Life is full of challenging moments. Whether it’s a stressful job or a global pandemic, there is no shortage of things that can erode your joy. If left unchecked, life’s challenges can lead to anxiety and deplete your energy.

What can you do to lift your mood when things seem like they are spiraling out of control? The good news is you have the power to boost your happiness each day. Here are 7 things you can do to maintain your joy in challenging times.

1. Get Moving

Your gym may be closed or operating with restrictions. That shouldn’t cause you to abandon your daily exercise routine. If you feel tired or sluggish, the following physical activities can get you out of a slump.

  • Yoga
  • Jumping rope
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Rebounding
  • Kickboxing
  • Strength training

2. Practice Gratitude

It’s difficult to be grateful when life is throwing you one curve ball after another. However, practicing gratitude can change your perspective. What’s more, scientific research suggests that gratitude is good for your body and mind.

Benefits of practicing gratitude can include:

  • Shift your attention away from unproductive emotions
  • Boost your self-esteem
  • Improve your personal relationships
  • Become more optimistic
  • Reduce your blood pressure

3. Try New Things

When was the last time that you tried something new? While it’s good to have daily routines, you should be careful not to get stuck in a rut. New activities can increase your excitement and give you something to look forward to.

Drive through a new neighborhood in your city. Learn a new language. Create a digital photo album of the pictures in your phone. Order a meal from a new restaurant in your area. Write the book that you have been meaning to write.

4. Take Care of Yourself

When life gets stressful, self-care seems to be last on our lists of things to do. This is especially true if you have a spouse, elderly parents or children. It can be easy to put other people’s needs above our own. Self-care is a necessity – not a luxury. If you don’t take care of your basic needs, who will?

5. Set New Goals

Goals provide direction and a vision for your life. Without them, you may find yourself drifting along without making progress. There are many types of goals. These include career, education, financial, family, artistic, physical, leisure and public service goals.

Think about what you want at this stage in your life. Brainstorm actions you can take to meet your goals. Write them down. Take action each day until you achieve them.

6. Laugh Often

Laughter is a simple thing that offers a variety of benefits. It can strengthen your immune system and boost your mood. Laughing releases endorphins and temporarily reduces pain. Getting a good laugh can release tension and stress.

Ways to get a daily dose of laughter include:

  • Watch funny movies.
  • Connect with people who make you laugh.
  • Read funny jokes.

7. Celebrate Small Wins

We live in a society that only celebrates great achievements. Small wins seldom make the cover of Forbes, Entrepreneur and Vogue magazines. As a result, many people dismiss small victories in their lives.

Achieving major goals can take months or years. Why wait until you reach the finish line to acknowledge your achievements? Celebrate your progress often. It can build your confidence and motivate you to keep going.

Want to learn more about these tips for a happier life? These resources can help.

  • The Gratitude Project: How the Science of Thankfulness Can Rewire Our Brains for Resilience, Optimism and the Greater Good by Jeremy Adam Smith
  • Goals! How to Get Everything You Want – Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy
  • Plan a Happy Life: Define Your Passion, Nurture Your Creativity and Take Hold of Your Dreams by Stephanie Fleming

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