16 WAYS TO INCREASE HAPPINESS

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1. BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT. This may sound like a no brainer, but take the time to focus on your inhales and exhales. In times of stress, concentrate on the breath in order to clear the mind. Do you have a bad thought that keeps running and running through your head that you can't seem to get rid of? Breathe, center yourself, listen to the sound of your breath going in and going out. The aim is to slow down the relentless thinking. Cultivate quietude and stillness of the mind. Replace those negative thinking habits with positive ones! 


2. EXERCISE. Treat your body to the release of natural endorphins, a.k.a. happy chemicals. Go outside and run, take a bike ride, jump rope, settle into some yoga poses. Make it interesting and do a mix of everything; variety is the spice of life! Opt for outdoor activities when the weather's nice, and save the indoor activities for the winter months (or extremely hot and humid months for that matter).


3. BE CLOSE WITH NATURE. This one can be difficult when living in a big city such as New York City. When surrounded by concrete, loud street noise and fellow humans, it's important to reconnect with the great outdoors. I like to cope with the lack of nature by bringing plants and animals indoors. For example, I've got succulents, bromeliads, staghorn ferns, cacti, flowers, aloe, a desert rose, hanging vines, and bamboo just to name a few. There's truly something special about taking care of plants and seeing them grow. In addition to greenery, I have a cat and a fish to keep me company. Sometimes, even when living alongside the natural world, one can forget to take a step outside and enjoy the positive energy of plants and animals. 


4. KEEP A POSITIVE ENTOURAGE. Surround yourself with good friends who have your best interest in mind. The people you surround yourself with are a direct image of who you are. Be aware of who drains you and who uplifts you, and make sure you're prioritizing the uplifting kind. 


5. ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. You may want to keep a gratitude journal where you can write down all the things you're super lucky to have, or just take some time to list off those things aloud or in your head before going to sleep. Appreciating what you already have tells the universe that you're thankful and makes the universe want to give you even more to be thankful for! Make it routine to emit vibrations full of thanks. 


6. VISUALIZE. Have a goal to work towards. Is there a future you like to think about often? Take steps in realizing that vision and what is it actually going to take? Write down the process. It helps to see what needs to be done, and cross off those little steps one by one. Goals are just dreams with a deadline. Working towards those goals gives you a sense of purpose. Believing your dreams are within reach is the key to a bright future. You want to feel optimistic about the future - a sense of hope is contagious and gives meaning to your life and others! 


7. BE PRESENT. Notice the beauty of life and all the good things around you. Being mindful of NOW will intensify and prolong the experience of the present. Make the current moment last, take it all in, savor the flavor of being where you are, right now. Whether you're cleaning your apartment or eating a meal with a friend, savoring the time with yourself or others will create positive memories that you can look back upon and cherish.  (Tidbit: when eating with someone, put your phone away and give them your complete attention)


8. NOURISH. Your body is a temple. They say you are what you eat, so why settle for crap?  Choose fresh and organic when possible. Think pesticide free, locally produced, cage free, pasture raised, growth hormone free, seasonally grown, sustainably caught. Wholesome, minimally processed foods are best. Once you get used to putting healthy things in your body, you'll start to reject and feel like shit after eating fast food where profit is the name of the game. Health is wealth! 


9. GIVE. The energy you put out into the universe is the energy that is returned back to you. Even if you have no "thing" to give, try giving a smile or performing an act of kindness. Return that wallet/phone you found on the street, open doors for people, call someone by their name, help granny up the stairs, wish others a good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night. Reflecting on the moments of doing nice things for others can lift your mood. 


10. TREAT YOURSELF. You deserve it. Take a vacation, see places and experience new things. Get a massage, make it a ritual. Go to a restaurant with someone special and order whatever you want. Get a mani pedi, or buy a new outfit that'll make you feel confident. Drain negative energy away with a bath or a dip in the ocean. Remind yourself we live in a world of abundance. 


11. GOOD POSTURE. Pay attention to it when sitting, standing, or walking. Hold your head up high, look ahead of you, walk with intention. Trust me, it looks eight times better than slouching and shuffling about. Exude an air of confidence, it's sexy A.F. The list of benefits associated with good posture is truly endless. 


12. SMILE + LAUGH. You want to do this as much as possible. Other people want you to do this as much as possible. Laughter has been shown to be the best medicine, and a secret to longevity. Try not to take everything so seriously, there's usually always humor to be found in any given situation. 


13. HAPPY MUSIC. Listen to upbeat, feel-good songs. I cannot stress how important this is! Good music can instantly change your mood around. We all have certain songs in our life that send chills throughout our body, and if that's not proof of the power of music then I don't know what is! Music is such a great tool, it can evoke positive feelings and memories, make hips move, and even unite people (think "One Love" by Bob Marley). 


14. BEAUTY SLEEP. Don't sacrifice your rest. Wake up naturally with no alarm if possible. I always like to let the sun wake me up, although sometimes my cat interrupts my morning hours. If you are setting an alarm, try to time it with the body's natural circadian sleep cycle. You should be getting increments of 1.5 hours of sleep. 6 should be a minimum, 7.5 is absolutely perfect, and 9 is for those days when you reeeeeeeeeally need it. 


15. HAVE SEX. Find that special someone that really turns you on and excites you. Release, let go, have fun, go at it with gusto. Please your partner, there's no greater joy than knowing you're making someone very, very happy. And remember, be safe! 


16. BELIEVE IN MAGIC. I'm talking 'bout intuition and manifestation here. Have you ever thought about someone, and then that person calls/texts/emails you at that same moment? The more something is thought about, the more likely it will happen. When I first moved to NYC, I lived in a windowless basement and hung a poster of my favorite building (8 Spruce Street, by Frank Gehry) on my wall. A year or two later, it ended up being my actual view from my apartment on the 19th floor in downtown Manhattan. It's the same concept as vision boards - people swear by those! See something everyday, and it'll probably come your way. Coincidence? Maybe. Magical? I like to think so. It's all about the Law of Attraction baby! 


Thank you for taking the time to read about and contemplate happiness, I hope you've found this list to be helpful and inspiring. May your positive attitude continue to grow! 

Sending love from New York City,

Lucas Goossens