest sources of frustration in our busy lives is being late and all the annoying distractions that can lead to that. Stuck in traffic? Missed a bus? Burned your breakfast? So much frustration and anxiety can be avoided if you allow yourself extra time to get places and to get stuff done. Wake up earlier in the morning to allow for traffic, for example—then you won’t be late for work and have your boss glaring at you all day. Pace yourself. You’ll have a more relaxed and happier day!

from Happiness Hacks: 300+ Simple Ways to Get―and Stay―Happy Copyright
© 2018 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the
publisher. All rights reserved.