Easy ways to Exercise for Happiness.

It is easy to exercise for happiness. A child dressed as a fairy leaps for joy against a blue sky.
It really is easy and fun to exercise for happiness.

There is absolutely no doubt that exercise makes us feel happier… Science has shown us that exercise causes our body to release endorphins, which naturally make us feel better. Exercise can also help us feel stronger and more comfortable in our own body, which in turn builds confidence and makes us feel happier. Added benefits come with exercising outside, as we spend time in nature, or when we exercise with friends, as we receive a social connection.

It’s just that sometimes, especially if you haven’t been feeling great, it can be really hard to start. Particularly as there is so much to choose from, which can lead to overwhelm, if we feel we need to be ‘perfect’ straight away (no one is, but a lot of us feel it), or sometimes just getting out the door (or out of bed) is difficult enough.

I have felt all these things numerous times in my life. My mantra as a swimming coach is to always ‘start where your are’. I’m not always so good at treating myself that way, however I do know that I can’t ask someone who is afraid of the water to get in and swim immediately, nor can I treat a skilled swimmer as though they are a beginner. Understanding and accepting exactly where you are, although tricky to do for yourself, is an important first step.

As this is a happiness blog not a fitness blog, my purpose here is to simply explore the idea that exercise can help you feel happier. So the other part of my mantra is “you can do anything, as long as you do something”. What do I mean by this? Exercise can be anything! 15 minutes is all it takes to improve your happiness in some way. And if you can’t do 15 minutes, start with 1 or 2 minutes, and aim to build up to 15 when you can. The important thing is to just start.

You will need to find a mindset balance here. Try and do something every day, make a commitment to yourself, and show yourself that you value yourself by keeping that commitment. (I hope that makes sense!) BUT remember, if you miss a day don’t worry… Don’t beat yourself up. This can be a real trap, If you let the guilt of missing a day lead to missing more days you have defeated yourself. Just let it go, and start again the next day.

It’s also important to set your intention around happiness. If you take away the pressure of exercise needing to be anything other than fun, and simply enjoy it, then you will find whatever you choose will improve your happiness.

Easy Ways to Exercise for Happiness:

1. Take a walk/run

It is easy to exercise for happiness. The silhouette of a person running against an orange sky
Walk or Run for Happiness

Possibly the easiest way to start exercising for happiness is to go for a walk or a run. Requiring no special equipment except comfortable clothes and some trainers, walking and running both come with the happy bonus of getting us outdoors into nature, and can easily be shared with friends.

2. Skip

It's easy to find ways to exercise for happiness. Try skipping! A blue rope lies on yellow painted floor boards.
Skip for happiness

Skipping is hard work, and takes very little time before you are completely puffed out. Start from one or two minutes and build it from there. If you can skip for 15 minutes you’ll be super fit! A good skipping rope is all you need.

3. Bounce for happiness

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Bounce on a trampoline. A child bounces high with trees in the background.
Bounce for Happiness

Trampolines are so much fun! If you have access to a trampoline, either your own (get out and bounce with your kids), or a friend or neighbour, then go out and get bouncing!

4. Climb the stairs

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Climb those stairs. A person's feet and ankles are shown wearing trainers and climbing grey stone steps.
Climb those stairs!

I personally do this on the stairs up to our flat, or the stairs along my regular walk as I love how it gets my heart beating, and the feeling of accomplishment it gives me. I started with 3 sets of 3 (20 steps) and built from there. Do it carefully of course, and only go as fast as you can manage.

5. Get on your bike

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Get on your bike! A person's hands shown holding the handle bars of their bike.
Get on your bike to be happy.

Cycling can be done at any level, from basic beginner to road racing and mountain biking. At any level it creates fun and happiness! Bikes are a fantastic way to get around, and cycling not only gets your body moving but also helps you enjoy the outdoors, AND can be done alone, or with friends. If you don’t have a bike, trying out the Just Eat Bikes, or borrow one from a neighbour of friend.

6. Dance

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Dance! A woman wearing headphones dances and sings against a yellow background.
Dance for Happiness

I quite like a kitchen disco. Favourite music up, grooves on, and if no one is home, a good sing at the top of my voice. It’s really fun, and all you need is your music.

7. Play Ball

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Play Ball. The silhouette of a person throwing a ball through a basketball hoop against an orange sky.
Play ball for happiness.

Basketball and netball are fun and happy ways to enjoy physical activity. Playing a game with friends, or shooting some hoops on your own are both beneficial to your mood and happiness. A ball is required, and you can check out your local area for courts to play on.

8. Gardening

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Gardening! A person holds a plant in the foreground while a woman smiles in the background.
Gardening can be pure joy.

