If you’ve been feeling down in the dumps, you may be looking for ways to lift your mood and feel happier. Know that happiness can be achieved when you take time to examine your life and change the things that aren’t working for you anymore. It could be as simple as quitting a job that’s making you sick, leaving a toxic relationship, or just changing your outlook. Here are a few ways to get your happy back.
1. Discover what makes you happy
What makes your best friend happy may not make you happy. Remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Decide what fills you with joy and look for ways to have more of those things in your life. You can discover what truly makes you happy by volunteering or taking on a new hobby.
2. Ban toxic people from your life
Is there someone in your life who leaves you feeling depleted of energy? Take a look at the people you hang around. Are they constantly taking but never giving back? Are you often feeling anxious or even angry in their presence? It’s time for a change. You can do this by putting the appropriate boundaries in place. If the energy-sucking people in your life don’t adhere to them, let them go. While this isn’t easy, you’ll be in better health because of it. Removing these people from your life doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. Make an effort to develop new, positive relationships.
“Take the plunge and reach out, develop relationships. Buy someone tea or coffee and start a friendship. One by one, nurture the relationships that have a positive influence in your life, and be a positive influence in theirs. I’ve done this in my life, and it’s made a huge difference,” said Leo Babauta, founder of Zen Habits.
3. Don’t overemphasize the value of material things
Sure, it would be nice to have more money or a bigger house, but linking your happiness to material items will prove unfulfilling. You may be temporarily satisfied, but in a few days, months, or years, you’ll be back to square one, wishing for something else to fill the void. True happiness comes from within; it cannot be purchased.
4. Practice gratitude
Keep a journal of all of the things in your life that you are grateful for. This will serve as a reminder of what is actually going well in your life. Even when a lot is going well, it is very tempting to only focus on parts of your life that are crumbling. Don’t let the aspects of your life that are falling apart make you fall apart. Don’t let what is happening to you become part of you — learn to separate the two. You are not your situation.
Look at this journal whenever you feel down or if you just need a quick boost. Before you know it, you won’t have to remind yourself to write down what you’re grateful for; thanks will just flow naturally. Furthermore, the Journal of Happiness Studies reports that journaling can result in an increased sense of well-being, decreased feelings of sadness, and increased happiness.
5. Get therapy
Sometimes no matter what you do, you just can’t rid yourself of a prolonged, overwhelming feeling of sadness. That’s when it’s time to seek assistance from a mental health professional. A licensed clinical social worker, psychiatrist, or psychologist can help. You can find an experienced therapist when you visit Psychology Today’s online directory.