14 Things You Can Do To Be Happy And STAY Happy

julia roberts, eat pray love, books, celebs, movies/tv
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Happiness is a choice.

We all go through rough patches from time to time. But it's important to realize that happiness is a choice you make in the present, not a destination.

Check out these tips and tricks to keep your happiness alive for the long run!

1. Take the Focus Off Yourself


When it comes to self-esteem, it can be hard not to fall into the trap of hanging​ it on things like your career or success.

As much as it can make us cringe to admit, however, these are things that can wane or even be taken away at certain points.

So how do you tie your self-esteem to motivators that will always be within your control? Simply put, by taking the focus off of yourself and doing something kind for others.

That can range from charity or volunteer work to simply being a kind person. Ironically perhaps, sometimes the best way to maintain a consistent sense of happiness, is to spread happiness to others.

2. Live a Productive Life at a Comfortable Pace


While staying busy can be a great way to boost your overall​ self-esteem and avoid boredom, don't mistake it for merely being busy.

The key here comes down to living a balanced life rather than simply taking on every opportunity that presents itself.

By maintaining a healthy balance of work, play, and family time, who has the time to slip into depression?

3. Maintain Close Relationships


Research suggests that maintaining close relationships with people you can discuss important life issues with is one of the biggest keys to happiness.

National surveys find that people who maintain at least 5 close relationships are 60% more likely to describe themselves as "very happy."

While having a great deal of acquaintances is awesome, when it comes to relationships you should try to strive for quality over quantity.

In other words having a few really close friends or family members may lead to more happiness than having a ton of people you're just surface-level friendly with.

4. Be Proactive About Your Relationships


When you do form a close relationship, treasure it!

There's nothing more depressing than getting caught up in work or other activities and slowly but surely letting your closest friends slip away.

In order to avoid falling into the trap, make sure you regularly check in with your closest friends, even if it's only once every 2 weeks or so just to see what's going on.

When you do chat with your closest companions, but sure you set aside the time to really talk, not just throw around a little small talk.

5. Treat Yo’ Self…Just Not All At Once


As it turns out, small pleasures can go a long way. Some studies show that more frequent small pleasures can create more happiness than less frequent larger ones.

So rather than take one huge day to max out your credit cards at the mall, why not try and buy yourself a new piece of clothing each week?

6. Plan Fun In Advance


There are few better ways to ward off depression than to always have something to look forward too.

Whether you're planning on taking a vacation soon or enjoying a great meal at a new restaurant, plan ahead well in advance.

This way you can enjoy not only the experience itself but also the fun of looking forward to it.

7. Cultivate the Art of Delayed Gratification


Learn how to plan for long-term over short-term​ happiness. This doesn't necessarily mean white-knuckling it over not being able to do exactly what you want this instance, however.

For instance, say you're tempted to stay out all night at the bar when you know you should be at home working on a project.

Try to take your mind off how great it'd be to stay out on a weeknight by imagining how great it will be to stay out later on Friday night when you can enjoy the relief of knowing you don't have to stress about the project anymore.

8. Practice Gratitude


Though this one may sound simple, you'll be astounded at how huge of a perspective shift you can experience simply by be grateful for what you have rather than getting caught up on what you don't.

This isn't to say that you have to go insane and spend hours a day gratitude journaling to get into the habit.

Simply start by listing three simple things you're grateful for each day. In as little as a few weeks, you should start how much more blessed you are than you may have thought.

9. Take Care of Yourself


Many of us fall under the illusion that constantly putting everyone else's needs above our own makes us nice people. It doesn't- mostly it just makes us exhausted people.

By taking care of yourself, you're actually taking care of everyone in your life by insuring that whenever they interact with you, they'll be engaging with a happier, saner, and more well-balanced person who has a lot more to offer.

10. Do the Stuff You’re Awesome At


While it may be tempting think of your hobbies and passions as side items you'll get to after the important stuff, nothing could be further from the truth!

The truth is that regularly engaging in the things you're good at can give you a much needed boost of self-esteem and make you happier over-all.

So whether it's painting, needlepoint, or tennis, make time for it and watch how much happier it makes you when you do it regularly.

11. Stay In Touch With Your Inner Child


Sit down and make a list of all the things you loved to do when you were a kid.

Then go back and try and figure out how long it's been since you've done each- chances are that you'll be in for a surprise in some instances.

Last but not least, pick a few items from the list that it's been awhile since you revisited and try them out!

If kid-you loved riding bikes, ice skating, or climbing trees, chances are that you inner child will have a ball when you bust out some of her favorite old activities.

12. Always Have Goals


Though it may be great to get to a point where you're able to just coast along and relax every now and then, don't stay in such a position long enough to let it turn into a slump.

Making sure you always have personal goals to work towards is a great way to make sure your life always has a sense of purpose, direction, and focus.

Not to mention what a great rush you'll get when you're constantly achieving things.

13. Exercise


Though it can whip you into shape for sure, this one has nothing to do with looks as far as happiness is concerned.

On top of keeping you physically healthy, exercise is also a great way to boost your energy levels, get rid of tension, and release endorphins.

Don't think you have time to sneak a little exercise into your daily routine? Check out Daily Burn where you can get daily work-outs that last as little as 10-minutes a day streamed right to your phone, TV, or computer.

14. Forget “Someday”


Among the most important things you can do to ensure lifelong happiness is to stop putting off your dreams.

Don't wait until you're chillin' at the nursing home to think about the things you really want to get out of life.

While there's nothing wrong with geriatric sky-diving if you're still got the heart for it, studies have revealed that a heartbreaking number of people spent their whole lives knowing exactly what they wanted but put it off until it was too late.

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