24 Happiness Habits to Improve Your Summer Break
Developing good happiness habits is a good idea as you pause from the classroom for summer break. This is your chance to hit the reset button on all the things that weren’t going right, or all the things that are okay but could use some improvement.
In the following article, we’re going to highlight 24 practices that, if put into place, will greatly enhance the fun and enjoyment you get out of the summer. Commit to them now, and they can pay dividends for the rest of your life. We begin!
1. Exercise Every Day
This is a no-brainer. While you may not like running or lifting weights, you can find something enjoyable or at least manageable that will press your body to the limit. Some enjoy swimming or bicycling. Keep trying until you find it.
Not only will it make you feel better at the end of the day, it’ll help you look better and ward off disease. You’ll end up as your most confident self. And that will spill over, in positive ways, to every part of your life.
During the summertime, you won’t have as many distractions to get in the way. So take the extra time to get on a routine of physical activity. Your body will thank you for it.
2. Appreciate What You Have
We waste a lot of calories worrying about all the things we don’t have. The money, the cars, the house. But if you live in the US, you probably have your share of successes or comforts. Where do you seek refuge in times of trouble?
Is it in a video game? A good book? Perhaps you have a few friends or family members who are your everything?
Whatever good thing that you can observe in your life, notice it. Think about what your life would be without it. Then, find time to appreciate that it’s there, even if it’s only for a few seconds at a time.
3. Practice Mindfulness
What exactly is mindfulness, and how do you practice it? You won’t have to look far to find suggestions online or at your local library or bookstore. But take each piece of advice as just that. Advice. It’s not iron-clad.
One person might be able to practice mindfulness in a crowded room while another will need complete and total silence. It doesn’t matter. The key is in how well you’re able to focus on the world around you. The sensory details. The outside forces. Their implications for your life. Strategies. Action plans. All the things you need to function.
It’s really about taking inventory of your life and all the moving plates that are a part of it. You do that however you need to. Just do it.
4. Get Outdoors
Sunlight has a number of positive benefits on mood and physical health. That’s why it is often prescribed by mental health professionals as a treatment for depression.
Some forms of depression are tied to the changes in seasons and flare up more than usual during the winter and fall months. This condition has a name. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And yes, there is a way around it, though you probably won’t need it for your summer vacation.
Just in case, though, look for lamps that emit natural light and leave them on in the room where you plan to spend the most time. Also, open the blinds to get as much natural light through as possible. But the number one thing to do is to get outside as much as you can, and do something fun and active.
5. Hang with Friends and Family
Your friends are the family you get to pick. So at the very least, find some time for them. But if you have a family member who’s a positive influence, then find some room for them as well.
Be careful of people who are related to you by blood and think, somehow, that gives them the “right” to suck away your optimism and positivity with their own dreary outlook. You might have to move these people to the back burner. And that can be tough, especially when they’re a sibling or parent.
But ultimately, you’ll need to do it to shore up your own happiness. Sometimes it will demand direct confrontation. Other times, you can phase people out gradually. You may still spend time with them, but it won’t be as much and you’ll find it easier to control your own negative thinking when you are around them.
6. Find Purpose in Their Goals
We all have goals. But we aren’t all invested in them. Sometimes we try to accomplish something simply because our jobs depend on it. Other times, we go above and beyond because it matters to us. That’s the point that you want to get to, not just in your career but other aspects of life as well.
Now there are two ways you can do this: you can only go after the goals that are in-born. The “passions” that come naturally to you. Doing that is as easy as breathing, though when stakes are added to the equation — like you could lose your job if you don’t do it well — it can suck the fun out of something you once found motivating. So make sure you maintain balance in all things.
Oh, and before we forget, the second thing you can do to find purpose in your goals is this. Go searching for it. Yes, sometimes you need the intestinal fortitude to seek out the areas where you can find purpose. That takes emotional intelligence and empathy for others. Work on these two things, and you’ll live a life filled with meaning.
7. Cheer Others On
Sometimes you’re not in the position to be the leader or the superstar. That’s okay. Cheer on those who are. Doing so will create a boomerang effect in your own life where others elevate you.
See, people are attracted to positivity. And they’re attracted to givers. Being a cheerleader for others requires both. If you can exhibit those qualities and convey that to other people, then you will be remembered when opportunities arise later down the line.
Try it. See how people respond. We promise: if you do, you won’t regret it.
