Your Daily To-Do List To Be Happier
Updated: Nov 23, 2018
Quick, easy things you can do every day to help yourself not only become happier, but to reduce stress and MAINTAIN a happier lifestyle.
Some of the strategies and techniques that can make the biggest difference in your happiness quest are actually the smallest, simplest changes. Here is a list of quick things you can do every day to help yourself become happier, healthier, and less stressed or anxious.
Daily To-Do List:
1.) Write down 10 things for which you're grateful
Gratitude is one of the most important parts of living a happier life. Some call it the KEY to happiness. If you sit down every morning and write down 10 things for which you're grateful in a journal, it can make a huge difference and start to retrain your brain to be happier and look for the positives in your life.
2.) Say 10 positive things about yourself
Every morning, perhaps while you're in the shower or getting dressed or eating your breakfast, focus on your inner monologue, that voice inside your head, and make sure it starts the day with positive thoughts. Tell yourself things like: I am important, I am talented, I am attractive, I am smart, I am lucky to have what I have, I am loved, I am strong, I am WORTHY. And do it every day, especially if you're feeling down on yourself.
3.) Meditate (active or sedentary) for 3-5 minutes
Meditation is just focusing on your breathing, in and out, in and out. That's it. Your mind may wander to the other million things you're worrying about, and that's okay. Once you realize it's wandered, just gently bring it back to focus on your breathing again and again. Do this for a few minutes while you're in bed, driving, showering, sitting, or walking and it can help train your brain to better handle stress, lessen anxiety, and help improve your concentration.
4.) Stand in a power pose for 2 minutes
Standing in a power pose (think superman) can help trick your body into changing up its hormones and make you feel calmer and more confident, even if you just do it for a couple minutes. It increases your testosterone (confidence) and decreases your cortisol levels (fight or flight/anxiety). So definitely do this before an important event or interview, but I also suggest doing it every morning while you wait for your coffee or tea to get ready, in the shower, or as part of a quick yoga practice. You can even do two things at once and focus on your breathing (meditate) while you're in your power pose, or think positive thoughts about yourself while you're in it, etc.
5.) Go for a 10+ minute walk
Exercise of any kind is highly recommended. I love walks, and it's a simple way to get started exercising if you're not used to it, or even if you are but need a change. Walking is exceptionally good for your body, increasing blood flow, releasing endorphins, stretching/using your muscles, regulating hormones, and helping clear toxins out of your body. Even if it's just for 10 minutes, try to get some walking in, and again, you can focus on your breathing (active meditation) or think about the things for which you're grateful or positive thoughts at the same talk as you're walking!
6.) Talk to someone (about anything)
Humans are naturally social beings, even those of us who are introverts or have social anxiety. We're meant to be social and talk to one another, so don't get in the habit of having days where you don't talk to anyone at all. It's not good for you in any respect, so call a family member or go see friends. Talk to a colleague about a project or start up a conversation with someone at a store. Just talk. Every day. To someone. (And as much as I love to talk to my pets and I suggest you talk to yours, for this, that doesn't count.) And don't forget to LISTEN as well.
7.) Eat some fruit/veggies
Everything you eat is either fueling your body, health, and happiness, or fighting it. Don't let your depression trick you into thinking that cake is going to make you feel better, or those fries. You know better. You know that after the initial gratification wears off, you'll likely feel even worse. Now I'm not saying you have to go vegan or anything like that, or stop eating sugar, etc. I'm a fan of a variety of food with a variety of colors, in moderation. So just make sure to at least add some fruits and veggies to your diet to help your body out. The more you have, plus good fats and lean protein, the better you'll probably feel.
8.) Don't use devices with screens a half hour before bed
A half hour (or more) before you want to be falling asleep, I suggest you turn off your television and try not to look at your computer or phone/tablet. It's easier to fall asleep and turn your brain off when it's been away from screens, and sleep is incredibly important for your health and happiness. Read a book for a half hour, or talk with a loved one, play with your pets, write in your journal, take a bath, pick out your clothing or breakfast for the next day, or simply meditate and think. Whatever works for you to keep you from looking at a screen for that time before you go to bed.
The Trick: Making it a Priority
Now, I think we can all admit that none of these 8 things above are overly difficult. Some of them only require a minute of your time and you can do it in your own head. Even all of these things combined takes up a relatively small portion of your day overall, but some of you may find it's still hard to do them.
It becomes a question of priorities. What are yours?
In the beginning, you may just forget to do some of these things and that's perfectly normal. That's why I wrote this list down for you and I suggest you print it off or write it down for yourself as a reminder. But after that, it becomes whether or not your happiness is a priority to you.
If these simple changes could help you be happier, which they should, then why is it so hard to get us to do them? Part of it is because your depression is working hard to get you to do what it wants, which is the opposite of this list. And part of it is whether or not you're taking the time to make your happiness a priority in your life.
It's okay to be happy. It's okay to put yourself first for parts of each day. It's okay to need a little bit of time alone to focus on your thoughts, and it's okay to prioritize these things over chores and other responsibilities sometimes.
Everyone has the same amount of time in each day, but our priorities and what we choose to focus our energy on is different from person to person.
I know you're struggling. I know parts of this list still seem daunting or not worth it, but trust me, even if you start with just a few of these things daily, it'll help.