If you have access to outdoor space then gardening is a fantastic way to get some exercise and spend time in nature, both of which will boost your happiness. Don’t worry about getting your hands dirty, just get in and have a go.

9. Get Your Skates on

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Roller skates. A person's feet  in their white skates with pink wheels.
Get your skates on.

I used to spend hours skating up and down our front veranda as a child growing up in Australia. It was almost a right of passage to learn to skate! I loved it…. So what are you waiting for? If you have skated before, it should be easy to pick up again… Just like riding a bike…?

10. Football

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Football. A man's legs and feet are shown kicking a ball to the goalie.
Football can be great fun.

Something as simple as kicking the ball around with some friends or family. You don’t have to be good (I’m not) to feel the benefits and you can have a lot of fun too. A ball is the only kit requirement, and some grass to play on helps.

11. Swim

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Swim. A child swims under water in a blue pool with his eyes open.
Swimming is true happiness

As a swimming coach, I absolutely love the water. I find just getting in the water somehow washes the stress and tension away. I don’t even have to swim to feel the benefits. Cold water is apparently very good for us too, so ditch the heated pool and head on down to the beach or lake for some wild swimming.

12. Play tag

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Play tag. A child runs towards his mum in a woodland setting.
Playing is great for happiness.

Playing tag (or tig or tiggy or chasey) is another game that gets the heart rate up really fast (if you don’t believe me, try playing tag with your kids). It’s also really fun. In fact any of the old school kids games such as hopscotch, elastics or skipping can be mood boostingly fun, and therefore improve your happiness.

13. Hula hoop

It's easy to exercise for happiness. hula hoop. A silhouette of a woman woman playing with a hula hoop in a beach against a pink sky
Have a go at hula hooping.

I tried the hula hoop at my local gym recently after many years of not (and not being very good at it back then), and I found, rather satisfyingly that I could do it! It was definitely the different, heavier hoop as well as some technique training from my 12 year old that made the difference. All you need is a hoop!

14. Skateboard

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Get on your skateboard! 
A skateboard lies on it's side on a concrete ground. You can see the artwork.
Hit the skate park if you dare.

This is definitely a specific skill that requires learning and practice. If it’s something you fancy doing, then find someone to give you some tips, and get started. Or if skating is something you’ve done in the past, then pick it up again as a way to get moving. It will give you a sense of accomplishment, help you move your body more and therefore improve your happiness.

15. Scooter

It's easy to exercise for happiness.  Scoot! A man rides his scooter across a bridge with woodland in the background.
Scoot for happiness!

Less scary than a skateboard, a scooter may be a great place to start. I rode my sons scooter the other day, and it was more challenging than I expected. I used muscles I forgot I had! I suspect if I’d tried an adult sized scooter rather than a stunt scooter, I may have felt more balanced. They are a great way to get around.

16. Gaming

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Use your video games. 2 people hold one black and one white controller on a white background.
Gaming for happiness

By this I mean video games that get your body moving, like the Nintendo Switch Ring Fit Adventure, Wii fit Games and the XBox Kinect. If you’re into video games, why not try some that will get you moving.

17. Yoga

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Yoga. 2 women perform the downward dog pose on black yoga mats on floorboards with a white back wall.
Yoga is great for the body and mind

There are loads of YouTube videos with beginner yoga, as well as live online and studio classes. Yoga is a complete mind body workout which incorporates breath work, quieting the mind and body poses. If yoga is for you, it not only creates a strong flexible body, (over time) but can also create a sense of happiness and calm.

18. Martial arts

It's easy to exercise for happiness. Try Martial arts. Two people perform Tai chi in a city street.
Martial arts are also good for the body and mind.

There are many types of martial art to choose from. I am not an expert in any of them, however I do believe they have a philosophy of discipline in thought and movement rooted in mindfulness. Being focused and aware of our thoughts helps us make better ‘thought choices’ leading to improved emotional regulation and ultimately more happiness. Check your local area for classes.

19. Rock climbing

It's easy to exercise for happiness, try climbing. Looking up at a man climbing a rock face with trees in the back ground.
Climb your way to happiness

Rock climbing is one activity on this list that does require some specialised kit and training. Check your local area for rock climbing centres where you can try it out with the support of trained professions. The sense of accomplishment, the sheer effort needed to haul yourself up a rock face, as well as the excitement (or fear) of doing it can only help boost your happiness.

20. Climb a tree

It's easy to exercise for happiness, climb a tree. Close up of a bare foot looking up at a person climbing a tree.
Climb a tree to exercise and connect with nature.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t climbed a tree for a long time… I do remember it being really fun, and a bit of a right of passage as a child in the 80’s. There are some giant trees set up with ladders and harnesses, and even walkways (I’m thinking of Southern Western Australia… This was probably the last time I climbed a tree.) But of course all you really need is comfy clothes, a tree and a sense of adventure!