Some decisions and outcomes are beyond your control. Others are the clear result of your own drive, for better and worse. You should take the time to consider “how you got here” on a routine basis. Doing so helps you in a couple of ways.
It allows you to view the mistakes that you’ve made in your life with a sense of understanding so that you don’t repeat those at a later point. It also allows you to highlight your successes, thus giving you direction for how to handle things, where to focus, when to act, etc.
So contemplate the past regularly. Look ahead to future decisions. Weigh possible outcomes. Do all the planning possible so you’ll know how to succeed and, if you don’t, how to respond to it.
9. Stop Caring About Stuff
By “stuff,” we mean material possessions. Anything that takes up space and gets quickly forgotten about. This may be difficult to do if you love shopping. But there is an alternative route that makes it easier.
Choose experiences instead. Save your money and time for something you can’t do every day. Travel to another country, or at least to a big city or other tourist attraction. Get out of your element and give yourself the type of life that could fill up the pages of a novel.
Those experiences will make you a more cultured and successful human being. And they’ll go a long way to ensure you never look back on your life with regrets.
10. Give, Give, Give
Giving may not be something you can do with money. But you can still volunteer your time and elbow grease to a worthy cause. Look for opportunities to do so.
And if you can give with money, that’s cool, too. Sometimes money gets the job done while other times, action fills in nicely. Either way, giving will make you appreciated, and as we’ve previously discussed, that has a knack for coming back to you.
11. Be Appreciative
We’ve already made a point of discussing the importance of being grateful for what you have. But you also should be appreciative when people do things to show they care.
Throughout life, you’ll encounter men or women who do something nice just to be nice. Saying “thank you” and recognizing their gift is important. Some may prefer you to not do it publicly, but all appreciate it. And when you make a note of saying thanks frequently, people tend to want to give to you more.
They do this because it’s nice to feel appreciated. Show them you do, and the gifts will keep coming in myriad ways.
12. Practice Forgiveness
Admittedly, this is a hard one for us. It’s probably a hard one for you, too. Or maybe there’s a threshold where it becomes difficult.
You may not carry grudges for the smaller slights that occur. But when people cheat on you or steal from you or hurt someone you love, it’s all-bets-are-off. Even so, anger and vengeance are corrosive.
Eventually, they will consume you as well even if you’re “lucky” enough to get back at the other person. Don’t let those negative feelings win. Take some time at the start of your summer break to let go of the things that bothered you during the year.
You never actually have to go up to someone and say, “I forgive you” to forgive them. You can just make the decision in your mind to not let what they did bother and control you any longer. That’s a form of forgiveness. But for it to truly be forgiveness, you can’t let those negative feelings linger, and there’s no fooling yourself.
13. Expect the Best and Will It to Happen
Many times you get out of something what you put into it. The same outcomes can be predicted when it comes to your attitude.
If you go into a situation expecting the worst, expecting to lose, then you’re likely going to. By the same logic, expecting victory can help you to overcome some pretty steep odds.
The 1980 US Olympic hockey team had been humiliated by their Soviet adversaries in an earlier encounter. Before they started believing they were a team. But when the semifinal match came and they were forced to face that team again, quite a few things had changed.
They learned their chemistry as a team. They racked up a string of wins. And when they hit the ice, they believed they could win. That’s exactly what ended up happening, and they would go onto capture the Gold in their next game. You don’t get to that kind of growth by waiting for the other shoe to drop.
14. Lean In to Strengths
You may not be the strongest guy. The most tactical. You may not have a first-one-in-the-door personality. But you can succeed in other ways if you just lean into whatever it is you do well.
And we all have something. What are your strengths? Which ones come naturally, and which ones do you have to work on? Take this summer break to identify them and put them in motion in whatever ways or opportunities arise.
15. Make Plans
If you always have something to look forward to, then you’ll be less likely to dwell on the things that aren’t going exactly to plan in the present. So do a forecast. What are some cool things you can do in the month of June, July? What will be the one last big thing you do in early August before school starts back?
Your timeline doesn’t have to follow this exactly. It just needs a few different “markers” that represent events or experiences you want to do that are waiting for you on the horizon. Plan away and challenge yourself routinely.
16. Stay Away from the News
News today isn’t what it was. A handful of networks control the landscape. Facebook is their platform of choice. And they all come up with as much clickbait and misreporting as they possibly can in order to confirm the preexisting biases of their audiences.
