Finding happiness can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. However, joy doesn't always require grand gestures or significant changes; often, it's the small, easily accessible moments that brighten our days.
BLOOM stands as an excellent complement to therapy and medication by bringing the benefits of 1:1 therapy into the home. From emotional regulation to sleep and anxiety, BLOOM has online courses that walk with you as you seek out happiness in many corners of your life.
Let’s explore five simple yet effective ways to lift your spirits and embrace accessible happiness in your everyday life.
1. The Healing Power of Sunlight
There's a certain magic in the way sunlight can instantly make our world seem a little brighter. Scientifically, sunlight boosts our mood by increasing the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. This ‘feel-good’ hormone is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Even just a few minutes of sunlight can lift mood, improve focus, and boost energy levels.
You don't need direct sunlight to enjoy the mood-boosting benefits. On cloudier days, sit by a window to trigger serotonin production. For those who find direct sunlight too intense, a brimmed hat can reduce direct exposure.
Sunlight also regulates our circadian rhythm - our body's internal clock that manages sleep-wake cycles. Circadian disruptions can negatively impact mood, so getting enough sunlight during the day helps maintain healthy sleep patterns. In turn, better sleep quality further elevates mood and well-being.
However you choose to get it, a few minutes of sunlight can provide an accessible, instant mood lift to brighten your day.
2. The Joy of Movement: Exercise and Endorphins
Moving our bodies isn't just about physical health; it stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. It quite literally gets our happy hormones flowing!
There’s also evidence that regular exercise can positively impact self-esteem. Achieving fitness goals or simply noticing improved strength and stamina can create an uplifting sense of achievement. This self-confidence boost then flows through to other areas of life.
Plus, exercise is a valuable stress management tool.
The concentration required while actively moving our bodies has a meditative quality that distracts us from worries and anxiety. Similarly, exercising dissipates nervous energy, allowing us to feel calmer afterward. Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to run a marathon or pump heavy weights but rather to move your body in ways that bring you joy and invigorate your spirit. Investigating different forms of exercise can help you discover rewarding physical outlets tailored to your individual needs and preferences.
Making movement a consistent part of your lifestyle is ideal. But on days when motivation is low, try dancing around your living room or doing a few yoga poses – even small bursts of exercise can give your mood and emotional outlook a healthy boost.
3. The Social Connection: Finding Joy in Relationships
Humans are inherently social beings, and our relationships play a pivotal role in our happiness. Whether you're an extrovert who thrives in large gatherings or someone who prefers one-on-one interactions, fostering social connections can significantly elevate your mood.
Socializing releases oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone” due to its vital role in relationship-building. Along with the mood-boosting endorphins discussed earlier, oxytocin helps explain the emotional benefits of spending meaningful time with our loved ones.
Seeking out social connections can also alleviate feelings of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection that negatively impact mental health and well-being. Whether you arrange coffee dates with close friends, plan social activities with your partner or spouse, catch up with distant relatives over the phone, or even engage in conversations online, dedicating quality time to nurture your relationships can significantly elevate your mood and outlook.
It's the quality of connections, not the quantity, that matters most when it comes to the mood-boosting benefits of socializing. Invest time in the relationships that uplift you and cut yourself some slack for needing space from those that don’t.
4. Pursuing Meaningful Activities
Engaging in activities that hold personal significance is a wonderful way to access happiness. After all, few things brighten our mood as consistently as pursuing our passions or partaking in what brings us joy.
Painting, writing poetry, playing an instrument, scrapbooking, knitting, and jewelry-making are just a few of the countless crafts and creative outlets to consider exploring. Others may find meaning through community service, activism, or volunteering for special causes close to their hearts. Whether you mentor disadvantaged youth, serve meals to the homeless, or fundraise for a charity, dedicating time to altruism provides a profound sense of purpose and connection.
The key is finding what most resonates with your values, beliefs, passions, and talents and then intentionally making time for those activities amidst the busyness of life. Experiment freely and pay attention to when you feel lit up, fully self-expressed, and blissfully transported into a state of happiness.
5. The Gift of Giving: How Helping Others Boosts Happiness
There’s profound joy to be found in giving to others.
Scientifically speaking, giving activates the reward centers in our brains, creating what’s often called a “helper’s high.” Helping meets our human need for purpose and meaning while enhancing spiritual wellness. Studies show volunteers have lower rates of depression and anxiety compared to those who don’t donate their time and energy.
Acts of generosity also strengthen relationships between givers and receivers, reinforcing our innate human connectedness. This doesn’t necessarily mean grand, expensive gestures either. Small acts of kindness (holding the door, paying a compliment, sending a card) and volunteering modest amounts of time to local charities can be deeply fulfilling. Sometimes, the simplest expressions of generosity carry the most weight.
Giving also occurs through listening attentively, offering advice, or lending emotional support to someone enduring hard times. Nurturing people positively inevitably ripples out, making the world a brighter place.
The Pursuit of Accessible Happiness
Happiness, as we've seen, doesn't have to be elusive, complicated, or expensive. It can be found in simple, everyday moments - in the warmth of the sun, through moving our bodies mindfully, by nurturing our connections, engaging in meaningful activities, and giving to others generously.
Each of these avenues offers an accessible way to tap into happiness even amidst the stresses of normal life. The key is learning what specific lifestyle tweak resonates most. Experiment to see what brings you joy, then intentionally incorporate those elements into your regular routine.
The most important thing is maintaining an open, curious mindset as you explore different happiness-boosting strategies. BLOOM can help support you and your family in the pursuit of happiness. The beauty of BLOOM’s online courses is that they can be used alongside 1:1 therapy, offering the opportunity to integrate our techniques into your home and family life. Discover our courses on Anxiety, Fear, or Self Confidence on your journey to true happiness.