21. Circus

It's easy to exercise for happiness, learn some circus skills. The silhouette of a man juggling against a blue and white sky.
Circus skills can be really fun!

Circus skills are really challenging and can be good for our whole self, improving coordination, balance and strength as well as just being fun. Whether you’re interested in learning simple juggling or getting fully into acrobatics, there will be a circus skill to suit you. All you need to start is a set of juggling balls, and a YouTube video.

22. Living room workouts

It's easy to exercise for happiness, work out in your living room. A woman lifts small dumb bells in her living room.
Work out how you want in your own living room.

There is so much inspiration on YouTube for ways we can move our bodies to improve our fitness (and therefore happiness) in our own home using stuff we already have! Of course there is plenty of kit you can buy, but you really don’t need to, a couple of cans of beans can be used as light weights if you’re just getting started!

This list is far from exhaustive, there are many many ways to use your body and get moving to improve your happiness. In this post I wanted to demonstrate a variety of different ways we can get active, from simple activities that require no equipment and are available to everyone, like walking or climbing stairs, to more complex and skilled activities like rock climbing or skating.

Of course the sky is the limit, whether you like fencing, ballet, horse riding, going to your local gym classes or getting a personal trainer to kick your bum, the key is to start where you are, choose something fun for you, and go for it!

Good Luck. You can do it!

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How to choose a Happiness Journal

How to choose a happiness journal. A pink and marble journal sit on a white desk with 2 pencils on top.
Have you tried a journal for happiness?

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through any of the links I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Happiness is the way forward. It has become a trend, spanning countries and generations, and it is definitely a trend worth following. Happiness helps build our resilience, develops our confidence, improves our performance at work or school, makes for better relationships, and even positively affects our physical and mental health. In short, Happiness makes our lives better.

There are a number of specific tools that have been proven to increase our happiness, such as gratitude, exercise and kindness (read about those here). One specific tool is to write a journal. I have been through periods of my life where I have written profusely, everything that happened, and every feeling I had about it went on paper. It took a lot of time, but I really got something out of it. I have also spent years not writing at all… I just didn’t seem to have time, or feel the need to record everything.

Keeping a journal in the traditional sense is not for everyone. Some people love filling pages with all their thoughts and feelings, and some people don’t see the point. Journaling for happiness lies somewhere in between, requiring little time, and involving making the specific choice to focus on the best bits of your day. If you fancy starting a happiness journal, then choosing the right journal for your personality and needs will keep you consistent and more importantly help you enjoy the process.

How to choose a happiness journal? Think about where and when you will use it. A woman sits on grass writing in a journal.
How will you choose your happiness journal?

What should my happiness journal look like?

Choosing the look of your happiness journal is as simple as choosing one you love. A white journal with black polka dots says"Enjoy the little things" On a white background with pink accessories and flowers
Choose a happiness journal that you love!

The whole point of this process is to enjoy it, so my recommendation is to choose one you absolutely love. Whether you like a beautiful elaborate design, a simple block colour cover, or a cover with an inspirational message, or even an understated book that ‘hides’ in your book pile, the more pleasure you feel in the process of using your journal, the more effective it will be.

Should my Happiness Journal have dates?

It really depends. Are you motivated by keeping up to date? or do you find the dates in a diary put pressure on you? Do you need to feel organised, or do you need freedom? When I was a young person, I remember someone gave me a diary. It was the first one I’d ever had, and I immediately felt pressure to ‘keep my diary’ by writing something in it every day… even if it was just what we’d been doing. But then I’d miss a day… then a week… and then I’d end up with such guilt that I wouldn’t pick it up again! Dates in a diary did not work for me. I would have preferred numbered or blank pages. Now though, I have a diary for work, with a full page for each day. I don’t write everything down, but if something cool happens, or I hear a nice quote, or watch an inspiring Ted Talk, I note down the takeaways. I no longer feel pressured by the dates, and find them to be a useful tool.

In deciding how to choose a happiness journal, consider whether you'd prefer dates or numbers.
The interior of Everyday Happy on days 5 and 6.
Would you prefer dates or numbers?

Should my happiness Journal have lines?

When choosing a happiness journal consider the interior pages. The inside of a grid ruled journal which reads "Say Yes to Adventures" and "hello May".
What style of journal interior do you prefer?

In deciding this, have a think about how you’re going to use it. Do you like to write a lot and fill your pages with text, or do you have large, free form hand writing intermingled with pictures and doodles? Some journals have half and half, and some have a grid or dot pattern too.

Size matters?

Choose a happiness journal the right size for you will help you make the most of it. The picture shows rows of old tape measures.
What size will suit you the best?

