77 Essential Rules Checklist: The Ultimate Guide to Happiness
Achieve Happiness Through a Healthy Body
Why not begin your journey towards happiness by creating a physical condition within yourself that is prime for finding happiness and fulfillment?
Eating the Right Foods
The food choices that you make are extremely important. What you eat impacts your body on a cellular level. Your diet influences your longevity, your overall health, your energy levels, and even your ability to deal with stress. Does this mean that you can never indulge in sweets or other treats? Of course not. You should enjoy the food that you eat. After all, food is associated with family, friends, and great experiences.
Stick to the 80/20 Rule
Try balancing eating for good health and eating for pleasure by using the 80/20 rule of eating. This means that 80 percent of the food that you eat should be food that serves the purpose of nourishing your body in the healthiest way possible. The other 20 percent can then be eaten for enjoyment.
Feel Even Better By Focusing On Plant Based Foods More Than Meat
Some people choose to take this 80/20 rule a bit further and follow a diet plan that is 80 percent plant based. Even if you don’t go this far, you will find that your health improves if your diet focuses primarily on plant based foods. When you consume less meat, you take in fewer grams of unhealthy fats, and you also improve the efficiency of your digestive system. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and legumes are also extremely important for heart health and energy.
Use Your Food Choices to Fight Inflammation
If you have already taken steps to eat a healthy diet, it may be time to take a few additional steps to make sure that your body is truly getting the most benefits from the food you eat. One way that you can do this by following an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet is just what it sounds like. You eat foods that reduce the inflammation that causes heart disease, Alzheimer’s, premature aging, and a host of other health problems. If you are worried that this diet plan is a fad, or that it will require you to give up one of the needed food groups, here is some good news. You can follow a diet that adheres to the anti-inflammatory food pyramid and get all of your recommended daily servings.
Fish Oil and Vitamin D Can Round Out Your Nutritional Makeover
Finally, for optimum health, look into adding a vitamin D supplement and a fish oil supplement to your diet. So many people are finding that they are lacking in vitamin D that many physicians are adding a check of vitamin D levels to patient’s annual blood work and other tests. Fish oil supplements are a great way to get those healthy fatty acids into your body as well, especially if you aren’t a fan of eating fish.
Natural Movement - an Intuitive And Safe Way to Get Fit
One of the best ways to get your body into shape is to move naturally. This means performing exercises where your body moves in the ways that it was meant to move. Naturally, walking is one of the most natural ways to move that there is. Lunges, squats, jumping (especially on a trampoline) are also ways to move your body in the ways that nature intended.
Integrative Exercise and 3-4 20 Minute Workouts Are All You Need
Whatever methods of exercise you select, you don’t need to worry about working out for hours at a time. It turns out that the first 20 minutes of exercise are all we need. Just three to four exercise sessions lasting about 20 minutes can seriously improve your fitness. You can also use integrative exercise to boost your fitness. This is simply finding more excuses to move while you are going about your daily routine.
Be Open Minded and Try a Bit of Laughter Yoga
You probably know that exercise isn’t solely for the purpose of making your body perform better. Exercise is also a stress reliever. Yoga, especially a variety known as laughter yoga combines the physical and mental benefits of yoga with the emotional and spiritual benefits of laughter.
Get Centered With 4 7 8 Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises should also be a part of your daily workout routine. The technique of 4 7 8 breathing can be used to reduce stress, and even produce a state of euphoria. This can help you to sleep better, and it can help you to use your breathing cycles to train your involuntary functions to work better.
Happiness Leads to Smiling but Smiling Also Leads to Happiness
Of course, not all physical activities require focus and concentration. Simply making an effort to smile more often can have a positive effect on how you feel each day.
One More Reason to Enjoy Great Sex
Finally, let’s not dismiss the power of great sex on physical and emotional health. So, get busy!
Get in Touch With Nature And Become a Happier Person
Max Out Your Happiness at 57 Degrees and 20 Minutes
57 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT IS THE IDEAL TEMPERATURE FOR HAPPINESS ALONG WITH 20 MINUTES OF SUNLIGHT.
There is no doubt about it. People who spend more time outside are happier people. Fresh air, exercise, witnessing the beauty of nature are all things that cause physical changes to the brain that indicate improved mood, lower stress levels, and more energy. Getting outside is so important to overall happiness and wellbeing. Some studies indicate that 57 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for happiness along with 20 minutes of sunlight. This is a great start, but most experts recommend at least an hour outside every day when possible. If you feel tempted to convince yourself that the weather is too extreme for going outside, you may want to reconsider. Parents in Sweden play outdoors with their children every day, even when the temperatures are quite frigid. However, if it truly is too hot or cold to go outside, try to spend plenty of time in rooms that get a lot of sun exposure. Finally, if you are prone to seasonal affective disorder, consider buying a full spectrum light to treat those symptoms and keep your mood elevated during the winter season.
Grow a Garden for Health and Happiness
One of the best outdoor activities you can indulge in is gardening. Even tending a small hobby garden will help you to reach your daily quota of outdoor time. If you grow flowers, you will have a beautiful, floral, scene to view when you go outside. If you grow vegetables and fruits, you will have plenty of healthy foods to add to your diet. In any case, you’ll get exercise and time outdoors. If you don’t have a space to grow your own garden try participating in a co-op or a community garden.
Pets Can Make You Happy and Give You Purpose
CARING FOR PETS ALSO GIVES YOU A PURPOSE, AND THIS CAN BE HELPFUL IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION
Of course, if we are going to discuss the mood boosting powers of nature, we cannot ignore our furry and feathered pets. If you’ve ever spent an hour playing fetch with a dog, petting a cat, or just watching fish swimming in a pond, you know that animals have an amazing ability to improve your mood and make you happy. In fact, this power is so great that animals are used to calm and entertain hospital patients, children in therapy, even prisoners. Caring for pets also gives you a purpose, and this can be helpful if you are struggling with depression. If you don’t have access to a pet in real life, you can get at least a bit of a lift by watching funny pet videos on television or the internet. If you wonder why this works, it is because a 75-Year Study shows that the need for love trumps all when it comes to happiness.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Small Lifestyle Changes
Never underestimate the power of small things. After all, life is basically a long series of small events, disrupted by a few major ones. If your daily life is filled with tiny sources of aggravation, stress, and inconvenience, your mood is certain to be poor. This is why it is so important, for your happiness, to take steps to ensure that your daily lifestyle works well for you.
Happy People Get Enough Sleep and They Embrace The 10 Minute Cat Nap
If you are feeling sluggish, try to squeeze in a ten minute cat nap. You will be amazed at how briefly nodding off refreshes and resets your mind.
Sometimes Adults Need Earlier Bedtimes Too
...A SMALL CHANGE LIKE GOING TO BED 45 MINUTES EARLIER COULD HAVE SUCH AN AMAZING EFFECT ON OUR HAPPINESS.
Let’s start with getting enough sleep. Because we are so connected, there is hardly a minute of the day when we cannot find something to do or somebody to communicate with on the internet. The result is that we are surfing, chatting, and watching when we should be sleeping. Then, we wake up feeling grumpy and sluggish, drag ourselves through the day only to return home and repeat the same behaviors. It’s a shame that we do that, when a small change like going to bed 45 minutes earlier could have such an amazing effect on our happiness. Try this, and you will find that you are less drowsy throughout the day and less tempted to nap if you simply sleep more.
Ditch That Painfully Long Commute - Even if It Means Living More Simply
Did you know that your commute probably has more of an impact on your happiness than you ever thought possible? Take a minute to think about that. You’ve just finished your day at work, and all you want to do is go home. Unfortunately for you, that is no easy task. You have to fight traffic, rude drivers, as your trip home turns into a stressful driving experience. Do you really want to be happy in life? Find a way to relocate either your job or where you live so that your commute is shorter. You will find that you are happier, even if you deal with a smaller home.
The Way You Look Affects the Way You Feel
Now, let’s talk about clothing. It may seem that associating clothes with happiness is a bit shallow. However, the truth is that comfort and feeling good about your appearance is very important. Depending on the occasion, a nice outfit or, conversely, a slouchy pair of pajama pants can truly make you feel great. Keep in mind that color is important as well. A yellow shirt for example is calming, while a blue shirt can help you feel professional and sharp.
Adjust Your Spiritual And Social Actions For Optimum Happiness
Here are some ways that you can nurture mind and soul to reach out to others and form positive relationships.
Take Care of Your Social Life – It is Truly Important
Socializing isn’t simply an activity that human beings engage in as a luxury. Having healthy, enjoyable interaction with other people is a need. Only food, water, oxygen, and shelter rank higher than the need for socialization.
It Turns Out That Cocktail Hour is a Great Idea
If you want to build a better social life, try to find social opportunities immediately after work. Why not wait until after dinner to socialize? There are a few reasons for this. First, once you get home, eat, and interact with your family, you’re usually ready to shut down for the night. This frequently means blowing off social plans. Socializing in the early evening is also a way to ensure that everybody is in good spirits, awake, and ready to interact.
Enjoy a Fun and Fulfilling Social Life by Joining Groups
One of the healthiest ways to socialize is to find groups of people with common interests. This allows you to do things that you love while also developing healthy relationships and making good friends.
Just be sure to find a Group or Tribe that is Supportive and Friendly
Of course, common interests aren’t the only things to consider. The groups you join should match your personality, and the people you meet should be supportive and friendly.
Socialization with Your Family is Most Important
It is very easy to see socializing as something you do with people who aren’t related to you. Think about the way that socializing is portrayed on television. How many times have you seen people eager to get out and socialize in order to get away from their family members? This is too bad, because ideally family should be seen as a source of social fun, not something to be escaped or avoided. Not everybody is lucky enough to have positive family relationships. If you do, treasure those relationships and make an effort to enjoy the company of your relatives.
Nurture Friendships and Develop New Ones
Make sure your actions communicate to your existing friends that you care. Then, be sure that you are sending out signs that show others that you are interested in becoming a friend as well.
Relationships Don’t Just Happen – They Take Work and Being Proactive
YOU HAVE TO ACTIVELY FOSTER FRIENDSHIPS WITH PEOPLE, AND TAKE A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE PEOPLE THAT YOU LOVE.
Having a great social life depends on having great relationships, and great relationships take work. You have to actively foster friendships with people, and take a proactive approach to your relationships with the people that you love. This means making an effort to stay connected even if you don’t have activities planned, taking an interest in the lives of the people you care about, and working to heal any small rifts before they become an issue. You can do this by listening, expressing yourself honestly, and scheduling one on one time with friends and family member. It is during these times when you can really get to know the people you care about, and have discussions that are more meaningful than the fun, but often shallow, talk that happens during group outings.
To be Happy Look at Happy People
Take some time to consider the people in your life who always seem to be upbeat and in a good mood. They make great role models for increasing your happiness.
Have Noticed That Happy People Are Rare Yet Effective Complainers?
You’ll probably notice that they rarely complain. This is because they know that it is usually best to let things go. When they do complain, it’s about something important. You’ll also find that their complaints are very specific and they are geared towards finding a solution. Happy people don’t whine and they don’t complain for the sake of complaining.
Money - You can’t take it With You/Might as Well Share It
Another thing you will find when looking at the life of a truly happy person is that they know how to be happy for other people. It is for this reason that they often spend money on other people, and give money to charitable causes.
Make The World a Better Place By Giving Away Compliments Freely
Finally, happy people understand that happiness is best given away. They find positive things in every person, and they take time to give out the kind of compliments that make people feel better about themselves.
Creating a Happiness Oriented Mindset
You Have to Make a Life Plan with Happiness in Mind
HAPPY PEOPLE... ...HAVE SIMPLY DECIDED TO BE HAPPY, AND THEY CREATE A LIFE FOR THEMSELVES THAT REFLECTS THAT GOAL.
