What does happiness mean to you? Does it mean having a job you like that pays well? Having someone to love and who loves you back? Or having the freedom to do what you want, when you want?

While everyone has their own idea of what it is, happiness is something we all seek in life. Defined in the dictionary as the state of being happy—of feeling and showing pleasure or contentment—happiness is one of the core purposes and aims of our existence. It can also be one of the most challenging things not only to define on an individual and independent level but also to achieve.

Regardless of how you define happiness or what it looks like to you, these five tips from professional therapists can help you make the necessary tweaks and adjustments to living a life of optimal happiness.

1. Gratitude is Great

Instead of focusing on what your life is lacking and basking in the negativity of what you don’t have, make it a point to recognize all you have to be grateful for. According to research, not only does practicing gratitude reduce stress levels and depression, but it’s also a powerful tool in boosting happiness. You have an amazing power to choose where and what you focus your attention on – opt for graciousness, gratitude, and positivity.

2. Put Others Over Self

While self-love and appreciation are key, helping others is a great way to increase your feelings of fulfillment and self-worth, thus acting as a powerful source of happiness. When you’re feeling empty, sad, or stuck in a rut, find a way to contribute to the needs of others. Whether it be helping a neighbor, volunteering at a shelter, or doing a random act of kindness, putting others over self can be an instantaneous way to boost your happiness levels.

3. Get Outside

Studies have shown that being outside and getting into nature is often the best medicine for beating the blues. Not only does being in nature increase brain function, boost vitamin D intake, reduce stress, and make exercise easier, but it’s shown to help your brain naturally shift toward a more positive mood. Next time you’re feeling down and in the dumps, get outside – take a walk, go for a hike, explore a new park, or read a book on the patio. You’ll be amazed at how easily your mood shifts.

4. Seek Happy Surroundings

Surrounding yourself with cynical people and negative environments is toxic. Research has proven that positive social relationships are powerful indicators of happiness and can be incredibly influential when it comes to improving levels of pleasure and contentment. Even though it may be the last thing you feel like doing, make an effort to be social and surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good.

5. Practice Self-love

We’re often our own biggest critic, constantly second-guessing our decisions, putting ourselves down, and comparing ourselves to others. Not only does this sabotage happiness, but it also makes us an unpleasant person to be around. Practicing self-love may not come easy at first, but if you commit to it, loving yourself unconditionally will eventually become effortless. Integrate these tips into your daily routine:

  • Begin each morning by looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, out loud, “I love you.”
  • Keep an Affirmation Journal. At the end of each day, take five to 10 minutes to write down what you’re proud of, what you love about yourself, and what you did that day that made you feel good.
  • Embrace your mistakes, learn from your missteps, and know that human imperfection is beautiful. Forgive yourself, avoid self-judgment and criticism, and move forward with positivity and optimism.

Practicing self-love will increase your happiness and make you a more attractive person to be around.

The Pursuit of Happiness with Professional Support

Along with these life-changing tips, having the support and guidance of a professional mental health therapist can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to boosting your happiness. The experts at Utah Addiction Centers can provide you with the valuable resources, tools, and support needed to improve your outlook on life and increase your levels of happiness. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you on your life journey, today.