Actually it doesn’t, except to you. If you would like to carry your journal around with you, then I would recommend an A5 journal or smaller, and if you’re keeping it at home, then any size that suits you is fine. At home I have a giant A3 sketch book for writing my children’s stories, but for a happiness journal I personally prefer A5, so I can keep it easily beside my bed or carry it in my bag whenever I need to.

What should I write?

Choosing the right happiness journal for you will depend on how you use it. A woman stands with a questioning look on her face, and her hand on her chin.
What will you write in your happiness journal?

Start with gratitude.

You can’t feel grateful and worried at the same time making gratitude one of the most powerful ways to increase your happiness. Spending a little bit of time each day writing about it, allows you to really feel into your gratitude.

Debrief if you need to.

If anything bad has happened during the day, let it slide out of you onto the page and let it go. You can even choose a separate page for this, and then burn it (safely) afterwards.

Choose your best bits.

Write about the best bits of your day. Was someone kind to you? Did you see something beautiful, or run into an old friend? You will always be able to find a best bit (even on a bad day). It may be as simple as leaving work after a hard day. Finding the best bits will help you focus more on what is right in your life.

Ideas and dreams.

What does your happiest day look like? What are your most outrageous and exciting plans? Where do you want to go on holidays? Or just how do you want to feel? Write it all down, imagine it and feel it.

Affirmations.

Positive affirmations are simply positive statements of your preferred outcomes. Writing them down will add clout, and help you remember them, so you can say them to yourself throughout the day. I am OK, I am Happy, and I am Brave are really simple one’s to start with, but you can make them as detailed as you like.

Health tracking.

You can even use your happiness journal to track your activity and diet and see the impact they are having o your mood!

Plan for happiness.

Make plans for the following day. Think about the things you really like doing, and write them down as a commitment to yourself to do something just for you, that makes you happy each day. (and then write about it again the next day to reinforce the effect).

Prompts for happiness.

Some happiness journals come with ideas prompts and information to help keep you on track. I have written one (Read about Everyday Happy here) which acts as a manual, gratitude journal and happiness prompt, plus there are plenty more on the market.

So which Journal?

Choose a happiness journal that suits your personality and needs.
So many to choose from!

Lined Journals.

Choose a lined journal if you love filling your pages with writing! The choice for lined journals varies from very simple block colour covers like this one from Silvine, to those with beautiful, elaborate cover designs. This Celestial Journal (notebook) from Peter Pauper Press is a lovely example of a simple lined journal with a beautifully bound cover and gorgeous design. Have a closer look here.

Blank Journals

Choose a blank journal if you prefer free form writing, and filling in the gaps with pictures and scribbles. This one from Moleskin is a lovely example of design simplicity, whereas if you’re looking for something pretty, the tree design on the Tree of Dreams Journal by Peter Pauper Press is beautiful.

Grid Journals.

Grid journals come it two types, ruled grids or dot journals aka bullet journals. These add a bit of structure for writing, are great for lists and tracking, and at the same time create a nice space for sketching as well. For a ruled grid I really like this one from LEUCHTTURM1917 or for a very sweet bullet journal this flamingo clad book from The Little Journal Company is lovely.

A note on Dated Journals (Diaries)

Diaries are fantastic for keeping you organised. I use mine for meetings and schedules. I also like to write down inspiring quotes, notes from Ted talks I’ve watched on a specific day, or the main takeaways from a meeting or workshop I’ve attended. However I’m not going to recommend any specific diaries here because the very nature of dated journals and diaries means they run out of date. At the point of writing, the main ones on the market are for the academic year starting in August. You can also purchase them for the financial year, and of course the calendar year.

Dedicated Happiness Journals

It you’re just starting out with happiness journaling, then a dedicated happiness journal might be the best place to start. There a many available, some specifically for children, like The HappySelf Journal by HappySelf, or some specifically for women, such a this beautiful Grateful Heart Journal by Lamare and of course Everyday Happy, written and designed by me. I created Everyday Happy as a tool for managing and recovering from anxiety using specific strategies for happiness. It was written for young people, yet can be easily used by any one of any age.

Everyday Happy Book. Choose a happiness journal that can help prompt you and keep you on track.
Everyday Happy can help keep you on track.

Like everything else in this blog…

The way you do it is up to you. Don’t get hung up on being perfect, or feel you have to do this every day. You don’t. Do it your way, as often as feels right to you. Beating yourself up over it will defeat the purpose of doing it at all. Our happiness is a habit, the combination of all the small things we do, think and say, everyday. Keeping a happiness journal is simply one tool at your disposal. So, try it out, enjoy it, and see if it makes a positive difference to your happiness.