Have you created a life that is optimized for happiness? You’ve probably heard the saying that happiness is a choice. This is a true statement. Happy people, as a rule, don’t suffer more setbacks and tragedies than other people. They also aren’t any luckier than the average person. The thing that sets them apart is that they have simply decided to be happy, and they create a life for themselves that reflects that goal.
You Have to Find And Work Towards Your Purpose
YOU WON’T BECOME HAPPY SPENDING YOUR DAYS DOING WHATEVER YOU FEEL LIKE.
Everybody has a purpose. The sooner you find yours and start working towards fulfilling that purpose the happier you will be. Some people confuse their purpose with their job, or with their desires. The truth is, what you do to earn a living may or may not have anything to do with your life’s purpose. Your purpose in life is also not what you like to do for fun, although it can be. Your purpose is what you can do to make a positive contribution to the world. You may be an educator, a healer, a creator, or a counselor. You may work in a field that fulfills your purpose, or your job may simply be the means to fund the work that you do. You won’t become happy spending your days doing whatever you feel like. You will be happy spending your days fulfilling your purpose.
You’ve probably received messaging your entire life telling you that you will be happy when you are a success. Success, of course, being that thing that comes to you when you burn the candle at both ends, work long hours, and prove to employers and teachers that you are loyal and hardworking. Here is the truth. That message is a lie that generations have been passing down to one another for decades. Here is the truth:
- Obtaining things and making more money doesn’t make you happy
- Making an employer and shareholders wealthy doesn’t make you happy
- Promotions don’t make you happy
- Living up to another person’s definition of success and accomplishment will not make you happy
TAKE A STEP BACK AND CARVE OUT TIME EACH DAY TO DECOMPRESS AND SHIFT GEARS.
If you spend too many hours working and not enough with your family and friends, your health and relationships will suffer. Take a step back and carve out time each day to decompress and shift gears. Your happiness and health depend on it. Live life on your terms, not what other people tell you.
Your Path to Happiness Begins Wherever You Are Right Now - So Take an Inventory
If you don’t know how to be happy in life, but really want to, you have to figure out where you are now. What are you doing that makes you happy? What are you doing that chips away at your joy? As you survey your life as it is today, you will discover that becoming a happier person isn’t going to happen through major life changes. It’s going to happen as you make small changes to increase the things you do to make you happy and rid yourself of the things that sap your emotional energy and happiness.
You’re Probably Too Hard on Yourself
IN FACT, MANY OF US SPEAK TO OURSELVES IN WAYS THAT WE WOULD NEVER SPEAK TO OTHER PEOPLE. IT IS A SHAME THAT WE JUDGE OURSELVES SO HARSHLY.
Most of us are much harder on ourselves than we should be. We spend so much time picking ourselves apart. We tell ourselves that our physical appearance isn’t good enough, that we don’t work hard enough, that we don’t save enough money, and that we haven’t accomplished enough. In fact, many of us speak to ourselves in ways that we would never speak to other people. It is a shame that we judge ourselves so harshly. Learning to be gentle with you is also the key to happiness. You have to pay attention to your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
You Need a Ritual for Each Day
The beauty of rituals is that they are repetitive and as simple or as complex as you need them to be. One thing you may remember from observing the truly happy people in your life is that they create rituals of self-care for themselves. Try to create a ritual for yourself that includes the following:
- Doing something you enjoy
- Making yourself feel physically better
- Developing yourself spiritually (reading devotional or meditating)
Confronting And Freeing Your Resentments
...RESENTMENT IS LIKE DRINKING POISON AND EXPECTING SOMEONE ELSE TO DIE...
Too many people confuse holding onto resentments with establishing healthy boundaries and expectations. When somebody has proven that they are toxic or untrustworthy, it is absolutely healthy to set boundaries. What isn’t healthy is nursing resentments and grudges. There is a great quote that says “resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” The lesson in the quote is that if you are resentful, you don’t hurt the other person, you simply hurt yourself. Even worse, you may hurt your relationship with others if your bitterness is noticeable.
Happy People Have a Rich Fantasy Life - Daydream!
