30 Tips on How to Train The Brain For Happiness & Success
26. Smile and Laugh More
As corny as it sounds, smiling and laughing really does make you feel better. If you are down in the dumps, put on a funny clip on YouTube. Just search for your favorite TV shows, comedians, or anything else that you know puts you in a good mood. One video might not do the trick, so keep going until you actually start to smile and laugh. We live in an amazing time when we can get any kind of entrainment on-demand. So you might as well take advantage of it.
25. The Superman Pose
If you are having a hard time feeling confident before trying something new, stand in the “Superman pose”. This is when you have your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands on your hips. This is one of the most confident body postures you can do. It makes us feel powerful. As an added bonus, do the Superman pose in front of the mirror, and say, “You can do this.” Yeah, it sounds sort of stupid, but it really does work.
24. Give a Name to Your Emotions
Sometimes, emotions can get pent up inside of us to the point where we don’t even know what’s going on anymore. Are we angry? Disappointed? Hurt? Sad? All of the above? Instead of lashing out at someone or letting something ruin your day, try to practice self-reflection. Practice identifying your emotions, and structure it into a sentence. For example, if you get into an argument with your spouse, they might label you as “angry”, when it’s not totally accurate. The real reason may be, “I am disappointed, because he showed up late to the movie. And I am hurt, because I feel like this is a sign that he doesn’t care enough to show up on time.”
If you practice doing this, you should improve your communication skills with your partner, and everyone else in your life. Having good relationships makes a huge difference in our happiness and quality of life. So this is definitely one worth doing.
23. Remind Yourself That Others Have it Worse
Yes, you have heard this advice before. You might have also seen the video clip of Kim Kardashian crying over losing her diamond earring while her sister is nearby, saying, “There are people starving.” Well…It’s true. It may feel like you have the worst luck in the world, but worse things could happen…And they have probably already happened to you before. Try to remind yourself that other people have gone through bad times just as bad, if not worse than you. And if they can survive, so can you. By having this sense of resilience, you will dwell on problems less, and ultimately be happier in the long run.
22. Use Logic to Solve Issues
Far too many people act on their gut emotions without using logic. For example, road rage is a big one. Logically, what good is tailgating and reckless driving going to do? It’s only going to make the problem worse. Next time there is something that goes seriously wrong, take a deep breath, and try not to let your emotions get the best of you. In fact, if you can, walk away from the issue until you can emotionally handle it. Any decision made while under stress is usually never good. Once you have calmed down, go back to the problem later with a clear head.
21. Learn to be Grateful
Comparing yourself to others and wishing you had more is 100% guaranteed to make you unhappy. And yet our entire society is structured around that idea. Marketing is always trying to convince us that we need to buy new things. That’s pretty messed up, right? So, instead of always pining after the things you do not have, start being grateful for the things you do have. Since you are reading this article, it means you have internet access, and a roof over your head. You have food in your belly. Clean clothes on your back. Maybe you have a car, a house, and a family of your own. Keep going in your mind with all of the things you are grateful for, and eventually, you will feel your spirits lifting.
20. Treat Yourself With Kindness
The negative things we say to ourselves are sometimes so mean, we would never say those same things to another person. We are often our own worst critics. If you want to be happy, start treating yourself the same way you would treat your best friend.
Or, better yet- try to pretend your 5-year old self is standing in front of you. This sweet, innocent part of you is still somewhere deep inside. Would you ever tell this little boy or girl that they are a failure? Absolutely not. If they fall, you would tell them to brush themselves off, and try again. So why are you so harsh to yourself as an adult? The next time you make a mistake, encourage yourself like you would your inner child. After a while, you may find that you are more at peace with past and future failures, and in turn, will also be happier.
19. Ignore the Haters
Even if you are not massively successful, there are always going to be people who are envious of the things you have. Try to navigate through someone disliking you for a legitimate reason, versus someone “hating” on you. Just be careful not to over-use this mindset. There are plenty of arrogant people out there who claim that critics are their “haters”, when it is really their own negative behavior that is spurring on others to dislike them.
You know that you are truly dealing with a hater when you come across someone who you have only shown kindness to, or never met before. And yet they see your happiness and success, and they are trying to bring you down. Don’t let them. The more successful you become, the more you will run into “haters”. It is almost 100% guaranteed. If you can learn to deal with it early on, it will only help keep your mood up as time goes on.
