Want to make 2018 a year to remember for a long time? The world today is in a perpetual turmoil. It can seem really hard to stay calm and happy most of the time. With so much tragedy our lives, how can you remain happy this new year?
Here are twenty-one simple tips to try and become calmer and happier in 2018.
21 Ways to be Happy and Calm
1. Exercise regularly
This is probably on your New Years’ resolution list every year. But this year, really do try to exercise from frequently. The reason is that it really does make you feel better. Exercising helps release endorphins. It also gives you energy. Both these are extremely useful in making you feel both healthy and happy.
You don’t need to sign up for heavy duty exercising. Figure out how much exercise you need and what can fit into your daily routine without much effort. You can go for runs or work out at home. If you want, you can even hit the gym few days in the week. Whatever it is you decide on, make sure you do it regularly. Only then will it be effective.
2. Find a friend to support you
Research has shown that people who work out with a partner or a friend are more likely to stick to their goals. Exercising or even going on runs with a friend can make it seem less tedious. This makes it more enjoyable and you start to look forward to it.
Find a friend who is ready to work out with you regularly. Set mutual goals and milestones in your exercise regime. This will help provide motivation to both of you to continue. Doing exercises together can also help you bond with your friend. This will also make you happier.
3. Make an effort to eat healthy
Junk food might provide you with the sense of instant gratification. However, they can actually make you feel much worse. High sugar and fat content in junk food can cause you to become unhealthy, no matter how much you exercise.
This new year, provide your body with positive and good nutrients that will have you feeling more energetic. Avoid negative foods that are high on calories and sugar. However, you don’t need to go on an extreme change in your dietary habits. Try to consciously eat healthy and it will show its effects. Don’t begrudge yourself the occasional treats!
4. Spend more time outdoors
Being outdoors is a great way to make yourself feel happier. Even if you have a busy schedule, you can easily integrate some outside time into your daily routine. Enjoy nature by running in the park or simply catching up with friends in a place where you can relax.
In stead of a coffee shop or a restaurant, you can meet your friends in parks or other places of natural beauty. Try to read your book in the backyard instead of being inside the house on your couch. If you are interested in hiking, you can plan a short trip with your friends. This will rejuvenate your senses and make you relaxed and calmer.
5. Express more gratitude
Being grateful for the good things in your life is a great way to help you feel more positive. When you are feeling positive, you will be happier and more relaxed. Expressing gratitude for things is a proven way to help make you feel better. It has been seen to increase happiness levels.
Make small but conscious efforts to be grateful about things that make you feel lucky. Remembering the positive aspects of your life can help you feel happier and more content. Every day, make the effort to write down the three things that make you feel grateful for in that day. Doing this at the end of everyday will help you see the good things in your life. This has been shown to improve the way you feel about your life and yourself.
6. Find time to spend with the people you love
Being around people who make you happy will most definitely make you feel happier and more relaxed. This new year try being around people that you love. This will help you feel more positive and relaxed.
Try to minimize the time that you spend with people that don’t make you feel too good. It can be people from work, or anyone else. Make yourself more available to the people who you love being around. Find time in your schedule to meet with friends often. Soon you will find yourself feeling more relaxed and positive.
7. Acquire a new skill
This can be anything that you have been meaning to learn for a while. The sense of accomplishment and progress that you get from learning something new is a great way to feel more positive. It can be something as basic as learning to drive or learning a new sport.
A new skill will take you out of the monotony of your daily routine. It helps provide motivation and excitement in your life. You can learn how to play the guitar or some other musical instrument. You can learn a new language, whatever it is that you want to learn. Give yourself a tangible goal that you can work towards. As you achieve it, you will feel happier and proud of yourself.
8. Stop worrying about what others will think
Worrying about the opinion of others is one of the key reasons for unhappiness and negativity in our lives. When you start worrying about what others will think about you, you automatically stop enjoying the present moment. Not only does it ruin your future happiness, you also ruin your present.
Worrying about the reaction of others doesn’t help you do anything productive either. In fact, it hampers you from realizing your full potential. This new year, resolve to do what you want to do, regardless of what you fear other people might think of those actions. The people who love you the most, will love you for who you truly are.
9. Keep a journal
Recording your thoughts and feelings is a great way to reflect on your inner self. It will help you understand the problems you are facing. Putting pen to paper will help you define what it is that is bothering you. Jotting down negative thoughts can also help clear your mind. If you do it regularly, it can help you become calmer.
It doesn’t have to be all negative thoughts and emotions either.You can also maintain a gratitude journal, where you write down the things that you are grateful about. By the end of the year, you can reflect on all the things that are positive in your life and feel happier.
10. Smile more
Smiling more often can actually triggerpositive associations in your brain. This sparks the feeling of happiness. Smiling more will also take minimal effort on your part. It also makes you come across as a warm and friendly person. This will automatically make people feel more relaxed around you.
Smiling more often will also draw more people towards you. You can even attract potential new partners and friends. Making new friends will give you a sense of well being and happiness. Making the effort to smile more often will send your brain the signal that you are happy, and hence make you feel better.
11. Don’t try to control others’ behavior
The only person whose behavior you can control is your own. Trying to control the behavior of the people around you will not make you happier. Understanding this is a great step to stopping yourself from being frustrated and angry when others don’t follow what you expect them to do.
