How to Be Happy at Every Age
In a world where everything is quite literally at our fingertips, we can have almost anything we want instantaneously. However, the advent of modern technology and its many luxuries hasn’t made us any happier than we were in the past—it may even have created a disconnect between us. New research suggests that wealth doesn’t improve our happiness either. So if money and technology can’t lift our spirits, what can? According to a Psychology Today report, researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California states, “40 percent of our capacity for happiness is within our power to change.” Jeannine Morris—founder of health, wellness, and lifestyle site JMEdit and studying health coach—agrees. She believes you can “train your brain to think happy.” Want to learn how? Scroll down for more of Morris’s simple secrets to happiness.
Have you ever thought about how you think? Did you know that how you speak to yourself plays a huge role in your mental and physical health? According to Morris, your thoughts control your feelings, and in order to become a happier person, you need to think happier thoughts. “While it seems simple, it actually takes a lot of practice because you need to retrain your brain,” she says. “A good example that I find a lot of people can relate to is the thought or idea of not being enough—not skinny enough, rich enough, smart enough, and the list goes on.” She adds, “When you begin to tell yourself—and realize—that you are enough, you can experience abundance.” Morris explains how to train your brain to think happy on her website.
What’s the first thing you do every day before you get up? We bet that most of you reach over for your phone and check it for work emails or scroll through social media. Well, if it’s happiness you seek, Morris has a different approach. “Each morning before I get out of bed, I meditate for 20 minutes and set an intention for the day,” she notes. “Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘Today is going to be a great day.’ Starting your morning off on a positive note, with an intention, will help guide you through the rest of your day in a similar positive manner.”
We all love our pets, and a study has proven they make us happier and healthier, too. So just imagine how happy you’d be if you put yourself on the same pedestal you put your pet on. We dote on them with constant affection, only feed them the best produce, and spoil them with treats. Morris says we should mimic this behavior and treat ourselves the same way. “Your health and happiness is in your own hands,” she adds. “What are you eating? Are you making time for relationships, fitness, and pampering? Well, it’s time you did.”
This tip can be summarized in one quote by inspirational speaker and best-selling author Barbara Marciniak: “Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.” It might seem a little evangelical, but Jeannine says we (human beings) are composed of energy, just like everything around us, and “it’s important to understand that our energy (our soul) is living a human experience and can emit its own frequency.” She adds, “Too often, we pick up the negative energy of others and can easily become absorbed by it. You know the Kendrick Lamar song ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe?’ Well…”
We’re all accustomed to the usual form of forgiveness, where you excuse someone for any wrongdoing against you. But what about when you need to forgive yourself for something? Morris strongly believes this simple act is the “ultimate secret to achieving peace and happiness.” She notes, “Whether you need to forgive yourself or someone else, it’s important to recognize that until you can forgive, you’ll never be fully liberated and able to live life to its fullest.”
We’re all familiar with clearing out our wardrobes and giving our old clothing and belongings to the local thrift store, but how often have you donated your time? We understand how precious this is, but if we want to experience true happiness, Morris urges us to give back. “It’s one of the most rewarding things we can do on this earth,” she says. “We’re conditioned to think of time as money, (and in many cases… yeah, pay up!), but you have more than 10,000 minutes in a week. Taking an hour out of your schedule to help those in need is a humbling and fulfilling experience.”
We’re all a little addicted to our social feeds, but too much scrolling can impede our happiness as we start to lament over the things we don’t have, or how our lives lack the glamour or fun compared to our favorite influencers. Morris begs you to quit comparing yourself and remember that Instagram is a just a well-edited version of what’s really happening at home. “Stop spending so much time on social media platforms. Unplug and go create a life of your own,” she says.
Have you ever stopped to think about the food that’s on the end of your fork? Food is the best form of medicine—with the power to heal you from the inside out—and if we feel better, we’ll feel happier, too. “As Americans, most of us grew up not paying attention to the food we consume, and that needs to change in order for you to feel your best,” she says. “Each time you sit down to eat, look at your plate and make sure everything on it has nutritional value. Food fuels our body and keeps our systems running properly, so imagine what’s happening inside when we’re full of sugar?” Jeannine explains more about using food as medicine in her post "6 Steps to Healing Yourself."
The powerful benefits of meditation, including health and happiness perks, are well known and proven, so if you haven't tried it yet, maybe it’s time you did. “Meditation helps to relieve stress, allows the mind to explore deeper levels of thought, and clears any irrelevant thoughts, making you able to focus,” says Morris. “I practice transcendental meditation, which is 20 minutes of repeating a mantra twice a day, but even if you sit for five minutes repeating an intention, or focusing on your breath each morning, you’re helping yourself.”
There’s been a lot of buzz around gratitude and its impact on happiness, but just what is it exactly? Angela Simson of The Gratitude Project says, “It makes everything you have, all you need.” Morris believes that recognizing and expressing gratitude are very powerful activities. “Without gratitude, you’ll take things for granted, so before bed, I try to think of three things I’m grateful for that day,” she says. “I’m old school, so I like to practice journaling in an actual notebook. I like to write them down, but you can also keep a running list in the ‘notes’ section of your iPhone.”