18. Learn to be Happy for the Success of Others
In the last entry, we talked about ignoring the haters…But are you the hater? Do you find yourself seeing happy people, and it makes you feel jealous and annoyed? Haters will lash out at happy people, and find any reason to bring down someone else in order to make themselves feel better. For example, maybe your friend bought a house, and you wish you could have one, too. But your immediate reaction is to say something catty and passive-aggressive, like “good luck paying for those expensive repairs!”
Does this describe you? First of all, if this is you, I am sorry that you are in so much pain. I am sorry that someone hurt you and made you feel like you cannot achieve the things you want in your life. The truth is that you can be happy. And once you are happy, you will learn that the best thing we can do is be happy for others who are succeeding. And these happy, successful people support one another to keep getting better. Perhaps the best part about being genuinely happy for someone else is that you get to share happiness with the other person.
17. Let Go of Grudges
Every single person on the planet has experienced holding a grudge. Heck, even elephants know how to hold a grudge. They literally never forget! But the longer we hold on to these grudges, the more unhappy we will become. Do you think this other person is bothering to hold a grudge against you? Depending on the situation, maybe they will, maybe they won’t. The more you fixate on what another person has done to you, the more power you give them over your emotions. In that way, you are letting your enemy win! So don’t let them be the victor.
16. Accept Imperfections
There is a saying that “perfection is the enemy of getting things done”. The longer you ruminate over something, the longer it takes to move forward in your life and achieve the next thing. If you expect perfection from yourself and others, you will never be happy. Perfection does not exist. A journey to absolute perfection is like trying to search for a unicorn in the forest. It will absolutely never happen. Instead, try to aim for “the best I can possibly do”.
If you are upset in the imperfection of others, ask yourself the same question. Did they do their best? Instead of getting upset with the other person, be encouraging, instead. If your kids come home with a D on a test, don’t punish them or call them stupid. Instead, say something like, “I know you can do better than this. You’re so smart. I believe in you.”
Science has proven that when we exercise, our body releases endorphins that make us happy. So, if you feel like you are stressed out, go and take a walk. Even just ten minutes of walking around the block to clear your head makes a huge difference in your mood. Many people who make going to the gym a regular part of their lives truly do seem to be happier and more confident that people who are not working out. And, of course, if exercise leads you to become better-looking, that is a huge plus, too.
14. Build a (Mental) Ladder
Married YouTubers Simon and Martina upload videos about their everyday life in Japan. Martina suffers from chronic pain, and there are many days where it is a struggle just to get out of bed. She coined the phrase “build a ladder”, which is essentially the way she copes with depression. In the morning, she does her hair and makeup in a cute style that makes her smile. She wears bright colors that make her happy. Each and every step of the way, she is making choices based on the fact that it helps to dig herself out of the hole of physical pain. As the day goes on, she practices gratitude by enjoying the flowers, good food, and laughing with her husband.
Even if you are not suffering with chronic illness, the act of “building a ladder” can truly change your life.
13. Find Humor in Everyday Problems
Many of our every-day problems can suddenly turn into comedy, so long as we have the right mindset. If you end up experiencing an over-the-top terrible experience, try to imagine your life as if you are the main character in a comedy movie. Maybe it will help.
For example, I went to see Avengers: Endgame in theaters, and the guy sitting next to me snuck in a pint of ice cream, fell asleep, and snored the entire movie. I could have chosen to be annoyed and angry that this man’s snoring was ruining my expensive movie-going-experience, but I actually thought it was hilarious. It is a story I have told multiple times to people since that night.
12. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
No matter who you are, you will encounter small problems throughout your day. Maybe the grocery store is out of your favorite food. Or maybe a car cut you off in traffic. Instead of ruminating over those teeny tiny problems, take a deep breath and move on with the day. Remind yourself that you are still alive. You are happy, healthy, and ready to tackle whatever is in front of you. If this is something you really struggle with, read the book called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff And It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson.
11. Try to Care Less About Other People’s Opinions
It is good to have an awareness of how others see you. After all, a lot of success and happiness comes from being about to interact with other people. However, the more you allow other people’s opinions of you dictate your life choices, the more unhappy you will become. Remember that people are entitled to their opinions, but they have not experienced everything that you have gone through, and will therefore never know the perfect advice. Problems might even become more complicated if you are getting conflicting opinions coming out you from all directions. When it comes to dealing with judgmental people, take the advice of Coco Chanel: “I don’t care what you think of me. I don’t care about you at all.”
10. Spend Less Time on Social Media
So many studies have been done in recent years that link social media use and depression. It is incredibly unhealthy for anyone to fixate on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and try to use it as a gauge for your success or happiness. The more you look at the supermodels and mega yachts, the more you feel terrible about your own body and bank account. If you know that this is a problem, try to put your phone down for extended periods of time. It is fine to use social media, but try to only use it once or twice, instead of periodically throughout your entire day.
