Skip to content

How to be happier: 15 tips for a more fulfilling life

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? Stressed? Lost in the madness of life and looking for some ways that you can bring more happiness into your life? Do you fancy trying some new things that will show you how to be happier?

You’ve arrived at the right blog post, tips for how to be happier in day to day life is exactly what I’m here to chat about with you today.

Firstly I just want to address that, though this blog post focuses on how to bring more joy and feel good emotions into your life, I am absolutely not suggesting that this should be the state we expect ourselves to live in all the time.

Learning how to be happier, in my eyes, is about learning how to be more present, to awaken to our bodies senses more (instead of thinking so much) and how to tune into the smaller things in life. Learning how to be happier, particularly during a pandemic where we cannot rely on external sources of joy, is about tuning into ourselves a little more than we ever have before.

I know self-development is a scary thing, it’s hard work and it can be really uncomfortable… but if we persevere we can uncover the gold within us and no external circumstances can shake the inner strength we build.

Through these tips and through adding them into your daily routine, you will begin to build resilience to the twists and turns that life throws at you and you will build your tool kit to help you overcome the challenges that come your way.

Are you ready to dive in?

Other posts on my blog that you may love also:

How to be happier: 15 tips for a more fulfilling life

1. Stop expecting so much of yourself

I’m going to start with this one because if you’re on this post I can only imagine you’re looking for one or two (or 10) new ideas that may reduce your stress levels and bring more happiness and fulfilment into your life. Truth is, so much of our natural joy is taken away by the expectation and pressure that we put on ourselves. If you want to know how to be happier, you have got to be kinder to yourself first and foremost.

If you don’t have time for a 45-minute workout today, a 5-minute walk will do perfectly fine. If you don’t have the energy to speak to your friends today, take today off and have a bath / early night.

I know I’ve created a list here but lists don’t always have to be ticked off. This one certainly doesn’t hold any expectation, so let’s go through these ideas together and simply see where it feels good to add a little more of them into our lives.

There’s no such thing as perfect. There’s no such thing as getting it all done every day. Being human means that we show up the best we can and we have compassion for ourselves when things feel a little tough. Riding the waves of emotion and energy is life, it is human for your moods and energy levels to fluctuate so please stop being so hard on yourself. It’s absolutely unrealistic to be happy/energised/productive all the time. Release yourself from that expectation… and keep reading.

How to be happier: 15 tips for a more fulfilling life

2. Don't engage with technology first thing when you wake up

When we find ourselves in a busy period with say, work, it’s all too easy to wake up and switch our emails straight on. If we are going through a relationship difficulty we might develop a habit of checking our phone for messages.

If we don’t check in with ourselves and catch ourselves first thing, our mind will start reeling off thoughts that have us believe we don’t have time for anything else.

Before we know it we are already neck-deep in stress after what was a peaceful night’s sleep. This is a dangerous cycle.

Take some time when you wake up to check in with how you’re feeling, go for a walk and feel the sun or the wind on your face.

Place your phone away from your reach / outside your bedroom to help you break this habit. It honestly does you no good at all. Need an alarm? Buy an old school alarm clock or simply get up to go and turn your phone alarm off.

Spend a minute with yourself first thing in the morning if you want to explore how to be happier. It could be for 5 minutes one day, 30 minutes the next, 10 the day after and 1 hour the next. You could write in your journal, breathe, do yoga, go for a walk…Whatever feels good, just make sure you do it.

How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it. Set an intention for the day and set some boundaries for your work hours and what you can realistically achieve before you get lost in it. Take control.

And on the days where you don’t want to take the time? These are the days where it’s even more important to.

3. Take some time to breathe, slowly.

When we are in a state of stress/anxiety/depression it’s all too easy to feed ourselves negative thoughts. Our ego doesn’t want to be happy, we have to take control back when we see these spirals beginning. When we are in these low vibrational states we activate our fight or flight response and our sympathetic nervous system too (this is our body’s way to prepare us to attack, to move and to protect) and our breathing often becomes very shallow and in our chest. 

We can actively turn this around and reduce the feelings of stress in our body by taking some deep belly breaths through the nose and out through the mouth (or nose).

The reason I say to breathe through your nose is that this activates your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which signals to your body that you are okay, that you are safe and that you can relax.

Take a 5 second inhale, hold for 4 and then exhale for 6.

