5 Ways to Feel Happier Every Day (and Get More Productive Because You’re Happier)

Some big-picture components of happiness are long-term endeavors to improve. But there are also surprisingly simple “evolve your state of mind” things you can do to increase feelings of happiness in the short term.

You can take active steps to increase your feelings of happiness every day — and let those feelings make you more effective in all you other goals and endeavors. One example? Think of the “STAGE” verbs — savor, thanks, asipire, give and emphathize.

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To me, happiness is the ultimate goal.

I don’t at all mean to minimize the importance of goals like achievement, service to others, morality, excellence, and others. But our mix of these other goals is rolled up into what it takes to be happy. So for each of us in a highly personalized way, realizing happiness means, by-definition, we’ve achieved “enough” of our other goals.

And, greater day-to-day happiness makes us more effective in pursuing these other major goals. It also gives us more longevity to do so.

So, happiness is both a product and a cause of achieving other goals.

Some big-picture components of happiness are long-term endeavors to improve. But there are also surprisingly simple “evolve your state of mind” things you can do to increase feelings of happiness in the short term.

And, consciously seeking happiness is like getting started on fitness. A purposeful, modest start builds its own momentum, man.

“S.T.A.G.E.” FRAMEWORK FOR INCREASING HAPPINESS

A company called Happify suggests a “STAGE” framework of five simple things you can do to improve happiness, anywhere and anytime. They are:

SAVOR the world around you, and the experience of life, by actively making note of the good stuff. Being mindful of beauty, good news and other positives makes people more optimistic.

THANK others, yourself, and the world itself for the good things. Expressing gratitude boosts happiness.

ASPIRE with a sense of purpose and possibilities . Focusing on positive future states makes the present feel like a better place. AND, it helps achieve that even-better vision of the future.

GIVE of yourself and your resources. Giving is great for the recipient, but research shows it’s even better for the mental state of the giver.

EMPATHIZE with others. Empathy is recognizing others’ view of the world, taking it yourself so you can understand it, and then effectively communicating to them that you’ve done this. It does great things for relationships. And relationships, in turn, do great things for you, man.

Here’s a short article from Happify with more detail.

FITNESS & HAPPINESS: A MUTUALLY-REINFORCING RELATIONSHIP

This wouldn’t be an OlderBeast article if I didn’t make a plug for physical fitness contributing to mental wellness and happiness.

Please think about the fact that your regular workouts are a great time and mental environment to do these happiness-enhancing things. Especially the savor/thank/aspire ones, which are more of internal-mental functions and less about direct, immediate action with others.

 

“Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” (Grateful Dead, Scarlet Begonias—click to listen)

 

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Know Your Enemy: Understanding Stress & Planning To Counter It

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So please read on. We’ll define stress in a simple way, summarize a (scary) list of the negative health impacts stress can have, and discuss three basic approaches to combat stress (including exercise, of course).

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Fitness & the 5 Stages of Fatherhood

For those who have or will have the opportunity to be a father, it’s one of the very greatest and most meaningful parts of life.

Getting and staying fit – via exercise, nutrition and mind-and-spirit wellness – is one of the most important things you can do to improve and sustain your life and your enjoyment of it. For the benefit of yourself and your children.

So, with “uber” life goals in mind, commitments to fathering and fitness SHOULD go hand in hand.

But day-to-day, it’s not always easy to pull off both. Precious time spent with kids heightens time pressure we already feel from work and other “pre-kids” obligations. Fitness is often what gets squeezed out.

With dads – current and future in mind – here are five suggestions for how to follow this “best of both” path, organized by the stages of fatherhood.

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How to Overcome “That Sluggish Feeling” When It Threatens Your Workout Plan

There are a bunch of reasons why you might NOT work out today. Some are good, and many are not-so-good. Of all possible reasons, the one I really hate works like this.

1. You plan to work out that day. Then as the planned time nears, you start to feel a physical and/or mental sluggishness. Nothing dramatic, but you just don’t feel like working out. You start to flirt with the idea of taking the day off, considering various possible justifications.

2. But rather than explicitly, decisively declaring a day off – sometimes you need one, even if unplanned – you let minutes tick by without moving toward your workout OR deciding not to. Deep down, you might know what you’re doing, but you don’t admit it to yourself.

3. Then all of a sudden, voila, it’s “too late” for your workout. You missed the window of time you had before your next work, family or personal obligation. Even though you caused this, you don’t feel glad about the “can’t workout now” reality. You immediately feel like you’ve let yourself down.

This ever happen to you?  If so, you just fell victim to That Sluggish Feeling (“TSF”).  

I’ve devised a new response to TSF when it strikes. I don’t seek to move directly from sluggishness to exercise. Instead, I do a short, easy “bridge” activity in-between, to change my energy and get me into a better frame-of-mind to decide if I’m really, intentionally going to skip that workout. Here’s how it works.

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