Buy Everyday Happy Here
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15 Ways your phone can make you happy

15 ways your phone can make you happy. used with intention and purpose your phone can make you happy. a woman gazes happily into her cupped hands as glowing fireflies appear to be floating our of them.
Used with intention, your phone can make you happy.

I have a love/ hate relationship with my phone. On one hand It goes with me everywhere and provides some really useful services… It regularly saves me from getting lost, helps me stay in close contact with my kids… and everyone else for that matter, entertains me at the bus stop and takes the pictures of beautiful flowers… one of my favourite hobbies.

On the other hand, it goes with me everywhere, sucks my attention away from the present moment, wastes so much of my time, distracts me from what I should be doing, and interrupts conversations. Along with the inundation of negative information and the difficulties that come along with social media use, I can be left feeling pretty anxious and depressed.

Lockdown led to much more spare time for me, and I found myself ‘in’ my phone for hours, and feeling less than good, so I decided to make a conscious effort to use my phone for my own good. 

Here are 15 ways your phone can make you happy.

1. Call People.

1 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Call people. Your phone can make you happy simply by calling people. A woman is smiling talking on her mobile phone
Using your phone to call people is a simple way your phone can make you happy.

Obvious, yet so easily overlooked, calling people in person creates a connection deeper than a text or email. It seems to be a dying art… More years ago than I care to remember, phoning friends from our (ahem) land line was how we kept in touch with each other. Hours of time were spent in chat (and we couldn’t wander around, or multitask much ‘cause the cord was attached to the wall!)… and it was fun, uplifting and supportive, and was such a source of happiness for me.

2. Listen to music.

2 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Playing music on your phone while walking, jogging, studying or doing chores is a brilliant way your phone can make you happy. A woman appears to be singing and smiling as she listens to music on her phone.
What is your favourite song?

This one is so easy, stick your headphones on and turn the volume up (Here I have to say safely). Doing this with the intention of making yourself feel happier will enhance the effect. Do this during housework, study, work, or during your workout. 

3. Take photos.

3 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Photography. Taking photos on your phone is a fantastic way your phone can make you happy. A woman's hand holds a phone photographing a city road in the evening.
Photography focuses our lens on what is beautiful in the world.

Photography is a perfect way to focus on what is beautiful and right in the world. Choosing to point the lens of your phone or camera at the beautiful sunset or flower or the face of someone you love literally focuses your attention on the best parts of your day. Challenge yourself to point the camera away from your own face!

4. Look at your photos.

4 of 15 your phone can make you happy. Looking through your photos helps improve your mood, and is a great way to use your phone to make you happy. A woman looks through a photo album
Looking at your favourite photos will put a smile on your face.

Create an album of your favourite people, places, pets, holidays (or anything you like) and look at them regularly. This will bring a smile to your face, and even help bring more of what you love into your life.

5. Positive notifications.

5 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. You can use your phone to make yourself happy by setting positive notifications for yourself in your calendar. Screenshot of a calendar notification saying "I am OK today".
What positive messages will you send yourself?

Use your calendar to set a daily reminder of your positive outcomes. I am amazing, I am brave, I am capable of anything, or even something as simple as I am OK, will pop up as a reminder on your phone whenever you want, as often as you like. I have just started this for myself with ‘I am grateful for the people in my life’, and “I am OK today”. They are beautiful notifications to receive each day. I will be adding more.

6. Apps for happiness.

6 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Use your phone to make you happy by choosing an app to support your mental health and happiness. A silhouette of a person sitting on the end of a jetty overlooking a beautiful lake and mountain view.
There are heaps of happiness apps to choose from.

There are many apps out there devoted to helping with mental wellbeing and happiness. They vary from meditation apps, to happiness prompts and even online counselling.

7. Happy learning.

7 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Use your phone to make you happy by signing up for an online course about something you're interested in. Top view of a  person sitting at their laptop with a notebook and coffee.
Whatever you’re interested in, there will most likely be an online course about it.

There are thousands of online courses to choose from. You can learn anything from gardening, yoga, and personal development to mathematics and robotics. Chances are if you’re interested in it, there is an online course for it.

8. Play games.

8 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Play games. A little figurine of Mario from Super Mario Brothers, in a green pot with his hand in the air.
Games can be really fun if you don’t take them too seriously.

I am not into gaming at all, but my husband and kids find much joy in playing games. This one comes with a warning… games can be addictive and a complete time suck, and can elicit strong feelings of rage, however when not taken too seriously, and particularly when shared with others, games can be a very fun and happy experience.

9. Listen to a book.

9 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Sign up to Audible and listen to books.
A set of headphones on a blue and pink background.
For me, Listening to a book is pure joy.

