With the arrival of mental health awareness month, it’s more important than ever that we look at one of the most commonly asked questions in the mental health circuit: can you learn how to be happy again?
We think so.
While it may not always be easy, there are quite a few typical (and not so typical) things you can do to help boost your current and future happiness. Although we go into further detail below, here’s a quick shortlist:
- Being kind to yourself
- Making yourself the priority
- Eating healthier
- Trying something new
- Exercising if you can (even when you don’t want to)
- Establishing a routine
- Eating what makes you happy (within reason)
- Making time for yourself
- Letting yourself cry when you need to
- Letting go of unhealthy relationships
Can you Learn How To Be Happy Again?
No matter whether it takes days, months, or even years to come out of your slump(s), there are countless things you can do to learn how to be happy again. Which is why we’ve curated a list of activities you can do alone or with the help of friends and family, to light that spark of happiness in your life again. First up we have some of the more familiar things you’ve probably heard about, all of which serve a slightly different purpose.
Be Kind To Yourself
At the top of our list is the most important, and probably only, rule that you absolutely must listen to: be kind to yourself. You’ll have both good and bad days on your road to learning how to be happy again, and while it may seem easy on the good days, this rule is paramount for the bad days, too.
Allow yourself the forgiveness you deserve on those harder days. You don’t have to be constantly striving for improvement every single day in order to find the level of happiness you’re looking for. Some days will be harder and some days will be easier – and if you allow yourself a break on those harder days, you just might find they start to happen a little less often. Not only that but you deserve to be kind to yourself.
After all, you wouldn’t treat someone else poorly when they’re struggling with their mental health, would you? No? Then try to remember to show yourself that same kindness.
Make Yourself the Priority
Not a priority, the priority.
You probably have many things in your life that you consider a priority, but from time to time, it’s important that you put yourself at the very top of the list. Not all the time, but it’s good to see that your own needs are met first every now and then. Finding the people in your life who understand that you need to come first to yourself sometimes to create a balanced lifestyle can make a world of difference when it comes to figuring out how to be happy again.
Eat a Little Healthier
We’re not talking about a drastic change here, because let’s be honest: eating healthy isn’t always fun. And if specific foods or comfort foods help spark a little bit of happiness in your soul, we definitely don’t want to cut those out completely. But what you can do is start looking into ways to fit fruits and veggies into your diet in flavors you love.
For example, if pad thai is one of your favorite things to eat, try bringing some of that delicious peanut flavor over into some stir fried veggies. Or maybe you’re a choco-holic: adding a handful of chocolate chips to a healthier recipe with fruits and veggies, such as healthy carrot cake muffins, can bring in just enough sweetness to satiate your cravings. That way you can eat what you really want while also upgrading your diet.
Try a New Hobby
You might be surprised at how far the thrill of learning a new hobby can take you. We’re all chasing that boost of serotonin in our own way, and sometimes all it takes is that spark of happiness learning a new skill or hobby can give you. According to research, learning builds self confidence, determination, motivation, and increases happiness.
Do What You Can to Exercise (Even When You Don’t Want to)
Some days are easier than others when it comes to motivating yourself to work out, while other days are decidedly more difficult. And on those harder days, it can seem next to impossible to get up out of bed, let alone gather enough energy to exercise. Which is why it’s important that on those days, you give yourself a break.
Learning how to be happy again doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t need to do a full workout everyday in order to make a difference in your physical or mental health. Sometimes all you can do is get up and go for a short walk – and if your inability to work out doesn’t improve after that, that’s okay. Because you did your best for the day, you did what you could do, and that’s more than enough.
A Routine Can Help You Find Your Center
Humans are creatures of habit, so naturally, when our routines get thrown off kilter we can find ourselves scrambling for the comfort of a routine. Having a regular routine can reduce stress, cope with change, and create some of the healthy habits we mention here. It will just take some time. According to research, forming a new habit can take anywhere from 21 days to 10 weeks depending on your goals.
Some Not So Common Ways to Find Happiness
Now that we’ve gone over some of the more conventional means of learning how to be happy again, we have a few extra items that just don’t get talked about as often as they should.
Learning how to be happy again isn’t always easy. In fact, it likely won’t be if you’ve been in a slump for an extended period of time. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. Everyone deserves happiness regardless of their struggles and goals in life – and that includes you. Nonetheless, maybe the standard ways of finding happiness that we mentioned above just don’t seem to work for you. Fret not, we’ve got a couple more ideas up our sleeves.
Eat What Makes You Happy (Within Reason)
Yes it’s true that eating healthy can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, but you know what? Sometimes you just need to eat that cookie, cupcake, bar of chocolate, or bag of chips.
Why? Because it makes you happy. And that’s the whole point, right? Now, we’re not talking about going overboard and eating in excess, but having a controlled portion of the foods you love here and there is perfectly (mentally) healthy for you. And sometimes all you need is that little spark of joy, or the promise of your favorite snack at the end of the day, to lift your spirits and get you on the path to living a happy life.
Make Time For Yourself
It might sound redundant, because of course you spend all day with yourself.
And how can being alone with yourself teach you how to be happy again when you're always with yourself? But if you stop and think about it for a moment – how much time do you really spend doing what you want to do? Not what you have to do, what you’re obligated to do, errands you have to run, or chores that need to be done around the house. But something that you do for yourself just because you want to, even if it’s not productive to the rest of your day.
Do you read a little before bed or take a few minutes to relax to your favorite music? Or maybe you want to snuggle up with a pet for a while or watch an episode or two of that new show that just came out? Whatever it might be, remember to make a little time for yourself every single day. Because you deserve it.
Let Yourself Cry if You Need to Cry
While it can feel counterproductive at first, research has actually shown that crying is good for you and can make you feel better. The urge to cry is completely natural and can result from either physical, emotional, or mental pain. And despite the “just tough it out” mentality many people were raised with, letting yourself cry when you need to can release stress inducing hormones, bring your body back to homeostasis, and improve your mood.
Let Go of Unhealthy Relationships
Be it a friendship, partnership, or even familial relationship – if it’s unhealthy and unsupportive, you may need to let it go. A healthy support system and environment is imperative to a happy lifestyle. Which means that if you want to make yourself a priority in your life (and you should), no matter how hard it can and likely will be, you may need to say goodbye to relationships that cause you stress and ultimately decrease your mental health.
Additional Mental Health Resources
Learning how to be happy again is hard. And whether your happiness appears to be improving or not, there’s no shame in asking for help. Below we’ve provided a few resources you can contact for free so you can get the help you need.
- SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Helpline is free, confidential, available 24/7 365 days a year, and is available in both English and Spanish for any individuals or families struggling with mental health or substance use.
- 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline
For more information on alternative methods to learning how to be happy again (especially during mental health awareness month), keep an eye on our frequently updated blog. Looking to stay up to date on the latest supplement news and cbdMD’s upcoming special offers? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or chat with someone live today!