Cultivate some happiness

Young woman standing with a bicycle

Ahhh, spring! It’s the perfect time for planting. But gardens aren’t the only thing to grow now. You can also sow the seeds of happiness—which is easier than you might suspect.

Studies show that some fairly simple habits can help you be more upbeat and happier overall. Here are four key ones:

Practice being grateful

Make it a point to regularly count your blessings—large and small, from a friend who helped you during a difficult time to the food on your table every night. Also, write down the good things that happen to you in a gratitude journal. It’s a powerful happiness booster.

It’s good for your mental health to remember that there’s often something positive hiding in negative situations. Ask yourself: Have I grown? Did I discover new strengths? What do I need to learn?

Connect with others

Nurture your relationships by spending quality time with people you care about. Loving, caring friends and family are a huge source of happiness in our lives. Also, offer sincere praise to your friends, family and professional colleagues.

In addition, you’ll feel happier boosting others. Think of the things you admire about the people closest to you—and tell them. You’ll spread happiness and appreciate your relationships even more.

Make sure to surround yourself with happy people. Good moods are contagious. So make an effort to seek out content folks.

Help others and live a life of meaning

Volunteer for an organization you believe in. People who help those in need and give back to their communities tend to be happier than those who stay on the sidelines.

Check out the volunteer opportunities at The American Heart Association and Operation Food Search.

Look for ways to be more giving. This can be as simple as letting somebody else get that close parking space or smiling at a co-worker who’s having a rough day.

Play to your strengths

The happiest people build their lives around activities that allow them to use their strengths—whether that’s a talent like singing or a love of learning—for the greater good.

Write, create, dance, collaborate – whatever you do best, just make sure you’re doing it. Your good mental health depends on it.

Sources: HelpGuide; Mental Health America

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Lisa Finn