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13 simple ways to find it in your life




Father and daughter with a kite.
Father and daughter with a kite.

“It takes very little to live a happy life; it is all within you, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

“Since you get more joy from giving joy to others, think carefully about the happiness you can give.”
Eleanor Roosevelt


When you think about it, you often think about the future in some way.

The dream vacation that’s coming up, the promotion you’re working towards, the baby on the way or the sixth date with someone new in your life.

But happiness also lies in the little things of an ordinary day.

So look for it there today. Take a few minutes and apply one of the tips below and see how it brightens your day.

1. One minute appreciation.

Take a moment, sit down and think about what you appreciate and love about your partner.

Or a friend or family member. Or yourself.

This will fill you with gratitude and shift your focus to the positive side of things.

2. Express your appreciation.

Tell your partner, family member or friend what you have come up with.

It will brighten his or her day.

And when his or her face lights up with a big smile, you will feel happier too because emotions are contagious.

3. Take 5 minutes to see how you can help someone.

Offer practical help, good advice, find something for him or her, be encouraging and supportive or simply offer a listening ear.

4. Take it easy for 3 minutes.

Walk and move more slowly for just these few minutes. Let your thoughts slow down.

Use the 3 minutes to enjoy what is happening all around you.

Really take it in with all your senses.

There is a lot of simple wonder that we miss every day because we are so preoccupied with our thoughts and plans for the future.

After these 3 minutes are up, you can continue at a slower pace if you wish.

5. Be the smile you want to see in your world.

Smile more at the people you meet and you will get more smiles in return.

You feel better. They will too.

And they’re likely to smile more at the other people they meet that day.

So don’t wait for other people to smile more, but instead be the smile you want to see in your world.

6. Make someone else happy.

Don’t stop at just smiling.

  • Give someone a big hug.
  • Give him or her a small or larger gift.
  • Cook their favorite food when they’ve had a bad day.

7. Start your day by setting a low bar for happiness.

As you open your eyes and wake up to a new day, say to yourself:

“Today I will keep the bar for happiness low.”

I’ve been using this for a while and it makes the ordinary day happier. I take fewer things for granted – like my food, the weather, the small gestures in my world and the little moments – and often pause to appreciate them more.

And it does not make me passive in terms of actions.

Instead, I feel more inspired and motivated and the inner resistance decreases.

And so I get more important things done.

8. Be the day you want to see.

Don’t wait for someone else to create the day you want to have.

Instead, let the ball get rolling.

Take action and take the first small step or steps forward:

  • Organize a movie night when it rains.
  • Take an early morning walk or run to boost your energy levels for the day and week.

9. Say yes to something new.

Something you haven’t eaten before. A new song or album. A new author or film. A new sport. A new way of working or through your city.

By actively going beyond the boundaries of what is normal for you or your comfort zone, you will often discover new, wonderful things in life.

This will bring happiness into your life and in my experience, if you develop this habit, it will also make it easier to step outside your comfort zone in bigger ways.

10. Say no to something you have to.

Things in life can really drag down that happiness and energy, making everything feel like hard work.

But should you do all those things on your to-do list?

Or maybe you’re stuck in a rut and just doing some of those things out of old habit?

Ask yourself one of my favorite questions:

Will this still matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks?

Zooming out like this makes it easier to see the real value of doing something.

To see it for what it really is.

And so asking questions makes it easier to just relax and say no to something because you realize it’s not that important after all.

11. Take a 2-minute laughter break.

Few things bring happiness and relieve stress as easily as laughter. So:

  • Rewatch one or two of those little video clips that always make you laugh.
  • Go to your favorite funny comic online or on your bookshelf.
  • Listen to a podcast or a stand-up show that you know you find funny.

12. Do what you think deep down is right.

Instead of letting quick and judgmental words come out of your mouth, be understanding.

Instead of snacking, eat a piece of fruit or drink a glass of water.

When an impulse inside you wants you to do something that you know deep down is not good for you, pause for a moment.

Be quiet for a few moments. The impulse will pass.

And you can more easily choose to take the action you think is right in this situation.

Then appreciate that you did the right thing, give yourself a pat on the back and see how good it all feels. Keep doing this and you will help yourself build stronger self-esteem.

13. Take a moment, close your eyes and just enjoy the winter sun.

I did it today and it was great.

This one might work best if you’ve had a rainy fall and a winter full of gray skies in recent months.