5 Ways to Cultivate Happiness (today!)

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Are you as happy as you’d like to be? Here are 5 ways you can cultivate happiness today!

1. Choose Happiness

The first and arguably most important step in cultivating happiness is choosing to be happy. You truly will be only as happy as you choose to be and happiness can only be found within ourselves. Setting the intention to be happy daily is a great way to foster awareness around choosing the attitudes and behaviors that lend you to be happy.

2. Express Gratitude

People who express gratitude often, and acknowledge the sources of their happiness, are proven to be healthier and happier. You can be grateful for the small things in life, like your spouse emptying the dishwasher, and also the bigger things in life, like being married for 10 years. Some ways you can express gratitude are by the following: keep a journal of things you're grateful for, share three good things that happen every day with a partner or friend, or go out of your way to express gratitude when others support or help you. According to research, people who share what they are grateful for are happier than those who don’t because it naturally shifts your thinking from despair to abundance.

3. Meditate

The list of meditation benefits seems endless! Meditation helps cultivate a state of peace and calm in the mind, displacing the anxiety of the thoughts that show up about the future. It takes practice, which is why people call meditation a practice. If you’re like me, you probably think of meditation as this big audacious activity. Don’t worry! You can start small – perhaps with only a few minutes a day. Set a timer on your phone, sit down, and focus on your breathe. If you notice a thought wander into your mind, acknowledge it and let it go…as if your thoughts are clouds floating by in your mind’s eye. Meditation isn’t about preventing thoughts, it’s about being mindful of what thoughts come into your mind, not judging those thoughts, and letting them go.

4. Exercise

When you work up a sweat, you release endorphins which immediately ups your happiness levels. In fact, exercise is actually becoming a standard part of the treatment for depression and anxiety. My favorite way to exercise is outside. In my opinion, being outside in nature is great way to ground yourself and get connected to the Universe as a whole. Plus, the Vitamin D from the sun helps regulate moods – win, win scenario!

5. Practice Forgiveness

This an often-overlooked action in the process of becoming happier. I believe the most important person you can forgive is yourself. I recommend sitting down and journaling everything that you’ve ever felt guilty about or things that you simply can’t let go. Holding a grudge against yourself (or anyone else for that matter) negatively impacts your physical and mental health. By forgiving yourself, you are letting go of resentful feelings and making room for more self-love. Once you practice forgiveness with yourself, you can move onto forgiving others through the same process.

I’m curious to know how the above help you up the ante with your happiness - let me know! Happiness looks amazing on you, beauty!