1. Meditate Meditation is key to long-term happiness and inner peace. It can actually permanently change your brain. A meditation practice boosts happiness by increasing positive emotion and decreasing depression, anxiety, and stress. A study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that loving-kindness meditation increased positive emotions over time. I think of loving-kindness meditation as wishing yourself and others well, then extending this well-being to all beings.
2. Visualization Visualization helps you replace negative thoughts with positive ones. If you can begin your day visualizing a future happy event, you’ll get an added boost of happiness through anticipation. So, start your day in your happy place. Begin by closing your eyes and picturing yourself in your favorite place or doing something that you’re looking forward to. Imagine how it feels, smells, and what it sounds like. Let yourself be transported to this safe space.
3. Gratitude How you feel in the morning can affect your entire day. Get your day going with gratitude because grateful people are happy people. During your yoga practice, think or even say what you are grateful for. Some days, I like to simply begin with, “I am grateful for this body. I am grateful for this yoga practice.” Returning to your grateful thoughts in your practice will help you be grateful and happy throughout your day.
4. Smile Smiling makes you feel good and helps you recover from stress. Even if you aren’t feeling happy, smiling can increase happiness. So, strike an asana pose and smile. It’s probably best to start with a pose you like or even one of your power poses but eventually try this even in the challenging poses.
5. Eat mindfully Eating breakfast puts you in a better mood. But, eating mindfully increases your happiness even more. Appreciating your food before you dig in builds anticipation, which also increases happiness and even makes your food taste better. So, take your practice off the yoga mat with breakfast.