New Year, New You? How to be Happy in 2022

I posted this article two years ago, but it's even more important today.

What is on your list of New Year Resolutions for 2022? Do more exercise? Eat better? Stay more time with your family? Find a better career in a post-covid world?

How about to simply to be happy?

Sadly, psychologists say you can’t simply “be” happy. Happiness is an indirect consequence of our actions and the way we think. But the good news? Making even small changes to your life can make a big difference.

Here are 10 tips from Rachel Kelly, author of Walking on Sunshine, to improve your state of mind and be more happy in 2021.

Remember, you can click on any word to see the definition.

1. Slow down
We are human beings, not human “doings” but it’s very easy to forget in our crazy world. Reserve time for a night without work - defend space in your agenda to do nothing at all. A night at home can help you maintain a sense of control in a busy life.

2. Be mindful
Add a “mindful” activity to your day. This means focusing 100% on one thing. It can be any simple activity, like hand washing, for example. Slow down and give all your attention to the activity. You will soon start appreciating these small moments of quietness.

3. Follow the 60% rule
Perfectionism is an illusion, but the obsession with it is real and can have bad consequences. So, recallibrate your thinking.

 If a friendship, relationship, or work project is 60% ok, then you are doing well. Be careful, too, of these attitudes: an “all or nothing” style of life; workaholism; fear of failure; and worrying too much about the opinion of other people.

4. Feed your body
It’s a fact that the food we eat can have a direct impact on our mood and serotonin levels. So eat the good stuff, for example: green vegetables, probiotics, a little cinnamon, and dark chocolate.

5. Unplug
The strong light from your smartphone won’t help you to a deep sleep. Put your phone to recharge an hour before bedtime. Turn off the ringer. The objective is to create the best conditions for your body to feel relaxed and then sleep well.

6. Declutter
This means to tidy and remove the unnecessary. Clearing cupboards helps give you a sense of control. It can be life-changing as Marie Kondo says in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. And it gives personal value to the things you decided to keep.

7. Breathe
When things get too complicated, try the one-finger-on-the-nose breathing trick. Put a finger to the side of your nose. Then, breathe through the other side. By reducing breathing, you lower blood pressure and iniciate the body’s relaxation response. Remember this if need to control strong emotions.

8. Redefine failure
Obstacles can be opportunities and mistakes can teach so much. Don’t be so afraid of risks.

9. Exercise
Sweating, ideally in the morning before work, releases endorphins and prepares you for the day. Not enough exercise can leave you feeling slow and lethargic, so, if possible, start your day the best way.

10. Read a poem aloud
When you do this, your mental to-do list slow disappears and you start to feel calm. Focus 100% on the musical sound of the words.

Adapted from The Guardian Newspaper