Happiness can sometimes feel elusive, as if feeling happy is out of our control. Actually, the opposite is true.
Happiness is a habit.
We can choose to be happy.
Research shows happiness is a choice, but the brain has a "negativity bias." This means we are more likely to focus on our problems rather than our pleasures. Here, at SunInMe.org, we have the perfect practice to change that: the 30 Day Happiness Challenge.
It takes 30 days to make or break a habit. This challenge will help you hone your happiness skills making you more aware of what depresses or uplifts you, so that happiness becomes a daily practice.
The activities we share in the 30 day Happiness Challenge are enjoyable and easy to incorporate into our daily lives and inspired by the Eight Dimensions. This is a wholistic method that explores the most important life principles.
Beyond doing these daily activities, we suggest the attitude of Gratitude: each and every day, write down three things you're thankful for. This simple yet effective exercise trains your brain to look for the positive celebrating your life for what it is in the present moment.
So Lets get cracking and harness happiness! All it takes is one activity each day ... Enjoy!
If you want to print the 30-day plan of 'The 30 Day Happiness Challenge', we have prepared a print-friendly version in PDF format for you.
Science Daily shares new research that proves spending as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress. So, luxuriate in the great outdoors bathing in the elements - Watch the clouds, sit with a tree, smell the flowers and your sense of well being will surely improve!
Do a random act of kindness. Maybe hold open the door, help someone with their shopping, pay a compliment or even give someone some flowers. These good deeds can make someone's day and cultivate compassion.
Multiple studies confirm dancing and movement increases our levels of happiness due to the release of endorphins. Dancing connects our mind, body and soul whilst offering an emotional release. Whether it is in the privacy of your own home, in a dance class or in a club – Let go and have fun!
Learn about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness which covers the most essential aspects of life to live happily. These aspects are: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, financial, and environmental. Consider how to improve the weaker areas and commend yourself on the aspects which are strong.
Meditation is an amazing took to rewire our brain and de-stress. According to the 'happiness set point theory', we're naturally predisposed to worry and stress. Meditating regularly quiets those overactive areas of our brain strengthening the parts responsible for joy and pleasure. According to MindBodyGreen, studies illustrate that meditations shrinks the "amygdala" in our brain: a set of neurons that control anxiety and fear. Therefore, the smaller it is, the happier you'll feel.
We are what we think. And what does thinking consist of? Words. Therefore, Affirmations are an incredible tool to work our happiness muscle. Find three or more affirmations that resonate with you and practice them. To boost low self esteem, The Law of Attraction recommends, "My Heart Is Always Open and I Radiate Love".
"Clear space, clear mind" may sound cliche. However, the Princeton Neuroscience Institute verified that too much visual stimuli within view, results in those stimuli battling for neural representation. Put simply, the more clutter you can see, the more easily you'll find yourself distracted.
We all know how addictive social media can be, essentially it is designed to be addictive. Take some time away and notice how you feel.
The science of breathing stands on ancient foundations. Centuries of wisdom advise us to pay attention to our breath. Dr Herbert Benson proved its numerous positive affects on our well being. It calms the brain, regulates blood pressure, taps into the brain's emotional control regions and boosts the immune system. Most importantly, it engages the parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the nervous system's "fight or flight" response to stress.
Science Daily states that music not only affects our mood but can even change the way we perceive the world. It is a fast and fun way to feel good.
The hormone serotonin is responsible for happy moods. Healthline explains that serotonin is released when sunlight enters our retina. All it takes is twenty minutes a day, so get outside and feel the sun!
Yoga is a form of self discipline which actively cultivates contentment. Happier people do not live with less challenges. They still experience difficulties but they consciously choose contentment and they are more grateful for what they do have. Yoga helps us to embody this philosophy.
The Free Wellness Test is a fantastic opportunity to assess your capacity for happiness and it only takes 10 minutes. The questions are founded on the Eight Dimensions of Wellness making you more conscious of your unhealthy habits and motivating you to adopt attitudes that promote happiness. This test is a quick way to help you develop and maintain a healthy and positive lifestyle. Use this the link: https://suninme.org/wellness-test to take your free test today.
The Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that creative activities cause an "upward spiral" of positive emotions providing us with a powerful sense of psychological well-being and feelings that we are "flourishing" in life. Creating and expressing ourselves offers us a sense of purpose. So be creative, whether it is drawing, writing, building, making a garden or something simple like creating a playlist of your favorite songs.
Eating healthily not only strengthens and revitalizes the body and mind but can also be a lot of fun. Play with colors and textures making your meals vibrant and celebratory events.
Visiting new places creates a sense of adventure. It can be exploring a new town, a new forest or perhaps going on holiday to a new destination. When we experience new places, we rewire our brains. New experiences are key to building new neural pathways in the brain. By rewiring our brain, we become more creative and accepting of new ideas. Traveling makes us happy.
Snuggle up and watch a Movie that makes you laugh. A great movie can encourage self help and improvement.
Remember what you loved to do as a child and a write a list of these passions. Visualize these memories feeling the joy and happiness in these actions.
There are natural elements within the soil that boost serotonin levels acting like a natural mood enhancer. "Touching the soil, planting seeds and weeding, they are all positive sensory activities that make us happier", confirms Kids in the Garden author, Mary Moody.
Science Focus claims that bird watching in our local areas, such as in our gardens or neighborhoods, promotes relaxation and a deep sense of well being. It can even diminish depression, stress and anxiety. Listening to the birds deepens our sense of appreciation and brings us into the present moment.
Hugging is seriously underrated when it comes to feeling good. When we hug we release oxytocin, a chemical that scientists often call the "cuddle hormone". The higher levels of oxytocin we have, the happier and less stressed we feel. Hugging can even enhance our cardiovascular health as it lowers our baseline blood pressure, thus, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Witnessing the sun setting makes us feel more at one with nature. The beauty and awe of the sunset slows down our perception of time. According to 2012 research, participants who experienced 'awe' felt they had more time available and were less impatient. Experiencing a sense of 'awe' brings us into the present moment, researchers confirmed, "which demonstrates awe's capacity to adjust our perception of time and influence our decisions whilst making life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise."
Write a list of your positive attributes. This exercise can improve our sense of self worth and confidence. Accepting and loving ourselves is integral to being happy. Recognizing and appreciating what we like about ourselves is an important step.
The Harvard Health research shows that interaction with animals like dogs, cats and even horses can have both immediate and long-lasting impacts on our mental well-being. Psychology Today explains how it increases our levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin, is known as the "love hormone,": it is a neurotransmitter that calms our nervous system down, relaxing us, whilst also increasing our ability to trust.
When we exercise, it increases endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid. These are all brain chemicals associated with feeling happy, feeling confident, feeling capable, feeling less anxiety and stress and even less physical pain.
Podcasts and inspirational YouTube Videos are brilliant ways to educate, motivate and inspire ourselves. They can even be life changing by offering new perspectives and practical tips on how to be happy.
Making food from scratch is healthy, creative and grounds us in the present moment. It is a nourishing, homely activity that can bring people together.
Developing strong and healthy relationships with our loved ones brings happiness into our life. The stronger and deeper our relationships with our loved ones, the happier we are. The Dalai Lama said, "when we feel kindness and love for others, it not only makes others feel cared for and loved but it also aids us in developing inner peace and happiness".
Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, calls it 'The Blue Mind'. Water makes us happy enhancing peaceful, meditative states. A river, a lake, the ocean or even the bathtub! Water makes us calmer. Research has shown that being near, in, on or under water lowers stress, increases our sense of well-being and boosts creativity.
Start a journal today. Write about your emotions, track your daily habits, write down goals and list the things you really appreciate in your life right now. This will bring greater awareness to what makes you feel happy.
Congratulations on the successful completion of the challenge! This 30 Day Happiness Challenge has given you tools to feel more content, to be more mindful, and to feel more appreciation for the present moment.
After 30 days, that's not the end of your happiness journey. We hope that you will have perseverance and the will to continue to develop habits and actions that increase your inner joy, peace, and health.
Take our challenges and watch your life transform.
For more 30-day challenges at SunInMe.org check: