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6 Healthy Habits for Happiness 

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briana hansen 5 lowIt’s finally springtime which means everything feels fresh and new. If you’ve long-since forgotten about your (maybe outlandish) New Year resolutions, now is the perfect time to regenerate and blossom just like the flowers around you.

You can’t build a garden unless you plant your seeds in well-cultivated soil. Too often, people tell themselves they need to be happier or healthier, but never practice the actual habits that can help create conditions for health and happiness to become second nature.

Think of these easy and simple habits like cultivating the soil around your mind’s own happiness. Take care of that soil and the happiness seeds you plant will grow effortlessly. 

1. Sleep

Nothing in your mind or body can function properly without enough sleep. I know it’s the first thing I sacrifice when I push myself too hard, which is completely counter-intuitive. The more I respect the fact that my body needs sleep, the more productive I can actually be during the day. Not to mention, the less stressed I am.

We can’t always get tons of sleep every night, so don’t beat yourself up if you’ve had a late night and early morning. But just respect the fact that if you’re in a sleep deficit, you’re going to need to address it and find times to rest.

Don’t skimp on this. It’s the foundation of all other health.

2. Breathe

We’re lucky that we don’t actually have to think about remembering to breathe to stay alive. Our body takes care of that. But it only takes care of the basics to keep us functioning. To function happily and without stress, we have to be more proactive.

Take deep breaths before you have that difficult conversation. Check in with your breath when you find yourself overwhelmed or stressed. There are a thousand ways to meditate- learn a technique that works for you. I have been practicing Transcendental Meditation for the past three months. I absolutely love it. At the very least, I take two short breaks throughout my day to be with myself, quiet my mind, and breathe. It has made a huge difference in my energy levels, my concentration, and my stress.

Even if you’re not ready or willing to commit to daily meditation, just take time for a few deep breaths throughout the day.

3. Move

You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again until the end of time. Exercise is good for you. You don’t need to enter a fitness competition to feel the benefits of moving your body regularly. Go for a long walk in your neighborhood. Go for a hike with a friend. Dance in your room by yourself. Chase after that old lady’s purse snatcher. Whatever you want to do- just incorporate some exercise into your lifestyle. Your body will thank you for it.

4. Hydrate

You probably don’t drink enough water. I don’t drink enough water. I go out of my way to start my day with a glass of water and drink it throughout the day, but I still don’t think I drink enough water. Water gives you energy and makes sure everything inside you is functioning properly. It flushes out toxins and cleans your system.

Drink it. Lots of it. You’ll have to pee all the time. Don’t worry about it. Who cares what your co-workers think about your tiny bladder. They’re just jealous that they don’t have that same healthy glow you do thanks to all the water you drink.

5. Journal

At the end of the day, it’s easy to want to just check all your social media, read a few mindless Buzzfeed articles, then pass out. We’ve all been there. But believe it or not, that can add stress to your life. You’re keeping your mind and your stress hormones active. Instead, turn off that cellphone (or at least put it on Do Not Disturb…my favorite feature), and journal. It’s much easier than it seems- just write down one great thing that happened to you that day.

I’ve been doing this off and on for years. I started doing it regularly a couple years go. I found that I don’t keep up with it when it feels like a burden, but I’m always so much happier when I do write regularly. So in order to keep it from feeling like a burden, I only tell myself I have to write one thing I’m grateful for. Most nights, I end up writing a bunch more than that and really documenting how I’m feeling and transitioning through something. It’s helpful to just let go and don’t judge what you’re writing. It’s been a great way for me to get to the cause of stressful feelings or frustrations. It’s also been really helpful for me to clarify specifically goals that I want and to have an emotional attachment to why I want them.

And on the nights I just want to pass out, I simply write one thing I’m grateful for from the day. This keeps my mind active and aware of the positive things happening in my world- no matter what the rest of the day may have felt like. 

6. Laugh

I’m a comedian and I don’t always laugh enough. I am around some of the funniest people on the planet and I sometimes don’t get in enough laughter. I want to build my life around making people laugh and I forget to find the humor in situations. One of the characteristics I value most in people is their ability to make me laugh, yet I can go full days with only mild chuckles.

That’s because remembering to laugh is a habit like anything else. Make sure you let loose and give yourself permission to enjoy the hilarious and magical world around you. If you live in LA, you’ve got access to some of the funniest people in the world performing constantly any given night of the week. If you live elsewhere, our world is so connected you can download almost anything your little heart desires- a comedy series, movie, stand up special- you name it.

Go out of your way to be silly and make people laugh. Keep around those who make you laugh. Laughter releases tension. Plus, it feels awesome. So awesome that it can be addicting and you can want to dedicate your entire life to it and spend every waking hour wanting to create things that make people laugh without ever thinking how you’ll actually get paid for it then you realize you have no money and no groceries but you don’t care because you just came up with an awesome sketch idea that’s gonna make people laugh and that’ll make them feel better even though you feel bad because your body is hungry because you can’t afford food.

Sorry. Things got a little real there for a moment. 

I hope these have been helpful for you. Life is always a balancing act, so even if you’re really good about one or two of them, my guess is you can work on some other element.

If this was not at all helpful and you already do all of these things perfectly, congrats! Please shoot me and email or tweet and let me know how you did it. Because I could use the help. Lord knows I could use the help

Briana Hansen

About Briana Hansen

Briana Hansen is an enthusiastic actress, writer, and comedian originally from the midwest who now lives in Los Angeles and loves every moment of it. She trained in improvisation and sketch comedy for years in Chicago and continues to perform and study it in LA. She creates a constantly evolving comedic solo show “Femoir” which has been produced at major comedy theaters and festivals all over the nation for several years. She continues to produce it in bi-monthly in podcast form and onstage periodically. She performs sketch comedy regularly at The Second City with TMI Hollywood and does stand up gigs at major (and minor) venues throughout the city. Her first novel, “Cartoon Confessions,” will be published in spring 2014. She is currently producing and starring in a comedic web series she wrote called “The Other Client List.” She is a major sunscreen advocate.