You can’t really beat the feel and smell and experience of opening a new book, as a writer it is one of my favourite experiences.  I have however recently signed up to audible, and absolutely love listening to books now. I am definitely consuming more books than I was previously, as I can listen whilst taking a walk, or doing chores, and I’m definitely less likely to fall asleep! 

10. Be social.

10 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Mindful use of social media. A close up of a person's hand holding a phone with the social network apps screen.
Used the right way for you, social media can be a really happy place.

Use your social media and messaging apps to have actual conversations with people you know. We have a family group to share videos and photos of the kids, and I am also a part of some smaller friends groups to share banter and news. It keeps our chat and photos private, and makes our conversations more meaningful. 

 11. Share the love.

11 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Send messages of kindness. A love note hangs by a peg on a string with a wooden background.
Who can you send a random act of kindness to?

Send a kind email, a fun or funny gif or just a generally uplifting message to a friend or colleague. Doing this has been shown to have a measurable positive impact on our happiness, as it qualifies as an act of kindness.

12. Get creative.

12 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Create with it. Art, video or music are all possible on your phone. Colourful artists chalk sits on a canvas drop sheet.
Get creative on your phone to make yourself happy!

Make your own art, music, videos, games, memes, or write and illustrate your own story book. Again, there are so many apps and courses and software platforms to enable the creative process in whatever field of interest you have. You can create graphic design projects in apps like Canva, animation videos in platforms like animaker, make and edit your own live videos, record your voice and music in recording software and even write and publish your own book for free in kindle direct publishing. The sky is literally the limit. 

13. Phone fit.

13 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Get fit! Use the inbuilt tracker, or one of the many fitness apps to help you. A woman smiles doing a plank on the beach.

Your phone tracks your activity anyway, so use this to your advantage and compete against yourself to do more steps than yesterday. There are also plenty of fitness apps like couch to 10k, and online  P.T, yoga and pilates. 

14. Adventure.

14 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Go on adventures. Use the geocaching website to go hunting for treasure. 
A close up of a person's hand placing a pin in a map.
Geocaching can be really fun!

Go geocaching. If you’ve never heard of geocaching, look it up! It’s a really fun activity that literally takes you on adventures looking for treasure. People hide little boxes of treasure around the world, and record the coordinates on the website. You can then look up the caches in your area and go searching. Some geocaches have little treasures… you can take one if you have something to replace it with… and some just have some paper to record the finders. There are various apps available and the website has a free and premium memberships.

 15. And don’t forget…

15 of 15 ways your phone can make you happy. Put it down, ignore it for a while. Silhouette of a group of people having fun at sunset on the beach.
Put your phone down once in a while too.

Put it down once in a while too. In 7 tips to staying happy on social media I talk about how important it is to put your phone down and spend time in the present moment engaging with the people you’re with.

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7 Tips for Staying Happy on Social Media.

Three young women staying happy on social media by sharing the same phone.
How does social media make you feel?

Social media can be a very happy place. What’s not to love about chatting with friends, sharing and checking out each other’s photos, and playing games. I particularly love it for keeping up to date with family and friends that I hardly ever see, and for the uplifting and funny posts people share on there. Unfortunately it can become a negative space too. I find myself feeling anxious and agitated when I’ve spent too much time scrolling. At best we compare ourselves to others and judge ourselves poorly, or become inundated with negative information, and at worst we can become involved in online bickering or experience cyber bullying. And when it’s on your phone and with you wherever you go, it can be very difficult to escape. So with the aim of focusing on happiness, here are 7 tips for staying happy on social media.

1. Post positively

Create and share posts that are fun, funny, uplifting, happy and light. You will enjoy this, and so will your friends.

Stay happy on social media by posting positively. Close up of a hand giving the thumbs up against a blue sky.
Thumbs up for positive posts.

2. Play Nice

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Avoid gossip, complaining and criticising and try not to get involved in negative conversations. Put simply… Be kind!

Stay happy on social media by practicing kindness. Close up of someone talking into a tin can and string phone
If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, don’t say it on social media!

3. Careful sharing

These days it’s really easy to share and spread ideas that are negative, hateful or hurtful without even knowing. If you do want to share things about current events, research the source so you know who and what you’re representing.

Stay happy on social media by sharing things that you understand and believe in. A study worn person hides behind a pile of text books.

4. Keep it Real

Have family members and close friends (people that really care for you) as your social media friends. This way if something happens you will have genuine real life people you can turn to. It also means the events and photos you share will be genuinely celebrated and liked… In short, the experience will have more meaning.

Stay happy on social media be being friends with people you know in person. Silhouette of a family watching a sunset near a park bench and tree.
Share your social media life with people who love and care about you.

5. Fight offline

If you are having a disagreement or argument with someone, it’s best to do it in person. I know this one is pretty tricky, but it’s easier to read someone’s tone and meaning when you can see them, or at least hear them over the phone. Likewise they are less likely to misunderstand you.

