Six Hacks To Feel Happier Instantly

Health And Wellness, Heartbreak

What exactly is happy? It’s one of those words we use quite liberally to describe a state that is permanently in flux.  When people tell me they just want to feel happy, I always have to ask them what exactly happy means to them and build from there.

However, there are a few common themes – typically revolving around NOT having things, such a not having money worries, relationship issues, health problems, time constraints, and work stress to name the most common.  With that in mind, I will share with you my favorite instant happy hacks that work for me very time!

1- Focus On What You Have

Its all too easy when we are feeling down or under stress to think about everything going wrong in our lives and everything we don’t have.  All this does is propagate the feelings and send us down that spiraling staircase.

An instant feel-better fix to turn that thought process around to thinking about all the things we do have and all the things that are going right in our lives.  It can help to scribble these out on a piece of paper or into your phone, dictate them into notes if needs be, but have them staring at you to remind you that all is not bad, even if it does indeed feel sad.

2- Gratitude Fest

This is an amazing exercise I do in my workshops.  Expressing gratitude is a high vibrational practice which means when we do it, we raise our vibe so much higher  and that in turn releases those ‘happy hormones’ that we are desperately seeking. 

The gratitude fest is a 5 minute challenge where for that whole time – and yes I do recommend a timer! – you keep talking out loud about everything you have to be grateful for.  It may start off as a struggle when you are feeling low, but once you start, you’ll find all kinds of ectopic things to keep adding, from the healthy, or not so healthy but delicious breakfast you had that day, to the postman who delivered you mail.

Our brains cannot focus on two contrasting emotions at any one time, so if we tell it to focus on gratitude, it simply cannot feel sad at the same time.

3- Get Physical

When we feel unhappy, our body’s natural behavior is to become slovenly.  We feel under stress, we want to hibernate and feel sorry for ourselves and our body keeps on releasing more of those sad hormones.  It takes a bit of effort, but once you start you will feel the benefit within less than a minute!

Force yourself to stand up, jump around, put on some music of an uplifting song you love and dance around like crazy.  Go out for a walk, hug a tree if that’s your thing, but I guarantee it will help you feel happy, so is well worth the effort!

4- The Magical Image

Feeling happier is all about finding a way to tap into those emotions without logical reason. What image would lift your mood?  It may an image of outdoors in nature – a mountain top or a beach.  It may be a picture of your loved ones or happier times.

Keep the image somewhere easily accessible – on your desk or stored on your phone as a favourite and whenever you feel sad, refer to it. The only rule here is that the image needs to be a time you remember being happy, and the instant you look at it, you won’t be able to feel sad because your brain has long ago trained that memory to make you feel happy.

5- Let It Pass Through You

Now I realize this will seem counter-intuitive, but the reality is that sometimes the more we try to focus on getting out of feeling unhappy, the more unhappy we feel.  This is because we focus our thoughts on the fact that we feel unhappy and often are trying to work out why that is.  Let’s face it, some days we just wake up unhappy with no obvious idea why and want to snap ourselves out it, so what do we do?  We focus on trying to work out the reason, and that quite simply focuses our attention even more on the problem.

One great strategy to counter this is to focus your thoughts on NOT thinking about it.  This doesn’t mean paying attention to the opposite – sometimes that is too big a jump for the brain to handle when we feel in the doldrums.  But we can tell ourselves to let it pass and simply distract ourselves with other things. 

I picture it as waving it through a doorway, moving it along swiftly and then get on with my to-do list.  Amazingly when I come to think about it again, I can’t even tap into the unhappy feeling I had started the day with.

Why does it work?  By telling our brain to let it pass, we are also telling our brain that we want to seek out a different feeling, and it finds it for us. Trust in the process is implicit with this one.

6- Build A Reserve

Happiness is not a permanent state.  I like to refer to that feeling that all is well as being luminous, because no matter how much we want it, we simply can’t feel permanently happy.  Of course the good news about that is that the opposite also applies – we can’t be permanently sad either.

To be in a state of luminosity means that we can feel at peace and have an inner sense of joy even if it isn’t actually happy.  If that is our base rate, then it doesn’t take very much to push us up to feeling happy.

Imagine a luminous state as perhaps being three quarters of the way up a mountain – we’re more than half way, so every reason to feel like we are winning albeit there is  way to go, and then it doesn’t take much from that point to find the motivation to push on to the summit – which is where happiness is.

How can we find the luminous state I hear you ask?  That is all to do with raising your vibration as a person and becoming more conscious.  The more conscious we are, the more we respond to things rather than react. The more we react, the more cortisol and other stress hormones are released in our bodies. Conversely, the more we respond, the more endorphins and other happy hormones we release, so it’s like a regular gym workout – only for the brain rather than just the body. 

Daily practices of gratitude, journaling, meditation, using your intuition, exercise, healthy eating, energetic communication of your needs, living by your values, honoring boundaries, listening to your body and ensuring you get enough sleep will all help you reach a state of luminosity.

One final to note to finish on.  If we rely on anything external to make us happy, be that a thing such as more money or a job, or a person, such as the perfect relationship, then the feeling of being happy will be transient. If I continue with my mountain theme – it’s a bit like reaching false peaks.  You keep climbing thinking that when you reach the peak you will be happy, only to discover as you turn a corner that the peak was false and there is still more to climb, so the euphoria is only temporary. Likewise, if someone had you supported with a rope, then if they cut the rope, you will fall.   Once you reach the peak, you’ll also be looking for the next challenge to make you feel euphoric again.  

Yes you can go on a shopping spree, chat to a friend, moan to a colleague, write a list of goals or whatever other quick fix you can think of to feel happy, but they all rely on the externals.  The hacks I have shared with you in this article all focus on the inside – on your core and on you directly.  They are far more powerful than distraction therapy as I call it.  Not only are they powerful, but they are instant and effective, so give them a go and feel the long-lasting effect!

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Dr Rana Al-Falaki is a core-energy coach specializing in helping people create work-life balance and feel fulfillment by doing less and being more.  You can contact her and find more information about core-energy coaching and her best-selling book Women Who Want More: How To Create A Balanced & Fulfilled Life via her website.