July 21, 2017 6:00 am
Updated: July 21, 2017 9:04 am

How to be happy: 6 secrets of living a fuller life

Experts say, to start, write a list of things you are grateful for.

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In a world where everyone is trying to find some kind of happiness, experts will tell you (as cheesy as it sounds), happiness truly comes from within.

“Many people think if they get a new job, if they are in a perfect relationship or [if they win] the lottery, it will make them a happier person,” says life coach Christina Jay of Toronto. “The bottom line is that happiness comes from within and you cannot expect something outside of yourself to be happy.”

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READ MORE: Can money buy happiness? It depends on who you are and how you spend

What science says about happiness

There have also been countless studies that have tried to figure out exactly what makes humans so happy. One Harvard study, in 2015, found people who were happy chose to be happy, while spending time strengthening close relationships, as well as taking care of themselves financially, physically and emotionally.

Business Insider reports, one study found 40 per cent of our happiness was under our own control. The site notes another report found having more time in your life (compared to money), also made people happier.

WATCH: The five things robbing you of your happiness

Krista Roesler, a life coach and registered psychotherapist based in Toronto, adds humour itself is also essential. “[It] lightens up everything,” she tells Global News. “Tell a joke. Find the humour in every minute, watch something funny, read something funny [and] laugh.”

Below, Jay shares tips on how to be happier on your day-to-day.

Create a list of gratitude

“Sometimes we forget the things we are grateful for in our lives. By taking a moment and simply listing all the things in a journal can make us feel instantly happier,” she tells Global News. Writing letters of gratitude have shown to increase happiness, life satisfaction and decrease signs of depression, she adds.

Go on a vacation

The lasting memory of taking a vacation with loved ones as opposed to buying possessions is shown to increase happiness in the long run, she says. “Even the act of planning a trip increases happiness levels. Vacations also boost creativity as the extended time and space to relax makes us come up with creative ideas instead of frantically finishing work or trying to solve problems.”

READ MORE: These 5 life skills are the key to happiness, wealth and healthy aging

Steer clear of toxic people

Toxic people who drain you of your energy are sure to make you unhappy. “Negative people who always see the glass as half empty, waste time complaining about what could or should be instead of trying to improve their situation.”

Find time to exercise

Studies show as little as 10 minutes of physical activity a day can improve your mood, Jay says. “So no excuses of not having enough time to exercise. Even the smallest activities such as a brisk walk can dramatically improve your happiness in the long run.” Other activities like yoga and weight-training can also be mood boosting.

READ MORE: Why keeping a journal could be the key to happiness

Spending time with those close to you

“One of the biggest regrets people have on their death bed is not spending enough time with their loved ones. The strengths of our relationships show how happy we are in general,” she says. “People who are married with families also show to have higher levels of happiness.”

Accepting your Emotions

Instead of drinking, eating, medicating or projecting your feelings to avoid feeling them, it’s best to actually allow yourself to feel your feelings and let your guard down, Jay explains. “Some people take more time engaging in activities to avoid feeling sad or angry and it leads them down a terrible path of destruction. Allowing yourself to feel your feelings can make you better assess the situation as to what is making you angry or sad and understand yourself better.”

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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