If you’re finding that winter’s gray skies and freezing weather have got you down, you’re not alone: According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, between 4 and 6 percent of the population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Instead of hiding inside of your apartment for the entire season, take these simple steps to increase your happiness:
1. Take risks
Although having a routine can be helpful in managing your life, feeling like you’re stuck in a rut will only serve to depress you. Try to do something that challenges you every single day, whether it’s meeting a new fitness goal or finally introducing yourself to that cute guy in class.
Laughter increases endorphins and reduces stress, giving you a more optimistic view of life. Take time to joke around with friends, watch a funny movie or play a game of charades. If you think it’s funny, it’s worth your time.
Physical activity has also been proven to release endorphins and promote happiness. If exercise isn’t your thing, try dancing around your apartment to your favorite album – it will get your heart rate up without feeling like a chore.
4. Take a break
Studying in the library for hours on end won’t do much to improve your mood. Make time for yourself to do something you enjoy every day, whether that be sketching, taking a bubble bath or cooking yourself a nice meal. You deserve it!
5. Be generous
Research has shown that selfless people tend to be happier, so try to do something nice for someone else every single day. It can be something as simple as shoveling your neighbor’s walk or paying your friend a compliment. At the end of the day, write down five things you’re grateful for – it will help you keep things in perspective.
6. Surround yourself with positivity
Try to stay away from people who bring negativity into your life, and instead surround yourself with supportive friends. To give your positivity a boost, exposure yourself to plenty of sunlight and keep fresh scents like lemon and peppermint nearby.
7. Cultivate relationships
Taking time to maintain and improve the relationships in your life will help improve your overall happiness. According to the Huffington Post, research shows that strong social connections are an important component of happiness, so don’t neglect them!