If this year has felt like a rollercoaster, you’re not alone. Actually, a recent survey from the University of Chicago found that happiness among Americans had fallen to a five-decade low.
But don’t get stuck in all the yuck. Start filling your days with joyful little nuggets and soon your new, positive mindset will no longer be something you have to practice—it will become second nature. Here are a few ways you can find more joy in all aspects of your life (yes, even in a pandemic!) and the best part is, you can start today!
Start small. Make a list of what brings you joy each day. Is it that first sip of coffee in the morning or maybe it’s the feeling of your favorite slippers? Pay attention to these seemingly small moments and acknowledge how they brighten your mood—you may start to see happiness in all that you do.
Move it. You don’t have to work up a big sweat to get the benefits of exercising. A study from the Journal of Happiness Studies found that people who worked out for as little as 10 minutes per week tended to be more cheerful than those who never exercise. So be where you are and enjoy movement that feels good to you, from walking the dog and yoga to dancing, and a HIIT workout.
Help out. Simply holding the door for someone or picking up something they dropped will bring a smile to their face—and yours. You can take this a step further by volunteering your time at a local organization that helps those in need.
Get Creative. Have you ever wanted to learn to play the guitar? Or try out a pottery wheel? Creativity is a wonderful source of self-expression, even if you don’t fancy yourself an artist. So go ahead, schedule that paint night, pick up a coloring book, or take a floral arranging class—you’re going to love it.
Go outside. Being in nature can help soothe thoughts that may be running wild in your mind. Take a deep breath and notice your surroundings, see how the trees sway, how the clouds move, and how pretty your neighbor’s garden is—you know the one you’ve walked past a million times and never noticed. This mindfulness practice can calm your nervous system and bring you a bit of peace in your day.
Give thanks. Expressing gratitude is always a mood booster. Try counting your blessings each day, you may be surprised to see how much you have to be thankful for. And be sure to tell others that you are grateful for them too—write them a note or post on social media about a way they’ve helped you.
Eat well. Each meal is an opportunity to make space for more joy, pleasure, and connection in our lives. Bring everyone to the table with something they will love, like Popeyes’ new chicken nuggets. Cooked up fresh, these 100% white chicken pieces are seasoned to perfection and hand battered in a buttermilk coating—they are delicious little bites of joy that will inspire any gathering.