Stay happy on social media by not fighting in there. Two bears fighting in a stream.
Having your fights and arguments in person reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding.

6. Take a break

Don’t spend all your time online. Put your phone away, leave it at home or disable the social apps so can enjoy the moment you’re in with the people you’re with. Mindful use is key to staying happy on social media.

Stay happy on social media by getting off it regularly. An iPhone sits unused on a table in a stream of sunlight.
Leaving your phone alone at time is ok… It’s actually a really good idea.

7. Don’t take it personally.

Other people’s lives can look amazing on social media. Interesting, adventurous, abundant and fun… because they only post the best bits. Don’t compare your real life to other people’s highlights.

Stay happy on social media by not comparing yourself and your life to others. Beautiful tropical island with clear blue ocean.
Not many people’s lives look like this all the time.

And remember…

The number of likes and followers you have does not determine your worth, only you can do that. You control your social media accounts (not the other way around) so keep an eye on how it makes you feel. If you are feeling in any way sad, anxious or depressed while using it is, it is essential to switch off, to not even log in or if things get really bad, cancel your account.

It is under your control, and totally up to you…

sometimes, if social media is making you feel really unhappy, you can log off, disable the app, or close your account. Blue pause button on a darker blue background.
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Self Talk and Happiness

Brain Word cloud
We think a lot! Even when we don’t realise it.

What is self talk?

“Self talk is the ongoing internal conversation we have with ourselves, which influences how we feel and how we behave.” www.alleydog.com

Our self talk amounts to every single thing we think, and say to ourselves, every day. And there is a lot of it.

We think somewhere between 12000 and 60000 thoughts, per day, and on average 80% of those thoughts are negative, and 95% are the same repetitive thoughts from the day before, and the day before that. (2005 study by the National Science Foundation).

It is mind boggling!

If most of our thoughts are negative, and we also keep repeating them, it’s any wonder we find ourselves struggling to feel happy.

Negative self talk is defined as any expression, thought or word, that is counter productive and has the effect of demotivating oneself. (Kari Romeo Tedx Talk.)

From that we can ascertain that positive self talk is any expression, word or thought that is intuitive and has the affect of motivating us, uplifting us and making us more happy.

We are often not even aware of our self talk, nor the fact that so much of it is negative. And when we do notice, the negativity is so drummed into us we think it’s normal…

…and we often believe it to be true.

It is for this reason that our self talk can have a huge impact on our lives and our happiness. It also means that with practice we can create new habits of self talk, and have 95% of those happy thoughts repeat themselves every day.

Why do we talk to ourselves?

A man with a questioning land slightly worried look on his face.
Don’t worry, self talk is a perfectly normal part of being human.

Healthy self talk is actually necessary, as it helps us control ourselves and our emotions. We literally tell ourselves what to do as we plan our actions, or the day ahead, and we can shift how we feel in any moment by changing our thoughts. (Tricky, but possible)

We bounce ideas off ourselves, evaluate situations, consolidate our memories and generally regulate ourselves using our self talk.

Self talk is also considered an important part of our language development, and supports self regulation in the thinking and behaviour of children. www.masterinstitute.com.au

What do we talk to ourselves about?

A lightbulb thought bubble on a blackboard.
What do you talk to yourself about?

The short answer is everything. Whatever we’re doing, at any time of day, we will be talking to ourselves about it.

Think about it…

Getting ready to go out? “Got my keys, wallet and phone?”

Cooking dinner? “Where is the large pan?”

Drop something on the floor? “Oh Beeeep” (in my house anyway).

Driving the car?

Mindlessly scrolling?

Watching TV?

We basically self talk our way through our days!

There are a number of different types of self talk that we use in different situations.

– Observational: What is happening around us.
– Instructional: How to go about doing something.
– Assessment: Judging any particular situation, often social.
– Motivational: Getting ourselves going.
– Reflective: Looking back on a situation.
– Evaluation: Judging ourselves and others in the context of a situation.
– Questioning: Asking ourselves questions to help us move forward or through a situation. “What now?”

Generally speaking our self talk falls into 3 categories;

– self reinforcement (positive)
– self criticism (negative)
– self management (neutral).

All of our self talk will fall into one of these categories depending on the meaning we give it or how we feel about the thought, as well as the language we use.

For example, we can be reflecting on something that has happened in the past that we didn’t necessarily like. In that moment we get to choose (really) whether we think about how bad it was, or whether we focus on what we learned, or just how relieved we are that it’s over.

Why so negative?

Baby on it's tummy smiling.
Babies know they are perfect without question.

