9 things to start doing if you want to be happier

Celebrity psychologist and author Kelly Weekers shares nine simple happiness hacks that can give you a brighter outlook on life.

Looking to boost your happiness and bring more positivity into your life?

Celebrity psychologist and author Kelly Weekers says it all comes down to mindset.

She says the philosophy behind her seven-step happiness formula isn’t about putting hours and hours into it every day; it is doing the small things that actually work — making the best out of the life you have, enjoying the good, and navigating the bad as best you can.

“Our lives get so busy that we tend to forget that our life depends on perspective,” Kelly says.

“Happiness is in all of the little things, but we have to actively start focusing on them to experience the joy they bring us.”

By committing to these practices you are helping your body and mind to lean into happiness.

This is Kelly Weekers’ 9-step formula to hack your own happiness. 

1. Daily journalling

Journalling for five minutes a day — every morning and every night — is the simplest and most effective way to be happier.

It helps you practise gratitude by focusing on the good; it helps you focus on the lessons instead of faults, and on what you are proud of instead of what you did wrong.

By starting and ending your day with a few minutes of journalling, you will see a huge shift in your life — more self-confidence and a greater sense of balance, peace and positivity.

And research shows it even boosts our immune system.

2. Cold plunges

The days are long gone when we see mental and physical health as two separate domains — they are interconnected.

Therefore, to feel balanced and positive, do things that are good for both body and mind.

A cold plunge a day keeps the doctor and the psychologist away.

It takes just two minutes a day and you only need a cold tub or shower —  and you are set for a rush of endorphins, improved sleep and mood, and reduced stress.

3. A monthly challenge

A monthly challenge helps you take actions beyond your comfort zone.

It helps you face fears head on, helps you strengthen behaviours you would like to more actively incorporate into your life, and focus on the things you find important.

Think of a sleep hygiene challenge, a ”compliment a day” challenge, a manifesting challenge, a “set the bar low” challenge or a ”choosing me” challenge.

Practising something for 30 days makes it easier to incorporate into your everyday way of life.

4. Positive affirmations

Happiness is about feeling happy with who you are and what you have.

Self-confidence is an important aspect of feeling happy and content.

The easiest way to boost your self-confidence is adding positive affirmations to your day.

Write down a positive affirmation about yourself and your life daily — preferably within your journalling routine, as “habit stacking” makes it easier to commit to habits.

Repeat these affirmations out loud.

Don’t underestimate the effects of affirmations; we are very prone to listening to our inner critic and affirmations help you mute that critical voice.

Whatever we put behind the words “I am” shape who we are and, therefore, our reality.

Choose these words wisely and proactively.

5. Routines

A great morning routine sets you up for a great day.

Instead of starting the day in chaos without really knowing what to do, create a routine around it.

Always start your morning at the same time, doing the same things that benefit your mental and physical health: journalling, a cold plunge, pressing a healthy juice for yourself.

Incorporate some movement and sunlight by exercising outside or walking to work.

This works the same with an evening routine.

Instead of scrolling your night away and lying on the couch with a bag of chips, it helps to take a long shower or bath, get your journal out or read a book.

Set your phone to flight mode an hour before going to bed to enhance both mood and sleep.

6. Getting outside

Fresh air, sunlight and a long, mindful walk (without your phone) will go a long way to help you feel happier.

Walking allows you to meditate without doing it in the classic form.

It is all about activating your senses and being in the moment.

Ask yourself: “What do I see? What do I feel? What do I smell? What do I hear?”

Notice and observe your surroundings.

It helps you let go of thoughts and enjoy the here and now.

By going outside and exposing yourself to sunlight, you enhance your vitamin D intake, which may help regulate mood.

7. ‘Invite only’ social circle

You will feel a lot happier once you make sure your inner circle is filled with good vibes, love and support.

Commit to an “invite only” principle — see your life as your party and only invite people that actually help you feel your best and be your best.

You will never flourish if you stay in an unhealthy environment.

Dare to choose whom you surround yourself with and say goodbye to the people who do not have your best interests at heart.

8. Don’t wait for motivation

The thing most people get all wrong when wanting to change something in their life is setting the bar way too high and waiting for the motivation to actually do it.

They tell themselves they need to go to the gym five days a week to get fit, despite not having done a single workout for months.

Setting unrealistic goals results in feeling zero motivation to actually work on them, and you’ll end up not doing them at all.

The secret to success? It is not about doing everything at once in the best possible way.

It is about doing something small, daily, that, over time, adds up to a wonderful change.

Now everything I do is so simple, easy and — perhaps most importantly —scheduled into my day so that it is almost impossible to not do it.

Once you schedule your gym session twice a week it doesn’t matter if you feel like it; you just get it done.

In doing so you build self-trust and you will be proud that you are showing up for yourself.

9. Be your own best friend

Very often we are our own worst enemy.

To be your own best friend is to take good care of yourself; mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

You have to stop listening to your inner critic and start listening to your inner voice.

By developing a better relationship with yourself, you also develop the ability to be a better friend, partner or colleague to others.

Ask yourself: How can I help myself today? What do I need?”

And answer those questions as if you were advising your own best friend.

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Written by celebrity psychologist and author Kelly Weekers. Photo: Emma Peijnenburg.