This new year, stop trying to control the behavior of the people around you. This includes your children and friends. As a parent, you can plan what you can expect along with the related consequences. Learn how to communicate about their behavior in a way that is not controlling.
This sounds like a cliché, but it is actually quite effective. Meditation has been proven to be able to increase your happiness. All you need is five minutes of meditation in a day. Focus on your breathing. You will soon find yourself becoming calmer and more relaxed.
Within a week you will see a marked difference in yourself. Meditating will help you feel more focused and bring you positive energy.
13. Take a break from media
There is too much negativity and alarming statistics available on the news and other media these days. Prolonged exposure to negative news can cause a great deal of stress to you emotionally. On the one hand staying updated on the latest happenings around the world is a good idea.
However, if you feel that too much exposure to media is causing you to become stressed, then it is alright to cut down a bit. You can even take a small break from it and focus on other things that make you happy.
14. Learn to love yourself
Being overly critical of yourself is a great disservice that you do to yourself. It is okay to evaluate yourself now and then. However, to constantly think poorly about yourself will make you feel deeply unhappy and dissatisfied. This can lead to a lot of negative sentiments that people are faced with in regard toself-image.
Instead of trying to be someone that is acceptable to everyone, try to love yourself for who you are. Try to be at peace with the decisions and choices that you have made. They may not be all the right ones, but that is okay. Understand where you stand in your life and aim towards achieving a better version of yourself.
15. Invest in experiences, not material possessions
Retail therapy can only offer momentary pleasure. However, studies have shown that more and more people are inclined to spend their money on experiences. Dr. Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University, found that the assumption that people prefer to spend money on material things is not true.
This is because experiences tend to have a more lasting impression than material possessions. These have a stronger influence on your state of happiness. In 2018, try to invest more in experiences. These don’t need to be big breaks and holidays. You can start with small experiences that make you happy. These will not only help you feel happy in the present but will also trigger happy memories in the future.
16. Learn to forgive more
Holding on to a grudge can be very dangerous to your inner peace and calm. It is like a hot coal that burns you from inside. It can make you angry both externally as well as internally. Taking offence to every small thing can cause a great deal of negativity and stress in your life.
Learn when it is okay to let go off a grudge. Constantly plotting for revenge or ways to get back at someone who has slighted you will only make you ruin your present moment. You may end up getting your revenge, but it will not leave with anything pleasant to remember later on. Forgiveness both for other and yourself is important to stay happy and calm.
17. Be kind to others
Try to do something good for someone without expecting anything in return. Performing random acts of kindness towards strangers or even people you know will boost your mood. It doesn’t have to be something big. Start with something as small as holding the door open for someone.
A study published in the Journal of Social Psychology showed that showing kindness to other people can make you happy. This happiness is far more than the happiness that we can feel by indulging ourselves. You can even choose to donate to a charity or a cause that is close to your heart. Compassion and empathy can help you feel happier and at peace with yourself. Moreover, people will also be the same towards you.
18. Get your finances in order
Disorderly finances are one of the greatest causes of stress and unhappiness for people. Focus on getting your existing debts cleared before you take out any more. This is especially true for those of you who are using credit cards. Seeing your credit card bills can cause you to become stressed.
That is why it is very important to set yourself limits when it comes to shopping or using your credit cards. Set yourself realistic budgets that won’t make you become suddenly frugal. It is also a good idea to have a personalized financial plan drawn up by a professional. This will help you set your financial goals and also to re-evaluate your current spending habits.
19. Learn to say “No”
This is one of the most important and easy way to become happier and calmer this new year. Understand that you are only human, and it is okay for you to say no to things. You don’t have to say yes to everything that is asked of you. Be it at work, in a relationship or with your family. Saying yes to everything will wear you thin and ultimately cause you to become stressed.
This stress will also reflect upon your different relations and performance at work. Instead, choose those experiences that are meaningful and purposeful. Choose to say yes to experiences that are connected to your genuine desires. At work, it is okay for you to delegate your work and also to ask for help with projects. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. If you feel it is becoming too much for you to handle, just say “No”, and be firm in your stand.
20. Cut down on your alcohol consumption
It might seem like a good idea to unwind with a glass of wine after a long day at work. However, binge drinking regularly or on every weekend is not such a good idea. The hangover caused by heavy drinking is not good news for your mental health. It is also not good for you physically.
The subsequent low that follows a binge drinking episode can even lead to anxiety in many people. It can make you more anxious and in turn lead you to drink more. A research conducted by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, shows positive relation between alcoholism and anxiety.
21. Spend less time on social media
There are many benefits of social media. It helps us stay connected with our friends and family. It also helps us get in touch with old friends and acquaintances. However, there are many trappings of this as well.
There is a constant pressure of measuring up to your peers and what they are doing. You feel that you are lacking the good experiences that they are having. You feel the need to constantly project an external image that is in keeping with the rest of your friends. This causes a lot of stress and unhappiness in us. Spending less time on social media will help you get rid of this negativity and be happier about your life.
Staying happy is something that you need to achieve by yourself. You need to work towards it by eliminating the negativity and toxic experiences that stress you out. Understand what makes you happy and work towards these goals and experiences. If you feel you are unable to cope with the stress, you can give therapy a try. Taking professional guidance with your mental health is a good step towards becoming a happier and calmer person in 2018.