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10 Practical Steps to Boost Happiness

If you'd like to feel more happiness there are practical actions you can take to positively impact your mood.

If you have feelings of tension and anxiety, here are some suggestions to help you feel better.

1. Practice Being Loving to Yourself

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If you struggle with low self-esteem, learning to love yourself may take time. Instead of pressuring yourself to get it perfect, think of it as a practice. When you notice your inner voice being hyper-critical of yourself, get in the habit of questioning that self-criticism. 

We are often much harder on ourselves than we ever would be to someone else. A couple of helpful phrases you can use to question self-criticism are: “Maybe I'm doing better than I think.” or “My okay version is okay. I don't have to be perfect.”  

2. Just Do It

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Being courageous doesn't mean that we're never afraid. Courage means taking action despite our fears. You can practice courage in your daily life when you face something you'd rather avoid.

Learning to overcome obstacles creates confidence and reliability in our lives. The obstacles you choose to tackle don't always have to be the most scary things. Take note of how much capacity you have for doing something scary. If it will completely overwhelm you, now might not be the time to face that fear. However, if you feel you can stretch yourself, give it a try.

3. Gratitude Practice

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Gratitude is one of the most important virtues you can foster in your life. Research has shown that being grateful for the things you have and the people in your life can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Acknowledging and appreciating the little things helps to regulate emotions and elevate your mindset.

4. Self-Care

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Self-care doesn't have to involve spa days. It's about noticing that you have a need and taking steps to meet that need. You probably know the basics, like eating healthy, taking a walk, getting enough sleep, and talking to your loved ones. 

5. Try on Confidence

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Sometimes, you can realize qualities in yourself by imitating confidence and having an optimistic mindset. You might think of it as ‘trying on' a confident attitude to see how it turns out.

It might be tempting to wait until you feel totally sure of yourself before taking on a new challenge. However, often the biggest leaps in confidence happen when you stretch yourself with something new and grow along the way. Nobody has their entire life figured out, and you don't have to do things the same way everyone else does. You're not doing it wrong; you're just doing it differently than others.

6. Admit We Can't Control How Others Perceive Us

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Admitting that we have no control over people's actions and learning to recognize what you can control can help improve your mental wellness. You can not force others to see you the way you want to be seen or be nice to you. You can only control your own thoughts and actions.

7. Practice Good Personal Hygiene

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Regardless of how we feel, good personal hygiene helps keep the body and the brain healthy. Maintaining personal hygiene forms the basis of a self-care routine. This can be a simple set of things you do regularly, like brushing your teeth, showering, and staying hydrated. Routines boost your happiness because they build up a sense of security and capability.

8. Don't Accept Disapproval From Someone You Wouldn't Take Advice From

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Keeping an open mind is good. People who can give you constructive and useful criticisms are valuable in our lives. However, it's important to note that it's easy to criticize someone. Take a look at who's trying to criticize you and ask yourself if you value their opinion on the subject. Do they really have your best interests in mind? Have they taken the time to understand your point of view? Do they have relevant experience in this matter? 

9. Never Assess Your Life When You're Sleep Deprived 

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Don't believe the critical and often doom-filled thoughts that come up when you are sleep-deprived. Being tired lowers your ability to cope with stress. Lack of sleep has been shown to dramatically shift our perceptions towards the negative. Evaluating your life through this negative lens is only likely to increase your stress and feelings of powerlessness.

10. Taking Things One Day at a Time

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Doing your best to stay in the present moment is helpful for mental well-being. Set small and achievable goals every day and do your best to achieve them. We are not on a path toward perfection. We are growing, learning human beings. That means you don't need to wait until you're perfect to be happy. Try for connection, not perfection, and see if it brings more happiness into your life.

10 Ways to Celebrate the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

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Noticing the joyful moments that happen amidst the ordinary chaos of everyday life is one sure way to feel more satisfaction and gratitude. Here are some great ways to see and celebrate small wins.

13 Ideal Hobbies for Overthinkers – Nature Edition

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If you want a hobby that offers more peace and fresh air, these have been hand-selected for you.

Author: Alissa Zorn

Title: Trauma-Informed Coach

Expertise: childhood emotional neglect, perfectionism, parenting, journaling, comics, doodling, coaching

Alissa Zorn is the founder of OverthoughtThis.com. She's a trauma-informed coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa has been featured on the Good Men Project, Wealth of Geeks, Motherly, MSN.com and more.