Know someone that could benefit from these how to be happier tips? I’d love for you to share this blog post with them 🙂

See my FREE Beginner’s Guide To Meditation here.

4. Get your butt outdoors

Nature always has our back. Come rain or shine nature will ground us and remind us whats important. Why do we love nature so much?

Nature accepts us for who we are, flaws and all. Nature holds the space for you to be in whatever place you need to be in.

Whether it’s letting out a scream in the forest, chucking on your boots and running through the puddles, running a loop of the forest or sitting to meditate / journal, nature has got your back! In Nature there’s no expectation of you, no judgement, the pressure is completely relieved and you can connect with the earth’s grounding and calm energy whenever you need it most.

5. Make sure you're finding time to play / have a passion

Growing up doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and let your inner child play anymore! As we grow up we are conditioned to be productive, to earn money, to make a ‘success’ of yourself career wise and somewhere along the way we forget to play.

Give yourself permission to do whatever makes you feel alive.

That could be rolling down a hill with your friends until you go dizzy, singing your heart out to an old school CD, heading out on a last-minute road trip, picking up an activity you used to enjoy when you were younger or jumping in the puddles with your dog and seeing who can get the muddiest.

Stop caring so much about what other people think and allow yourself to let loose! Allow yourself to play. Allow yourself to find a new passion that has nothing to do with earning money or work.

Do something for you if you want to explore how to be happier!

Read my 30 things to do at home when you’re bored.

6. Build relationships with other humans

I’m writing this blog post during the pandemic and so if we’re still in it when you read this, this point needs to be consciously activated. In ‘normal’ life, we build relationships very easily… in the workplace, at the gym, at the cafe etc. Right now most of the human connection we are used to has been forbidden but it’s more important than ever to find it.

Call up one of your besties either to let off a bit of steam (maybe ask them if they are in a place to listen first) or call them for a change of pace and conversation. There are only so many Zoom calls you can do before you need a good old laugh with your favourite humans.

We are in this together, even when the world feels like a lonely place. How to be happier? Connect with the people you love.

7. Write down / mentally note gratitude daily

If you find yourself getting overwhelmed and caught up in the downward spiral we all know too well, a gratitude list is a great way to save yourself and switch the attention in your mind.

Like attracts like. If you start reeling off things that aren’t how you’d like them to be, or that you haven’t done yet or that are causing you grief, it will be very easy to stay on that path and your mind will happily accumulate things on that list for you.

When you switch your mind’s attention to gratitude, the same thing happens but in the opposite direction. When you channel gratitude you will feel the warmth running through you and the greatest thing? There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for…

8. Start journaling (it's so easy)

When our minds are filled with ideas, tasks, to-do lists, emails and deadlines it can often be overwhelming and that’s before you’ve tried meeting the needs of the relationships around you, family time, you time and your social life.

Journaling is a great way to offload the stress that’s in your head and allows you to see what you’re facing out on paper.

Often just the download of information is enough to relieve the mental stress (a great idea too if you haven’t got anyone to call) but it also allows you to see what tasks you have still to complete.

Very often when you write it down on paper, your thoughts seem a lot easier to manage, prioritise and clear. When it’s stuck in our head it can feel out of control.

See my What is journaling? 10 journal prompts and ideas blog post for tips on how to get started.

New Moon Journal Prompts for 2021

9. Practise being clear with how you feel and what you need

And sometimes our stress is simply a result of taking on too much.

Whether that’s because we have a tendency to people-please, over-commit or just don’t have ‘no’ in our vocabulary, it’s time to get in tune with your limits. It’s time to set realistic goals and boundaries that feel good for you.

It could be stress from a friendship that isn’t healthy, a relationship that’s asking too much of you or a job that isn’t honouring your personal time. Whatever it is, you are within your right to say no when something doesn’t feel right

Of course, saying no can have consequences and it’s really important to spend some time with your decision before making it to make sure it’s the best one for you. You have got to start listening to yourself and honouring your peace.

10. Read a new book / expand your knowledge and passions

If you’re struggling to find passion and purpose in your life, learning how to be happier may come from exploring some new hobbies/topics in order to spark some new inspiration so that you are actively moving forwards towards your inner calling.

Ask friends for their favourite book recommendations, buy yourself a book that you keep thinking about reading. Give yourself the chance to learn something new, stimulate your brain and creativity… you just never know what may come of it.

See the Where’s Mollie reading list here.

