5 little things you can do to increase your happiness

Have a list of your achievements

There are these days where we all feel like non-achievers – maybe your paper got rejected, your experiment did not work out the way you planned, or you just don´t get on with all the tasks that are on your list. So many things that may go wrong. It´s easy to forget what you actually already have achieved in moments like that. So, why don´t you write a list of things you have already achieved in your life, and that made you really proud? Take your time to think about those, and write them down in detail. Every time you feel like you are just not good enough, have a look at your list of achievements, and remember that you already have achieved a lot!

Write down 3 good things at the end of each day

Somehow, most of us have the tendency to think mainly about the things that did not go well, and forget about the little good things that happen to us on a daily basis, or take them for granted. Luckily we can retrain our brain (neuroplasticity, yeah!) to learn to focus more on the positive things in life.

There is a little but very effective practice for that: Three good things. At the end of each day (or in the following morning), write down three things that went well for you that day, or things you particularly liked. It is important to create a physical record of your items by writing them down to be able to reflect and follow up on these things. I´m writing the three good things in my calendar, and read through them to find the three highlights of the week each Sunday – and I´m really always positively surprised how many good things happened during the week! It´s so easy to forget those over the negative things happening. Obviously, you won´t have huge good things, like e.g. a published paper, a promotion, or similar big life events on a daily basis – but there will be tons of little things you should learn to be more aware of, and that really shape our daily life….e.g. a nice chat with a colleague, the first sunny day of the year, some really nice food, or you finished a part of your work (e.g. the introduction of the manuscript). It´s all about the little things really! Train your brain to value them!

Reflect on what you are thankful for

In the same line try to practice gratitude! It´s so easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong and feel like we are non-achievers and nothing works out well. But there are so many positive things we should be grateful for. So, try to train yourself to reflect on the positive things in your life and what you are thankful for. On a daily basis, best in the mornings, reflect what you are grateful for in your life – e.g. the wonderful people in your life, your health, nice things that happened to you. Do not adapt to this wonderful things! It´s a nice practice to write those things down and put them in a jar, and have a look at that from time to time. You´ll find that you will be more aware of all the good things happening to you after a while and that there are tons of things to be thankful for in your life.

 Be kind to others

Turns out that we are not that egoistic at all – there is scientific proof that it has a longer lasting positive impact to do something nice for someone else than for ourselves. So, try to do something kind for someone else on a regular basis – this might be to help someone at work, or just small things like complimenting someone, giving people a smile or grabbing a coffee for them. We can have a huge impact on others and our own mood with tiny effort. Let´s be kind to each other and make everyone’s life better!

Watch some cat videos

Anything to explain that one? There must be a reason that there are so many cat videos on the internet – they make us feel good! So, if you´re having a bad day, take five minutes and feel a bit better!