5 Simple Ways To Bring More Joy & Happiness Into Your Life

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happy woman

Is your sense of happiness and joy in life really something you have control over? Or are you doomed if you see your day-to-day life as a glass half empty?

Well, yes and no.

There are things you can do to increase your happiness quotient and decrease your negative thoughts.

But, genetics do play a role in your outlook on life and whether you're predisposed to a more optimistic or pessimistic point of view.

The good news is that if you pay attention to your mental health, you can increase your ability to take in more joy and cultivate a more optimistic worldview so you can have a happier life.

RELATED: 6 Remarkable Reasons Finding Happiness Is A Journey — Not A Destination

Here are 5 steps for finding happiness and joy in life.

1. Express gratitude.

Yep, you've probably heard this one before! But, gratitude is one of the quickest ways to help the brain shift your focus to seeing more good in your life.

The simple act of paying attention to what's going well helps retrain the brain to see good events, rather than laser focusing on what's not working.

Here's an exercise to try if you want to practice gratitude in your everyday life.

Before bedtime, write down three good things that happened to you, either big or small. Once you've identified those things, close your eyes, and enjoy those positive experiences in your mind again.

Try to relive those moments, how you felt, the smile on someone’s face, and give thanks.

Try this every night for a month and notice if you see a shift in whether you see more good throughout your day.

2. Smile.

Did you know that smiling, even when you're not feeling so great, can trick the brain into releasing more feel-good hormones?

Yes, smiles are calming, help others feel at ease and feel better, and are darn uplifting!

Happy people smile! The brain increases the release of dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitters, when you smile, even if you're faking it.

So, give it a try, even if you don’t feel like smiling. It will have a positive effect on your mood and create more connections with those around you. Plus, it’s contagious!!

3. Choose one small action in the direction of feeling better.

You can choose to focus on negative emotions and not feeling good, but why not try something different? One small change in the direction of feeling better can make a difference.

Try going for a short walk. Cut out pictures in a magazine of images you like or of empowering words and post them somewhere you can see them. Surround yourself with positive things.

You can also listen to an inspiring TED talk, journal about the things or people you appreciate in your life, or engage in a hobby you enjoy, such as cooking.

RELATED: 6 Small Changes You Can Make To Bring Happiness Back Into Your Life

4. Use humor.

It may seem like laughing or making light of problems is not appropriate, but being able to laugh can actually get you out of a negative frame of mind.

Humor can help you gain perspective and potentially help you find solutions to problems, as you're not focused so intently on them. By allowing yourself to laugh, you're distracting yourself, giving your mind a much-needed break from repetitive thoughts.

So watch a funny video or comedy show or look up funny memes on social media. Being playful is also a wonderful way to shift your perspective, so get out the ball and play catch with your dog!

People often tend to stay entrenched in their negative thoughts, but shifting their attention from those thoughts is an effective way of increasing good feelings.

5. Listen to music.

Music moves people, both literally and emotionally. You can tune in to music that's uplifting and gets your body moving. Think about creating a positive playlist you listen to while walking every day.

To start your day off, pick a song that inspires you and think about how you will create that mood throughout the day.

Move your body to music and allow yourself to get swept away, focusing only on what you are hearing, being completely present in the moment.

You’ll notice that music can be one of the quickest ways to improve your mood. So, get that playlist on!

When you try some of these tips, you'll start noticing a shift in your daily mood.

With practice, you can train your brain to filter more of the good in your life and you start feeling more positive in your day-to-day interactions.

If you want to be a happy person, finding happiness and joy in life is something you can increase and cultivate for the long term!

RELATED: 10 Little Things That Can Help You Feel Happier Every Day

Monica Ramunda, LPC, LCMHC, RPT-S is a Licensed Counselor in both North Carolina and Colorado. She is the owner of Rocky Mountain Counseling Service and Lighthouse Counseling Services. She helps clients learn to increase their happiness in life, lead a more fulfilling life, and find more satisfaction within their relationships.