If you feel yourself being grumpy, critical, and downright negative, the good news is that cheerfulness can be learned and developed. Yes, with practice, you can become a cheerful person!
You may not become super cheerful overnight, but with a few mindset shifts, you will definitely be on your way to feeling happier. And if you stick with it, you just might become a more cheerful person, too.
Here are 10 steps you can take to increase your joie de vivre and bring more cheer and happiness into your life:
1. Set a daily intention. Decide when you wake up what sort of day it’s going to be and if you’re going to be cheerful or not – it’s your choice. Direct your day with your pre-frontal cortex instead of being led by your primitive, unconscious brain, so for instance, you could say “I am going to find fun in Christmas shopping today” instead of saying “Oh God I need to start Christmas shopping”.
2. Hold your tongue. When you feel the urge to complain or criticise something or someone, bite your tongue, stop and pause. Staying silent is a wonderful way to get us through stressful moments without saying or doing something you will later regret. If you still feel something needs to be said after thinking it through, then formulate a kind response.
3. Smile on purpose. Even when things are tough – especially when things are tough – smile. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers found smiling — even a fake smile — can have a positive impact on mood. Essentially, triggering certain facial muscles by smiling can “trick” your brain into thinking you’re happy.
4. Ask your brain an empowering question. Your brain is naturally wired to focus on the negative throughout the day, but it also a powerful computer and loves finding the answers to questions you set it. Instead of saying “Why does my life suck” ask “What can I do to find happiness today? You’ll then notice opportunities to make your day happy. Or give your brain a specific job so try saying “Your job today is to find all the positive things in my life.” Giving your brain a specific task helps calm the mind chatter and stress that can stand in the way of a cheerful outlook and attitude.
5. Create don’t consume. We feel “cheerful” when we’re creating something rather than consuming. Creating could be mending something, cooking, sewing or writing rather than consuming which is shopping, watching Netflix or scrolling on our phones. Also move your attention from “overcoming a problem” to “creating a solution”. This creative shift can uplift and inspire us to behave more cheerfully.
6. Practice gratitude by focusing on one thing you’re grateful for. You’ve probably heard this thousands of times before, but gratitude is at the heart of cheerfulness so any time you feel miserable, think of something you are thankful for and 5 reasons why and this will redirect your brain to be more cheerful and appreciative.
7. Make memories. When you’re creating a memory, it’s hard to want to be anything but cheerful. Memories are all we take with us through life and they matter most. Focus on how to turn this boring, uninspired, or tense moment into a memory, and you just might feel the cheer naturally pouring out of you.
8. Take a Time-Out. When cheerfulness feels like an impossibility, put yourself in a quiet place where sit or lie down for a while. Take a few minutes each day to slow down, breathe deeply and using all the senses, focus on what’s around you.
9. Help someone. Take the spotlight away from you feeling grumpy to helping someone else who may need your support. Call a friend who might be struggling or ask your parents if you can help with something. Charities are also looking for volunteers to help too so seek out a local charity or organisation that you connect with..
10. Do something you love. Make a list of all the things you love to do and that make you feel happy, even the simple pleasures, and schedule some of these into your diary to enjoy daily or as often as you can.
Sam is Life Coach at Uniquethinking (uniquethinking.co.uk) helping women to be more confident and successful at work, in their business and in life.
If you need some help becoming cheerful again, book in for a 1-1 coaching session.