9. Remain Positive, Even Through Hard Times
No matter who you are, there will be days that feel really hard to get through. But usually, there is a way to remain positive. For example, you may look in the mirror and think, “I’m so fat.” Instead of insulting yourself, turn that negative thought process into something positive, like “I’m so glad I am finally getting into a good exercise routine. My body deserves it.” Be your own coach, and your own best friend.
8. Remember That We All Make Mistakes
No one is perfect. You are only human, and mistakes are going to happen. Instead of beating yourself up over small mistakes, try to forgive yourself, and move on. Of course, if you make a really big mistake, you have to take a step back and do some self-reflection. Certain mistakes are so huge, it might take years to heal and forgive ourselves. If you feel that regret about the past is holding you back from being happy, consider seeing professional help.
7. Try to Have Empathy For Others
Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of other people. It is the act of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. A lot of unhappiness in the world comes from a lack of understanding other people’s motivations. For example, you might think, “Wow, that cashier was so rude. I feel so offended.” Or…You can choose to think, “That cashier seems like they are having a stressful day at work. I hope things get better for them.” In fact, in a situation like that, you might even be able to acknowledge a situation like that. By encouraging other people, they will be nicer to you in return, and it might brighten up their day. Empathy is really at the key of happiness and success in so many ways.
6. Add the Word “But” to Any Negative Thought
The next time you have a really bad day, try to turn your mood around by adding “but” to the end of a negative sentence, and force yourself to see the positive. For example, you can tell yourself; “I did not get the job…but I will eventually get hired somewhere else.” Maybe your next though is, “I am going to struggle to pay my bills…but I have amazing friends and family who are here to help me.”
5. Work on Your Listening Skills
Most arguments happen because one or both partners is not listening to the other. Obviously, arguments in relationships is a huge factor that leads to unhappiness. So, therefore, if you listen better, you will get into less fights. Fewer fights means more peace, less stress, and more time to feel happy. Practice “active listening”, which is the ability to really absorb what the other person is saying, and ask them questions to clarify or engage in the conversation. This will make the other person feel valued and happy, which will put you in a better mood overall.
4. Always Be Working On Your Goals
When you ask almost anyone what would make them happy, they would tell you, “I would be happy if…” Whatever your fill-in-the-blank thing is, that’s your goal. If you have a huge goal that you want to achieve, it is not going to happen overnight. Small actions that are taken each day will add up over time. But if you lose touch with your goals, you will eventually stray from the garden path. Even if it is a tiny step, at least you did something that day to get closer to whatever you want to achieve. There will some days that are far more productive than others, and there is nothing wrong with that.
3. Make a List of Your Daily Accomplishments
Lists are amazing for helping boost your mood and productivity. Give yourself a simple list of accomplishments, even if it is as simple as “get out of bed” and “brush your teeth”. Follow up those easy tasks with some other bigger tasks you want to accomplish, like “clean the garage”. The act of crossing off our accomplishments triggers something in our brains that makes us feel productive and successful, even if it is just normal stuff you do every day, anyway. After a while, this should start to make you feel happier, too, because you will begin to feel like you are making moves to achieve your goals.
2. Keep A Journal or a Planner
So many successful people practice keeping a journal, or at least a daily planner. With a journal, you can write down all of your positive and negative emotions, as well as the events of your day. This is a form of venting, and it can be cathartic. But when you write the positive things down too, it serves a different purpose. On a day when you feel awful, you can flip back to a day in your journal when things felt amazing. It reminds yourself that good things are happening, and there is always progress happening.
With a planner, it’s a little bit different, but it is still incredibly positive. You can plan out your days, which will help you be more productive. Then, after the week or the month is over, you have a visual representation of everything you accomplished during that time. By doing this, you will feel proud of yourself. We recommend checking out the Erin Condren planner, because they are great. Michael’s craft store also has a huge planner aisle.
1. Fake It Til You Make It
The phrase “fake it til you make it” is famous for a good reason. It actually works. We are not saying to lie about your success, or what you do for a living. It is important to be honest about where you are on your journey. But you can begin to act like someone who is happy and successful. Ask yourself, “What would a successful version of me be doing?” They might wear nicer clothes, stand up straight, and approach people with confidence. A happy version of you might be posting about their amazing life on Instagram. Why not start doing that right now? We are not saying to go blow all of your money on a fancy car. It has more to do with your attitude. Once you begin to have a successful attitude, everything else will fall into place.