Colonel George Hall was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Before he was captured, Colonel Hall was an avid golfer. As you can imagine, the conditions he lived in and the treatment he received were deplorable. Yet, Colonel Hall maintained exceptional mental health and a positive thinking during his capture and after his release. What was his secret? Every single day that he was in captivity, George Hall played a game of golf in his mind. He visualized the green, each stroke, even the walk from one hole to the next. His daydreams kept him hopeful. Imagine how happy you might be if you gave yourself permission to spend time daydreaming and visualizing the things that make you happy.
Think About Who You Need to Forgive
IF YOU ARE CHEATING YOURSELF OUT OF HAPPINESS BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT FORGIVEN SOMEBODY, TRY REACHING OUT TO THEM. THE WORSE THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS THAT YOU GET CLOSURE.
Almost everybody has somebody that they need to forgive. It could be yourself, or a loved one from whom you have been estranged. If you are cheating yourself out of happiness because you have not forgiven somebody, try reaching out to them. You may renew a meaningful relationship with a loved one. The worse thing that can happen is that you get closure.
Don’t Feed Your Sadness with Indulgences
It doesn’t matter if your treat is food, alcohol, or some other indulgence. The minute you begin indulging yourself when you are sad or otherwise in emotional pain, you start yourself down a dangerous path. When you are feeling down, try physical activity, meditation, or talking through your problems.
Everything Does Not Need to be Perfect
Happy people drop their perfectionist tendencies. You will never be happy if you cannot accept imperfection.
Complainers Are Never Happy And Neither Are The People Around Them
If you nag other people, you don’t get what you want. You simply get another resentful person in your life. Rather than nagging, communicate directly and firmly. You will get a better response and maintain positive relationships.
Your Inner Voice Matters - Use it Tell Yourself Positive Things
You will never be happy if you continually have a negative dialogue going in your mind. When you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk take the time to stop and say something that is affirming.
It Isn’t About Money
Don’t focus on money as a way to measure happiness. Focus on the richness of your life and the people in it. Remember that there are plenty of miserable millionaires.
Meditate Daily to Change Your Thought Patterns
Meditation isn’t just a technique for relaxation and memory improvement. The time you spend meditating literally creates physical changes in your brain and alters your thought patterns. This means that you can literally adjust the way that your brain works over time. Think about the retraining you can do to help yourself create a happier and more positive outlook.
Happy People Are Grateful People
Take the time each and every day to reflect on your blessings. Remember what you should be thankful for. Most importantly, reach out to people and take the time to thank them for what they have done for you.
Self-Centeredness is Both Boring and the Key to Misery
Think about the most chronically unhappy person that you know. Chances are good that this person is constantly inwardly focused. Their day has gone horribly. Somebody was rude to them. They deserved something and they didn’t get it. Not only does this drive people away, it only serves to perpetuate unhappiness.
Feeling Bad - Make Yourself Write Down Your Blessings
If you recognize yourself in the above paragraph, don’t beat yourself up. Just try to switch up your point of view. One thing that you can do is spend time reflecting on your blessings of the day. Volunteering is another way to get outside of yourself.
Go For Your Goals
Les Brown once said “Shoot for the moon. Even if you fail, you will land among the stars.” If you have big dreams and are doing nothing to pursue them, you are going to be unhappy at your core. Even if you fail, you will be happier for trying.
If You Have an Anger You Cannot Release - Try Writing it down
Sometimes letting go of anger and resentments isn’t easy. However, holding onto these negative feelings can result in an emotional explosion that can result in further anger and even shame. Use your creativity to work through anger by writing it down. This can be done through poetry, writing letters, or simply free form writing. Then, when you are done, burn the paper or bury it in the backyard, and let things go.
Let it Go - Not Just a Popular Disney Song
It’s not only important to release big resentments. You should also work to not allow the little things to get under your skin.
Approach Even the Little Things with a Sense of Passion and Purpose
Don’t wait for the big moments. There are thousands of little ones to enjoy in between. Learn to live a passionate life.
Make The Choice to be Positive
There are few situations that are going to be tragic. The rest of life is full of situations that are either going to be positive or negative, and that depends on your outlook. Find the positive and you will be much better off. Once you create that positive outlook, you make room for something even better. This thing is passion. Positive people see opportunities and passionate people use those opportunities.
