I had no idea back when I was 14 years old that a counselling session I despised going to would transform my life forever. This counselling session introduced me to journaling, which would become one of my first happiness rituals – and one that would forever change me, and my course in life, for good.
If it wasn’t for my earliest diaries, I have no idea where I’d be today. But I’m certain that, if not for my first happiness ritual, I wouldn’t have the handful of daily happiness practices to share with you today.
You may be feeling depressed or sad or anxious right now, and maybe you are going through a hard time. If you are, know that it will get better – but you have to participate in the manifestation of your own healing, transformation, and happiness.
Happiness is something you have to work towards every single day, and here’s how I suggest you do it:
- Start a daily journal. You don’t have to call it a diary if you think that’s lame, but you should keep a daily journal. I prefer to write in my journal before bed. Sometimes I write only one page, and other times I write three or four. Coming from someone who literally transformed their life with a diary-keeping practice, take it as the truth: daily journaling is incredibly powerful.
- Wake in the morning with gratitude. You know when you wake in the morning, feeling depressed, and your first thoughts are how terrible you feel or how empty your life is? Or maybe when you were going through the angry phase of your break up, and the very first thought in the morning would be something like That piece of sh–! Well, as it turns out, this very first thought will set the pace for your emotions that day. Before you even get out of bed in the morning, say to yourself I’m sooooo grateful for today. I’m soooo grateful to be alive.
- Get the 5 Minute Journal. This can replace your daily journaling, if you so insist, and can even act in lieu of your first thing in the morning gratitude thoughts, but I really recommend doing the 5 Minute Journal in addition to both. It’s really great, and I particularly love the affirmations and intentions sections.
- Meditate. Daily is ideal, but if you struggle with this, which I can admit I do, aim to meditate for 5-10 minutes at least 3 or 4 times per week. You can use an app like Calm for guided meditations if you have the tendency to snooze when you go into a deep meditative state. I personally like to switch up my meditating from focusing only on my body “body scan,” to focusing only on my breath, to actually visualizing the things I wish to accomplish… depending on how I feel.
- Smile at strangers. This is essential to happiness, I swear. If you get really good, you can even venture to spark up conversations or start doing random acts of kindness. But I personally find that simply focusing and making it a point to smile at strangers I pass on the street everyday increases my sense of well being significantly. Suddenly I start to notice people smiling at me, and magical things start to occur. A smile is kind, and you just don’t know how a simple smile can change someone’s day.
- Repeat your mantra. My mantra changes depending on which area of my life I want to work on, but one that always remains constant and helps me through moments of anxiety is really very simple: Everything will be okay. Make sure you repeat this to yourself the moment you start to notice your emotions going down hill.
- Keep an affirmation or vision board. We all have goals in life, but too often, we put them on the back burner or don’t make consistent enough effort to see them materialize. I’m a strong believer that making things come true is a lot more about focus and attention than hard work and labor, and I have accomplishments in my life to prove it. But, you’ll believe it a lot more once you see it for yourself. Write an affirmation, in the present tense, about yourself in the you you wish to become and tape it up on your wall where you can read it daily. Or, if you want to get more creative, make a vision board, and look at your “dream life” everyday – not with envy, but with excitement!
Know that, wherever you are and whatever you are going through, happiness and emotional abundance is your absolute birth right. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work for it. Do the work… I promise you, it’s so worth it.