The slant away from happy self talk, and towards the negative comes from a lifetime of conditioning. We almost can’t help it. When we are tiny, everything about us is celebrated. From our first moment, our first smile, our first steps and even our basic bodily functions are happily celebrated by our caregivers…

We also adore ourselves and have absolutely no notion that we are not completely perfect!

The first set of not so happy messages come along when we’re pretty young. Our parents may be flustered and snap that they’re too busy to listen to us (I’m not worth listening to says our inner voice). At school our differences are noticed and pointed out, we can be too short, too slow, too stupid. The media shows us the most beautiful, most fit, funniest, richest and most successful people in the world, and we are left wanting. And social media allows us to directly compare our state of affairs to those same people’s houses, cars, holidays and bodies on a constant 24 hour bender. And, on top of that we get perfect highlights of all the people we’ve ever known, as well as many we will never meet. Sometimes social media leaves me feeling anxious… and this is why. The insidious, underlying ‘My Life just can’t compare’ inner self talk.

What is the impact on our happiness?

A man looking seriously at himself in the mirror
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?

Negative self talk can ruin our happiness and steal our joy, lowering our general self image, body image and affecting our relationships.

Positive and neutral self talk however both have a positive and helpful affect.

In a work or school setting constant negative self talk can leave us feeling as though we’re not enough. We are then also more vulnerable to bullying and more likely to miss out on potential possibilities because we’re afraid of looking bad or being noticed.

We can also forego any happiness or fulfilment in our work as we strive to prove ourselves to others.

If we have positive self talk, and a happy self image we are less likely to be bullied and more likely to say yes to opportunities, trust and act on our intuition and find happiness in what we do.

If you have ever stood in front of the mirror and felt unhappy with your reflection, then you have probably said some pretty nasty things to yourself, and will know that negative self talk can completely diminish our body image. Low body confidence has been shown to have far reaching effects, undermining academic achievement and performance at work. Women in particular will not raise their hand in school or speak up in a meeting, take part in sporting activities, and sometimes not even show up to a job interview or their place of work if they are having a low body confidence day. Men are not immune to this either.

Our self talk also affects our relationships. The happier we are within ourselves, the happier we will be with our friendships, family and close relationships. If our confidence is low, and we have trouble loving ourselves, then trusting someone else to love us, and being happy to accept that love is much more difficult. Negative self talk causes us to push people away.

9 Ways to Create Happy Self Talk.

A pebble stack on a beautiful seaside background.
Bringing ourselves right into the present moment is one way of controlling our self talk.

It is possible to create new habits of happy self talk. All self talk is habitual, whether negative or positive, so with a decision, and practice we can make ours more positive.

Here’s how:

1. Choose your words carefully.

There is a difference between saying “I am so stupid” and “Oops, I’ll try not to do that again”. Try speaking to yourself the way you would speak to a good friend.

2. Positive affirmations:

Saying positive statements to yourself that affirm how you want to feel, or express gratitude for what you do have. If you want a challenge, say your positive affirmations in the mirror… this will really highlight any resistance you have to thinking (and feeling) good. There are books and cards available to help develop this habit.

3. Catch yourself in the act and challenge that negative self talk or belief:

Notice it and either pivot to a new gentler statement (as in number 1) or challenge it with facts. Are you really the stupidest person in the world?

4. Accept compliments

Smile and say thank you when someone pays you a compliment… don’t argue with them.

5. Notice your feelings

Your feelings pretty accurately indicate whether your self talk is sitting in the positive or negative end of the scale. Stop for a moment and see where you are, and whether you need to reach for a better feeling thought.

6. Tell a new story.

When thinking about the past choose to see events in a different way. Our memories are not exactly trustworthy anyway, so telling yourself a different version is perfectly ok.

7. Distraction.

If your thoughts are running away with themselves down a negative rabbit hole, try and change the subject by doing something. Go for a walk, read a book, have a conversation with someone or do an all consuming activity that you love…

8. Mindfulness meditation.

Aka, sitting quietly and breathing. This is the process of bringing your attention completely into the present moment. Sitting comfortably and bringing all your focus onto your breath, or the sounds around you, or the sensations in your body, or even staring at something and taking in all the details of it’s form are different ways of practicing mindfulness.

9. Practice.

It takes time, effort and practice to change any lifetime habit. Don’t expect over night transformation, and be kind to yourself when your self talk is not perfect!

Our self talk is powerful, and can have a profound affect on our happiness depending on whether we decide to have positive and happy thoughts, or negative ones. Becoming aware of what we’re thinking rather than letting our thoughts ‘happen to us’, and gently steering ourselves towards more positive self talk gives us more control over our thoughts and will ultimately improve our happiness.

In short, If you want to feel happier, think happier thoughts!

I Am Happy Affirmation Card
What are you saying to yourself today?
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