Ask ten people what you need to do to live a happy life, and you’ll get ten different answers. Although it can be difficult to figure out a path to happiness, let alone actually achieve it. A few simple tweaks to your daily life can help you feel significantly more satisfied. Here are five things you can do to raise your individual level of happiness.
Make Your Bed
1. Make your bed. According to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, making your bed is one of the most effective ways to boost your daily happiness. Why? Maybe because making your bed can make your whole room look more orderly. Or because it feels good to start your day with a sense of accomplishment, no matter how small. Maybe because it’s nice to settle into a neatly-made bed at night. Whatever the reason, making your bed is quick and easy, so why not try it for two or three weeks and see what it does to your mood?
Get A Plant
2. Get a plant. The presence of a plant makes workers more productive, patients less anxious, students more likely to show up to school – it’s amazing how big a boost humans get from just being around a houseplant.
Master A Skill
3. Work on mastering a minor skill. Author Robert Twigger has found that becoming excellent at something small can have a big impact on your happiness. The trick is to pick a very minor skill, such as making an omelet, so you can celebrate small victories and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Twigger calls this micromastery and says that it can help defeat pessimism and restore a childlike sense of joy in learning.
4. Unplug. You don’t need to give up your gadgets completely, but if you’re like most Americans, reducing your screen time is likely to improve your quality of life. When you’re using your phone and computer less, not only are you more present for the people around you, but you can also free up more time for micromastery – it’s a win-win! When you start gravitating toward a screen, ask yourself whether what you’re about to do is actually going to be productive or satisfying – if not, find something else to do. Set limits for yourself, and maybe even try apps and extensions that will kick you off of websites like Facebook and Buzzfeed. Try this for a week or two and then evaluate how you feel.
Keep A Journal
5. Keep a gratitude journal. Reflecting on things you’re grateful for makes you pause and think about the good things in your daily life. Studies have shown that writing down these reflections can have a positive impact on long-term happiness. While many people swear by the daily use of a gratitude journal, the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley says that gratitude journals may work better when you use them less often. Experiment to see what frequency works for you. The important thing is to cultivate a more appreciative mentality that will help you recognize and rejoice in the good aspects of your daily life.