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It’s that time of year again, where everyone posts things about making yourself happy and spreading the joy to others, but do you really know what makes you happy? If you ask young children they answer with things that make them happy in the short term such as a video game or a hobby or food. They might also add long term ideas such as friends or family to that list. As you get older you really start to understand what makes you happy, and some of what made you happy when you were younger won’t apply to now. Happiness is subjective and depends on the individual, but in general seeing other people happy tends to make us happy. It is an unconscious psychological reflex that if someone smiles at you, you will smile back, because we are social creatures that have a need to make others happy.

So, on this International Day of Happiness, here are a list of 6 ideas to make yourself and/or others around you happy.

  1. Meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while

Message or call your friend and arrange to meet up soon and catch-up and then actually follow through with it. Seeing them even for just an hour to catch up, can make you feel so much better. If you are super stressed with your workload, taking an hour or two out of your day to catch up and take a break will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go back to studying. It will also make your friend happy because you took the time to arrange it, and follow through with it, showing that you care and that no matter how busy you are you still have time for them.

  1. Do some exercise

When I say exercise, I don’t mean you have to go for a run or to the gym. If you are like me and you don’t enjoy exercising, then go for a walk. Research has shown that just getting up and going for a walk outside in the fresh air for 30 minutes can really have benefits on your emotions and make you happier. If you do enjoy exercising, then maybe push yourself out of your comfort zone and try a sport/activity/class that you have never tried before. By the end of it you will feel happy about pushing yourself into trying something new and maybe making new friends.

  1. Donate to a charity

When I say donate I don’t mean just money. You could donate any clothes you have that you don’t wear anymore, or any food that you know has been sitting at the back of cupboard that no-one will eat, or even time. Charities are often looking for volunteers to help them out. Some of them require a long-term commitment, but some could just need help at a one-off event, such as a marathon. Ask around your local charities and see if there is anything you could do to help. It won’t just make you feel happier, but it will also help those around you to feel happier, and an extra bonus is it will look great on your CV.

  1. Relax

We all know the basic things that help us to de stress and make us happy. For me it is doing facemasks, drinking hot chocolate and watching cheesy romcom films. For some of my friends it is going rock climbing or baking. I think that taking time out of your day or even your week to do one thing that you know helps you to relax, will make you feel a lot happier. Everyone needs a break and even if you can only give yourself an hour, then do it, it will re-ground you and make you feel more optimistic about everything going on around you.

  1. Random acts of kindness

Everyone knows about this, but do we all do it? I think it can be hard sometimes, especially when you are really stressed to remember about the people around you. A random act of kindness could be something simple though like holding the door open for someone or offering to help a teacher carry something if you can see they’re struggling. Sometimes just giving someone a compliment could brighten their day. Random acts of kindness could help make someone’s entire week and make them feel so much happier.

  1. Start a happiness journal

This one is definitely not for everyone but could be useful for when you are feeling down. You could do this in multiple ways. You could write down things that made you happy in that moment, such as a funny joke with your friend, or beating your friend at a game. Or you could write down something that makes you happy every day, which will help you to notice the small things that can affect your mood that normally you wouldn’t notice. Another way of doing this that I have seen is putting the happy memories in a jar or a box and then opening them at the end of the year and remembering all the positive things that happened.

 

So that was my list of 6 things to do to make yourself happier. There are so many more ways out there but try the ones that you think will work for you. We often forget to do things that make us happy, especially when we are stressed and have a lot going on, I know I do. But studies have shown that the happier you are the longer you live, so try and give yourself a break for at least 5 minutes a day, and do something that makes you or people around you happy.

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