Do yourself a favor. If you ever read a headline on a website and it sounds snarky or opinionated, take it with a grain of salt. It’s just a “reporter” trying to get you to see their side of a news situation. But news reporting isn’t supposed to have sides. Keep that in mind before clicking, reading, or sharing.
We’ve said all that to remind you that news people have figured out what gets the most attention, and it’s usually the negative. The more of that you consume, the more you’ll be negative. And since you can seldom do anything about what you’re reading, it’s a fruitless waste of your emotional energy.
Rule of thumb. Keep up with what you need to know. Let the talking heads talk at each other. You don’t get involved or worried about it.
17. Cure Your ‘Perfectionist’ Tendencies
“I’m a pefectionist,” said no one who ever did anything perfectly. The truth is that we all make mistakes. Sometimes they’re small mistakes. Sometimes they’re big ones.
No matter what, we’ve got to learn to give ourselves a little bit of slack. If something doesn’t go off exactly as you planned it, consider what did go right. Let that point you towards the weak spots. Then and only then can you learn from it and improve.
So stop thinking perfection is possible. The only thing that is possible is your best. If you give that much, then you’ll grow and improve. And that’s all anyone can really ask for.
18. Learn to Take Things at Face Value
Face Value isn’t always what’s going on, we’ll admit. But more often than not, people aren’t out to get you. And if you give them the benefit of the doubt, you’ll realize that.
You’ll also spend less time obsessing over things that don’t matter in the slightest. So let Face Value be your default setting. Give people more than one chance to prove otherwise.
19. Stop Caring About How You Measure Up
How you measure up to someone else does you no good whatsoever. How can a seventh-grade basketball player compare himself to LeBron James and think he’s worth anything? He needs a more realistic and reachable measuring stick.
As it turns out, that measuring stick is not an external one. It’s internal. It’s an individual’s own self.
The only comparison that should ever really matter to you is the one that asks, “Am I better today than I was yesterday?” If you’re always improving in whatever endeavor you’re trying, you’ll end up where you need to be in your field of “competitors,” whomever those competitors may be.
20. Do You
This sort of goes with the last one but it can be a little more expansive. We’re not talking skill sets or education here. Sure, that’s part of it, but it also expands to cover the things you do that make you feel better about life in general.
It could be getting a massage or your hair done. Maybe it’s going to the movies with friends.
Focus on activities that make you feel better about who you are as a person. That’s what we mean by, “You do you.”
21. Make Others Happy
When life gets hard and it doesn’t seem like there are any prospects in sight, it can be really hard to focus on your own personal happiness. Fortunately, there’s a happiness habit to help you through these feelings of hopelessness and depression.
It’s called making others happy. And you do that through a generous spirit and taking genuine joy in the knowledge that you made someone else’s life better. Do this enough. Commit to it. And we promise it’ll come back to you at some point, usually when you need it the most.
22. Force It
Forcing happiness doesn’t seem possible. And truthfully, it isn’t a sustainable model. But sometimes you’ve got to “fake it until you make it.”
How does “forcing it” look? A little like this:
- Thinking positive thoughts
- Telling yourself things will work out
- Being nice to someone to whom others are not
- Continuing on even when circumstances seem dire or hopeless
If you keep these plates spinning long enough, things will eventually get you to a better point. Just keep trying.
23. Get a Pet
Animals bring untold amounts of happiness and joy to millions of people across the globe. If you’re having trouble doing any of this on your own, adopt a puppy from a shelter or purchase one (if you can afford it).
Giving yourself something sweet and innocent to love and care for — something that’s going to love you back, guaranteed — will provide purpose and focus through life’s hardships. Try it out if you haven’t, and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
24. Make It a Priority
Happiness doesn’t need to be something you feel. It needs to be an item on your to-do list. And it needs to be there every single day you’re alive.
By placing yourself in the situation where you’re working towards happiness, you’ll eventually get there. But don’t be complacent. It’s not a destination. It’s something you have to keep working at every day of your life.
These Happiness Habits Can’t Help But Improve Your Life
Hopefully, these happiness habits will put you on your way to a life worth living. Even if you just start with one and master it, you’ll experience a noticeable uptick in the way you look at and feel about life.
What are some of the happiness habits that you feel comfortable talking about? We’d certainly like to hear. Share them in the comments section below if you don’t mind!
[Featured Image by Facebook]