Ten daily habits to make you happier

By Di Westaway | CEO Wild Women On Top and Sydney Coastrek

Like most of us, I’ve learned the secret of my own happiness the hard way.

I’ve known extreme sadness, moodiness and anxiety but in my fifties I am the happiest I have ever been. 

Psychologist, Dr Gordon Livingstone, says there are three key things we need for happiness:

  1. Something to do
  2. Someone to love
  3. Something to look forward to.

I believe the fourth key to happiness is healthy food and exercise.

As I head towards my mid 50’s, with a fit, healthy body that can still do handstands on top of mountains, and 3 children to support, I’ve got happier.

Now, as my adult kids struggle to drag themselves out of their “morning moods”, they often say, “STOP being so chirpy in the morning,” or “Mum… HOW are you so happy all the time?”

Sure, there are times when I don’t want to get out of bed, or wished I hadn’t eaten half a tub of Sarah Lee Ultra Chocolate ice cream, but the more I’ve focused on transforming lives through inspiring women to get fit and healthy by walking together in nature, the rarer these occasions are. 

Here are 10 daily habits to make you happier than you’ve ever been.  

  1. Move & exercise: Yes both moving and exercise bring happiness. Walking, house work, bike riding, laughing, sex, swimming, gardening, playing with the kids and shopping are all beneficial; but interval training, yoga, dancing, pilates, gym workouts, spin and jogging are truly happiness drugs. It just takes a wiggle and a giggle to get your daily medicine.  
  2. Wake up early: Yes, this requires a bit of motivation, no coffee after noon and saving wine for the weekends, but you sure get stuff done.
  3. Focus on a positive affirmation or motivational quote: This sets you up for the day and helps you take control of your thoughts.
  4. Jump on the scales: The days you don't want to are the ones you should. Your body is a chemistry set and if you weigh it daily, you’ll stay on track.
  5. Walk or bathe in nature: This is a real mental health winner – instead of wine, go out into green space. If there’s no bush around, just go to the park and swing.
  6. Eat nutritious delicious food: This requires planning and education. “Nutritious” rarely comes in a packet, can or bottle. Eat whole foods 90% of the time and read labels. Just because it looks like food, doesn’t mean it contains ANY nutrition.
  7. See the sunrise or sunset: Endorphins are released when you watch the sunrise and sunset. You feel fabulous EVERY time.
  8. Pay it forward: Helping others is truly makes you feel good. Studies have shown that volunteers live longer, are less depressed and have enhanced feelings of wellbeing.
  9. Switch off: Make some time in your day to unplug from technology, relax and reflect. Whether its yoga, a massage, music, or simply sitting in nature, calming your mind keeps you in balance.
  10. Go to bed before 10 - without your i-device: Early to bed, early to rise to start your 10 habits of happiness all over again. It might be hard to shift your body clock, but once you have you’ll be so glad you did.  

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if u were to live forever" Gandhi


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