Ask Away Blog: How To Work on Being Happier in Just 21 Days

How To Work on Being Happier in Just 21 Days

Friday, December 13, 2019






Happiness is a word that gets thrown around pretty heavily whether it’s with inspirational quotes, advice from your life coach or therapist, or you make the realization yourself that you just need to and want to be happier. I get it, life isn’t roses and butterflies and it shouldn’t be because the tough times are what make us stronger and help us grow as a person. Before you roll your eyes at this post, just hear me out! I will also post at the end of this and tell you how I transformed my own life this way which is why everyone’s always like “you’re always so positive!”. Yea, I am, and it’s easy now.

It takes 21 days to make something a habit right? Well, with a little teeny bit of practice every single day, you can help encourage your brain to re-wire itself to find the positive aspects of things every single day. Of course I am not saying “If you’re depressed, this will make you happier!” and personally I hate when people say that crap. If you struggle with some depression or anxiety issues, please seek professional help or counseling and consider medication. These tips are not a solution to that type of thing but if you are suffering and receiving the right care, they can help you improve the way you think about things.

So how in the heck can we work on being happier and more optimistic? Here are some tips that you can work on one at a time. Slow and steady wins the race, I promise. Pick one practice, do it for 21 days, then add a second practice into your routine and do that one for 21 days, and so on.

Daily Gratitude Exercise

Yea, yea, you’re probably thinking it’s lame AF but again, hear me out. Every morning, for 3 solid weeks, commit to either saying out loud or writing down 3 things that you are grateful for. And you can not repeat any. Every single day must be 3 NEW things. By doing this you are teaching your brain to search for the good aspects of daily life. It can be as little or as big as you want. You can do this when you’re eating breakfast, driving to work, or when you first get to your desk. Seriously, do it. It will become easier as you go along. At the end of the 21 days you can keep going with it (since it may be natural for you at this point) or you can work on another one of the tips I’m giving you.

Good Moments Journal or Jar

To follow upon that last tip, I even have a jar that I place a tiny piece of paper in every time something good happens to me (I shoot for one thing a week) and on New Year’s Eve I read over all the things I wrote down, and I reflect upon how good my year actually was. Too many of us only remember the bad, and have you ever noticed how almost every single year we can say “this was a tough year”. Doing this forces you to see the good. I will write down little things like maybe I couldn’t find something around the house and when I found it, I discovered a $10 bill on that same coat pocket. I almost make the notes little stories so that by the time I read them all it’s like I’m reading various short stories from my year.

So either journal for 3-5 minutes each day, use the voice to text in your phone, or type it up on the computer and print it out. Add it to a journal or a jar.

Take a 2 Minute Breather

I hesitate to refer to this as meditation because too many people feel pressure by that word. So do this…. For 2 minutes, close your eyes and just pay attention to your breathing. If you’re at work, head to the bathroom, lock yourself in a stall and do it. Do it in the shower, before you exit your car at the end of the day after driving home from work, or before you go to bed. Just take 2 minutes to stop and just chill out. Do this without checking your phone, interacting with another person, or watching TV. Just stop and exist for 2 minutes. You can up it to 5 minutes if you want. It’s kind of a mental break and it helps you stop getting so overwhelmed and worn down that you get negative and irritable.

MOVE for 15 Minutes A Day

Exercise is a great antidepressant and yes just a brief walk can qualify as exercise. Have a break at work? Take a lap around your building. Take an evening walk with your dog or just go up and down the stairs in your home a bunch of times. Do something that gets you a little out of breath, even if you don’t break a sweat. Cardio has a great affect on your brain. We are so sedentary anymore. Back in the day, we had to constantly move. We woke up, washed laundry by hand, harvested our meals for the day, and swept the house with a broom. Now, everything is so robotic or automated we barely have to lift a finger. No matter how lazy you feel, just move for 15 minutes. That’s all. If you do it every day for 21 days I bet you it will be easy to keep up with it beyond that.

Practice Kindness Once a Day

This is something that really will change you I promise and I swear by it because I did it and it worked for me. Be kind to someone whether it’s a friend or stranger at least once a day. I mean go out of your way (kind of) to do it. Reply to an email thanking the person for always being so helpful, compliment a coworker’s outfit, text a close friend and wish them a great week, or let someone jump in line in front of you at the convenience store. It can be as big or as small as you want. It is the most effortless thing to do I promise. I mean honestly, how hard is it for you to say “I like your dress” to someone you pass in the hall? And honestly, you don’t have to obsess over the dress, just SAY IT. It will brighten that person’s day, if only for a moment, and it’s contagious which means they likely will compliment or be kind to someone shortly after, and so on and so on. I mean seriously people, this can be as easy as leaving a sweet comment under someone’s photo online.

Everyone is all about making this world a better place but guess what?! You don’t have to volunteer, donate money, pick up trash every day, or stop using plastic straws (although it’s a good way to help the Earth) to do it. Just start being kind to other people. It will raise our vibrations as a whole.

How I Did It

Years ago I was grumpy AF. I may have hidden it from the world, but inside I was bitchy, aggravated, resentful, and negative ALL THE TIME. I read a few books about happiness and then I practiced some new habits for 21 days. That’s all. It was mindless stuff, really. I started complimenting my coworkers more and greeting everyone that came to my desk with a smile instead of an annoyed blank face. I started walking away from my desk once a day and making a quick lap around the building or in the parking garage. Years later, I started my Good Things Jar, and I say 3 things I’m grateful for out loud in my car on the way to work or while I sip my coffee at home. I stopped consuming news that made me aggravated. I know what goes on in the world, trust me, but I don’t dwell on it or obsess over it. My Facebook algorithm is actually filled with nothing but funny memes, uplifting dog posts, and horoscopes anymore. Life is good.

Beyond the 21 days…

There are plenty of things you can do beyond these first 3 weeks that will make you even happier.

Forgive

Resentment is so unhealthy and many of us can get really petty and don’t want to forgive others. I am telling you now, let that shit go (obviously super heavy stuff it more justified but who cares if the driver cut you off just now). Let it go. LET IT GO!!!!! It does not serve you at all to hold grudges or hold on to resentment.

Meaningful Down Time

This is something I still need to work on myself. When I have down time, I decide to be lazy and sit on the couch and just consume reality TV. But I’ve been working on putting a stop to that. I will engage in more meaningful activities in my downtime. Instead of binge watching TV all night, read a great self development book, journal, work on manifesting great things for yourself and be productive.

Value Friendships

Make it a point to check in with your closest friends weekly. I used to think it’d be easy to do this daily but life happens and sh*t gets busy. But I literally put it on my to do list each week to check in with each of my closest friends and just see how they are and what’s going on in their life lately. When you nurture relationships they grow and the relationships you take care of WILL enrich your life, I promise you that.

I hope you’ve taken something away from this post and I hope you come back at the end of 21 days to let me know how it went!!

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