Are you having one of those days where you’re just not content with your life? We all experience bad days now and again. Work can be stressful and knock you down. Sometimes, you’re self esteem plummets for whatever reason. Your neighbors bought the latest car and you’re feeling mighty envious. Relationships can get tense… on and so forth.

Whether you feel ungrateful, depressed, anxious, or sad, I’ve compiled a number of simple methods to help you realize how much you have to be thankful for and boost your happiness!

  1. Count your blessings. It can be easy to envy the possessions and accomplishments of others while undermining what we have in our own lives.  Here’s the thing: Happiness isn’t accumulated by more money or prestige. I would die happily knowing that I spent ample time loving my family and participating in my faith – not possessing a large house, the latest clothing trends, or driving the slickest car. I won’t be thinking, “I should have gotten that 100″ flat-screen plasma TV for the living room.” I will be thinking of meeting my Father in Heaven, which is greater than any reward on earth. With that in mind, find a quite place, take a pencil and paper, and write down absolutely everything that you are grateful for today (food, water, shelter, employment, clothing, friends, family, pets, hobbies, love, freedom, talents, etc.).
  2. Surround yourself by people you love. Love is found in people – not things. Step away from the electronics and engage in face-to-face interaction with friends and family that you care about. Go for a walk, discuss life over lunch, play board games, or walk in the park. The internet can be loaded with negativity. Create some positivity in your life by laughing and loving those you love. Experience love and life – not a virtual reality that you can’t wrap your arms around.

3. Exercise. Get rid of all that tension by pumping your heart full of blood. Sweating rids your body of toxins and releases endorphins, which will brighten your mood. Physical activity can lower anxiety levels, improve sleep, tone muscles, and raise self esteem. Get active!

4. Wear clothes you like that fit you. If you are feeling body-conscious like me, you first and foremost need to toss out any clothes that don’t fit you/don’t make you feel confident. Don’t say you’ll lose the weight and eventually fit into those jeans….”eventually” is not “now”. You need to feel great today – not a couple months from now. So, buy clothes that make you feel like a million bucks. I’m not suggesting that you splurge all your money or give up on becoming a healthier person. But, losing weight takes time. You need to feel happy and confident no matter what you’re size.

5. Get involved in your community. If you are focusing your energy on yourself, get out into the community and serve those less fortunate than you. It’s eye opening to witness what we take for granted causing abundant joy to others. Volunteer at a food pantry, soup kitchen, clothing drive, nursing home, etc.

6. Journal. Silence brings clarity. When you aren’t in the mood to talk with anyone, a journal can be your best friend. Write about your burdens, struggles, and inner thoughts. List your questions and concerns. When you’re done, read over what you’ve written and reflect. Getting your emotions out on paper feels so relieving.

7. Take small naps. Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do at a given moment is sleep. Those 10 minutes spent resting and rejuvenating your body look a lot more effective than the same 10 minutes trying to keep your eyelids open while completing your work. You’ll be grateful for those extra minutes of snoozing.

8. Find a hobby. Play the guitar, sing, dance, get artsy, blog, or exercise. Schedule out some leisure time in your daily routine for yourself.

9. Eat nutritious meals. A Pop-Tart and cinnamon roll might look appetizing for breakfast, but are those frankenfoods going to deliver the nutrients you need to live healthfully? Think again. Do your body a favor by filling it up with nutrient-dense fruits, whole grains, protein, dairy, and veggies. I could spend numerous articles and give a thousand reasons why eating right is good for you. In fact, there really aren’t any bad effects to eating healthfully. You’ll feel fuller longer and feel great in the long run. Trust me!

10. Participate in your faith. Spirituality brings deep perspective and purpose into your life. Step away from noise in this world yelling at you to look a certain way and act a certain way. Attending church service, reading spiritual books, prayer, and wholesome music will redirect your life in a direction full of passion and purpose.  

Remember, happiness is only a feeling. Like all others feelings, it comes and goes. But, you can live a life with joy because God endows us with that gift. Be grateful for each day you are alive!