As I write this, the first month of 2022 is almost in the books. Speaking from anecdotal evidence (data gathered from my friends and family), many people have opted out of New Year’s Resolutions this time round. Instead, they’re going for the good stuff: happiness and self-compassion. After two heavy and trying years to say the very least, we just want to enter the new year with a little joy.
What we must keep in mind is that happiness follows action. It can’t be captured. It’s not a destination. It’s an experience, a moment in time. When you try to chase it down or claim it in anyway, it’s gone. Instead of focusing on being happy, invest in the process of doing things that bring you lasting happiness. You can’t hunt for joy and contentment directly. You have to explore it through secondary means like deep fulfilment, intimate connection and helping others.
Here are 5 beginning of the year, happiness boosting, self-compassion tips that we swear by.
Set short-term goals for yourself
Rather than spending all your energy on unrealistic resolutions, set snackable goals that you can feel a sense of accomplishment with after attaining them. When you set realistic goals it helps motivate you to achieve them which boosts your mental well-being. Pat yourself on the back for partially meeting your goal and think about how it can impact your job, relationships, and self-care this year. For example, you could try your hand at one week of home cooking, or three days of yoga. When you choose to set short-term goals ticking off these small wins will offer you a boost of happiness and satisfaction.
Fix broken boundaries
Setting boundaries that actually work is no cakewalk. Every day your family, friends and the world at large ask for parts of you. While you may find it fulfilling to help out here and there, setting boundaries is key to achieving mental health and well-being. Here’s how to scale back: observe where you are overextended. It can be related to having difficulty saying no, people-pleasing, FOMO, avoidance of situations at home or even in your relationship. You have to protect your free time, or it will inevitably get lost in the mayhem of work-life balance issues.
Double down on sleep
Surprise, surprise: Sleep has a major influence on your mood and well-being. Without adequate sleep, you will always be stuck in the reactionary patterns that govern your unconscious habits. And one of the first things that atrophy when you are chronically sleep deprived is your mood regulation. To improve it, you need to focus on quality, quantity, and consistency of sleep. All three factors matter in repairing log-held patterns of chronic sleep disruption. If you were looking for one more reason to prioritize shut eye, consider this it.
Move your body (even just a little)
Aim for 15 minutes of exercise twice a day. For an added boost, do it outdoors to get sunlight therapy at the same time. It doesn’t require a huge time commitment in order to get the mood upliftment from movement. If you decide to take your feel-good, endorphin boosting exercise outside, just make sure to layer on the SPF.
A mindfulness or stillness practice can have revolutionary effects on your happiness levels. The biggest ROI in terms of cost, time and outcome is a stillness or meditation practice. Mindfulness is proven to improve your mood, sleep quality, decrease anxiety, and create more sustainable focus and concentration. If you’re struggling to start a meditation practice, think of things you’re grateful for, then extend that feeling of kindness to others. This is called loving-kindness meditation and it can be an easy access point for people who struggle with sitting still.
Life isn’t always perfect, and we all get down sometimes. However, here are a few ways you can boost your happy quotient this 2022!