11. Take some time out, take a holiday.

When I say time off, I mean time completely offline. Not just off of work, off of technology, off of social media and off of your emails… off of all of it.

Dedicate some real quality time for your mind and body to have some time off to relax and rejuvenate. 

Book a holiday, plan an adventure, invest in attending a retreat or take a week and fill it with DIY self-care.

It is SO important to allow your body to completely switch off and come out of ‘alert’. Though we may not be engaging in 9 hours of work time a day, by still being on alert to emails, social media, notifications and more, your body will remain in it’s ‘fight or flight’ response.

Taking time off and taking a media break is especially important during the times we find ourselves in with the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to honour ways to stay positive during covid-19 and limiting your media intake is up there at the top.

When operating from your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) your body is, in effect, shifting its energy resources towards fighting off a life threat. As you can imagine, our bodies aren’t designed for this continuous release of adrenalin and cortisol. When continuously activated, the SNS can become a long terms drain on the body and cause other bodily functions to become problematic.

Solution: Take regular breaks. Look after yourself and listen to your bodies warning signs.

A 1 week road trip itinerary through the Kootenay Rockies, Canada

12. Cleanse your social media and circles

When was the last time that you consciously chose what messages you inhale on social media? When was the last time you evaluated your relationships to see which give you energy and which are draining the life out of you?

This point is all about consciously choosing the energy you receive and the energy you are willing to give out. You could be doing all the right things to boost your energy in other areas of your life but if you are being drained by a toxic / unhealthy relationship, friendship, social media account or similar… you are putting all your hard work down the drain.

If you truly want to know how to be happier, try it for a week. Remove the things that come to mind and the things that feels like a drain and then see how different you feel by doing it.

13. Listen to a podcast you wouldn't usually listen to

Similar to reading a book that your friends recommend to you, listen to a podcast that you wouldn’t usually choose.

This is a great way to shift your perspective and open your mind and heart to new thought patterns, ways of living and opinions. This can stimulate new thoughts, beliefs, passions and interests.

I listened to a Brene Brown podcast last night from here ‘Unlocking Us’ series and it was all about how to apologise and how to unlock more love and connection in relationships around us. Truly, little nuggets of wisdom from professionals in whatever field they are in can really enhance your life.

14. Learn to be still, even if it's uncomfortable

A lot of people, when faced with the word ‘meditation’, completely shut off. They respond with things like ‘what’s the point’ ‘it doesn’t do anything’ etc…

That right there is the exact point of stillness and meditation. The voices in your head that tell you those things are what we call your ‘ego’. Your ego and who you truly are (your soul / authentic self) are two different things entirely. Your ego does not want you to be present or still, it will tell you all the stories in the world as to why you shouldn’t do it.

Most will go through life completely identified with the voice inside their head, it will run the show and it will dictate the fun and suffering that is experienced.

Through stillness / meditation, we aren’t trying to remove that voice in the head (it has so many positive benefits) but we are trying to step back into awareness so that it doesn’t rule our life for us.

When we can observe that voice, instead of being identified with it, we experience freedom and more joy than ever. 

See my What is awareness? 10 ways to practise awareness blog post.

Are you looking for long-lasting joy and ways that you learn how to be happier? Give meditation a go. It’s not a ‘just works for some people’ think it’s an ‘it works for anyone that is willing to persevere’ thing.

15. Remove yourself from screens at least 1 hour before bed

Something that often goes hand in hand with stress is interrupted/reduced sleep.

This is again a really dangerous spiral to let go out of control. When you’ve got a lot going on physically, emotionally and mentally, it’s really important your body gets some solid time to replenish your energy supply and rest.

The light we receive from screens signals daylight and increases stimulation, the opposite of what you want to communicate to your body before sleep.

Make a conscious effort to switch off all your screens at least an hour before bed and if you still struggle to switch off your mind, consider listening to a guided meditation, audio bedtime story or lock into some calm breathing techniques. This will take you out of your mind and back into your body so that you can drift into a peaceful sleep.

What tips have you got for adding more joy into your life and learning how to be happy?

Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

Did you find this post helpful? I’d love you to share it for me.

Pin and save this blog post for later…

London-13-scaled.jpg

IT’S LOVELY TO MEET YOU

I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. I’D LOVE TO SHARE MY STORY WITH YOU…

TRAVEL SHOP

Where's Mollie? newsletter

Shop my wall prints