What do you think of when you hear the phrase “create tiny happiness”? A while back, I made a video about “how to be happy”, and while I think that the tips addressed how to find more contentment, I also think “how to be happy” or the idea of being happy in general is overused and misunderstood.
You’re not going to be happy all the time. And there’s a reason for it—your brain needs the highs and lows in order for you to comprehend relative positive and negative experiences.
One thing I think most articles miss when talking about how to create tiny happiness and contentment is something that I learned after reading “Habits of a Happy Brain“.
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This book talked a lot about how tiny habits over time can retrain some of the bad connections your brain has made regarding happiness OR anxiety and unhappiness.
No one grows up in a perfect household—even if your childhood was very fortunate. So after reading this book, I felt extremely encouraged that at any age, I can do tiny things to increase my happiness and contentment in life.
In my post about self care for extremely busy people, I gave a few ideas on how to practice self care during busy times in your life. I think people commonly neglect self care during busy times. And the tips below compliment that article perfectly, because they all take minimal time to complete.
My challenge to you and to myself is to try to do these tasks daily and track how you feel. Ready for the tips?…
#1: Set goals for yourself everyday.
What kinds of goals should you set?
There are things you want to do every day and there are things you have to do. Start by creaking a short list of what you plan to do, and then decide what is negotiable and what is definitely not.
For example: going to the drugstore yesterday to buy more cotton balls for removing my eye makeup was negotiable…
But buying more coffee was not!
Working on a script for a new video was negotiable…
But sending my boss some reports he needed was not!
I generally don’t recommend having more than 2 non-negotiables, and if one’s a biggie, then break it up into smaller chunks, and make each chunk its own goal.
The goals you set each day are entirely up to you—but I’d also recommend starting with a subset of your life. What I don’t want you to do is create a massive, confusing list each day. I’d recommend focusing on either work, school or self care.
Why you should set goals // Create Tiny Happiness
Setting goals each day that you want to accomplish, and then checking them will feel amazing.
Write goals down on your fridge or in a journal, and check them off each day.
This kicks off chemicals in your brain that lead to satisfaction and higher self esteem!
#2. Do something outside your norm.
The next tip for how to create tiny happiness is to do something outside your norm—something that gets you just slightly out of your comfort zone.
#3. Post-it note affirmations.
This is one of my favorites, but notice I didn’t put it at the top of the list. I think affirmations are wonderful and effective, but I think the first two items on this list help build confidence. If you’re starting with a very low self esteem, then affirmations on their own may not be that helpful.
If you want to try doing some affirmations I have a few ideas!
The most effective way I did affirmations was writing out a few on post it notes and sticking them around the house. I had one in the bathroom, one on the fridge, one on the coffee maker and one near my bedside table where I charge my phone. These are places I visit often in my house.
Most times when I approached the post it notes, I’d at least read them over. But I also tried to say them outloud.
The way I read them was to…
- Read the affirmation
- Take a deep breath and do the following…
- Think about the affirmation’s meaning
- Believe it was true and/or picture a way I manifested it already
- Then move on to the next one
You don’t have to go all out here, by the way.
Try one affirmation, on one post it in one place in your house, and go from there.
#4. Do something to help someone.
Another way to create tiny happiness is to do something to help someone. There are lots of things you can do to help someone, but for the purpose of this post…
Many people in need of self care over-extend themselves. And my aim for this post is to show you that generating more contentment starts with tiny, consistent action.
What is something tiny you can do to help someone?
Smile at someone. Give someone a compliment. Fix your coworker a cup of coffee. Wash someone else’s dish.
#5. Find one way to avoid small talk.
Oxytocin is a chemical in your brain that is generated from intimacy and genuine connection with someone—but again, there are tiny things you can do to generate oxytocin and help yourself feel tiny happiness.
One way to do this is to try, at least once a day, to avoid small talk.
I do this by changing up questions I ask people. Most of us ask “How are you?” which generally results in the answer “I’m fine”.
Instead, I might ask someone, “What was your favorite part of about this week?”
I’ve gotten a range of answers, but this will create tiny happiness in several ways. First, it makes the person think about something they enjoyed about their week. Second, it gives them a chance to share it with someone else—creating connection for both of you.
#6. Start a gratitude box.
I’m not gonna lie about this last one—I don’t have a gratitude box or jar. But I’ve heard they’re really great!
I read about this idea and used to have a box like this many years ago.
The idea is that when something good happens, you write it down and put it in a jar or box. It could be a positive interaction, an affirmation you’ve been saying that is manifesting itself more in your life, or some good feedback you got at work or from someone you love.
Write it down, put it in the box, and forget about it.
When you need a boost to create tiny happiness? Pull a slip or two out of the box, take a deep breath, and reflect on the positive memory.
Create Tiny Happiness // Next Steps
So, now that you have some tips on small ways you can create more joy and contentment in your life, what do you do now?
I’d look at the tips above, and start with the one that sounds easiest, or the one that sounds the most fun.
Creating happiness doesn’t have to cost money, but if you’re looking for a happiness box to give you a boost, I’d recommend trying out the Therabox subscription box from Cratejoy.