Make a Plan and Stick to It
Being purposeful is great. However, pulling that off means that you start each day with a plan and sticking to it.
Stop Worrying About What Others Think
At first, other people might think you are being odd and rigid, when you start living according to your plan. Who cares what they think. When your life starts adhering to your plans, you’ll be much happier.
Don’t Ever Stop Being Curious - Learning is More Valuable than Knowing
Don’t be a stick in the mud. Nobody knows all that they know, nor have they ever experienced all they can experience. Think about it. Do you want to be the 40 year old who flops in front of the television every night, or do you want to be the 90 year old who is still traveling the world. Ask, learn, experience, and reach out to others.
Laughing at Your Mistakes is a Sure Way to Boost Your Outlook
If your attempts to learn or experience something new falls flat, this is a good time to let your sense of humor kick in.
Here Are Some Action Steps To Achieve Happiness
Image courtesy of Tales of the Wandering Souls
You’ve just been hit with some pretty intensive suggestions and instructions. If those are overwhelming, start with the following action steps:
- Reach out when you need help. Your source can be a friend or a counselor.
- Draw, color, and listen to music. Write a poem or visit an art gallery. Just create or enjoy creativity.
- Don’t be a slave to the 24 hour news cycle. This applies to social media as well. Remember this: For a happier life, give up Facebook, study says; people who took a social media break were happier than those who did not.
- Happiness doesn’t need to be hard and you don’t need deep metaphysical knowledge to attain it. Forget about profundities. They don’t lead to true enlightenment.
- Try behaving like a happy person even if you don’t feel it right away. It’s not being phony. You are simply creating an attitude that will cause reality to eventually match it.
- If you want to do something, do it. Don’t wait until you are perfect at it. Try new things and have fun!
- If you have money to spend, don’t be ashamed to use it to make yourself happy Buy that outfit. Take that vacation. Drink good wine and eat good chocolate!
- Don’t wait for other people to make you happy. You control 40 percent of your own happiness, and even more if you make the effort. Nobody is going to do this for you! Create your own happy moments!
- Once you find your purpose, take action by engaging in meaningful activities that support it. You will always be happiest when you are working towards your purpose in life and using your talents in meaningful ways.
- Set a goal to give five percent of your time to charitable organizations or to helping people that you know are in need. If you can spend 100 hours a year in service to others, you will feel great about yourself. You will also make the world a better place.
- Don’t fight the aging process. Your gray hair and wrinkles represent a lifetime of accomplishments and experiences!
- Prioritize your time so that your days are full of things to do, but now panicked and harried. You cannot enjoy your experiences if you are constantly focused on what you must do next.
- Stockpile memories by spending your money on creating new experiences. Start by planning a small trip. Your experiences will keep you feeling good long after any material items that you buy.
- Always have a new goal that you are working towards. It will bring focus to your life and allow you to be as purpose driven as you can be.
- Master a New Skill And Open up a New World. Clock making, computer programming, oil painting, or small engine repair: It doesn’t matter what. Just pick a new skill and work towards mastering it.
- Don’t let time steal your dreams and opportunities – act now. Hesitation is a real dream killer! Take a step today towards fulfilling your dreams.
- Use music to deal with stress and as a source of motivation. Every life should have a joyful soundtrack. What does yours sound like?
- Stop putting things off. If you want something, take an action step today. Procrastination is your enemy. Don’t delay your own happiness out of laziness.
- Pay yourself first by putting away at least 5 percent of each paycheck. The stress caused by financial troubles are so severe that many people consider poverty to be a form of mental illness. Save money for emergencies and for your dreams.
- Stop feeling guilty for spending money on yourself. Your needs and wants are as important as anybody else.
- Before you go to bed each night, make sure you have read something that is completely unfamiliar. This is one way to guarantee that you have completed each day having learned at least one new thing. What could be better than that?
- Sing Out Loud! Musical therapy is a great way to become a happier and better adjusted person.