Happiness feels good! It increases our energy and engagement in life, it replaces chemicals associated with stress (cortisol, neoepinephrine and adrenaline) with chemicals that enable us to relax, smile and feel good (dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin), and it has a contagious quality that not only makes us feel better but it increases the happiness of those around us.  When we’re happy, we’re more productive and creative, see more opportunity in the world and are more apt to see goodness in others.  Happiness is a win-win – it lifts us and those around us.  In short, it’s a great idea to be curious about how you can tap into happiness and use it to jolt your life.  Charge into your weekend committing to these five tips and you’ll surely raise your happiness quotient and feel more inspired and engaged!

1.  Say “NO” to toxic people!  Yep, in just about every academic article, coaching report or personal empowerment piece, you’ll find that saying “NO” to toxic people in your life is imperative for increasing that feel good, happy state.  How do you know if someone has a toxic presence – well, just ask yourself what percentage of your interactions with them do you walk away feeling alive and inspired.  Realizing that percentage can be a wake-up call to major changes in your life.

2.  Provide genuine assistance!  Feeling that we’ve genuinely helped another allows us to feel useful and helps us connect to that “bigger purpose” in the world.  Whether it’s mentoring someone to be a better version of themselves, offering support for someone who is suffering or donating time at a local food pantry, providing genuine help releases those feel good chemicals in our brain.  How do you be genuine?  Try practicing small episodes where you are totally grounded in another’s experience – in other words, you’re consciously shutting off that inclination to insert your own experiences into your support.  Remember…..we have two ears and one mouth for a reason!

3.  Get moving!  Getting outside and moving helps us connect with rhythms of the earth and increases our blood flow.  It doesn’t have to be a huge – a 20 minute walk can have the same affect on your happiness that a 10 mile run can.  Take the time now to look at your weekend schedule and the weather forecast – then have a conscious plan for getting out and moving.

4.  Let go of the past!  Let’s face it, if we were perfect we wouldn’t be growing.  Having regret and replaying past experiences will affect our present happiness quotient – and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about what’s already happened.  Learning to replace regret and remorse with images of opportunity connects the positive emotional attractor neurons in our brains and results in an optimistic thought vs a pessimistic thought.  For instance, when you find yourself saying “I wish I would have…..” try replacing it with “The next time I’m in a similar situation I’m going to…..”.  Having a conscious plan for how we will do something in the future changes our present mood and frames our future actions!

5.  Play all out!  I say this often – PLAY ALL OUT!!  Clients hear me say this and immediately think they have to be engaging in some sort of extravagant task – like cycling a century or running a marathon.  Nope.  Playing all out means striving to be 100% present in everything you do.  Whether you’re taking a nap in front of football, saying no to toxic people, or shopping at the grocery store, you’re totally present in doing it.  This strategy is an important key in your success and happiness.  Try closing your eyes and having a conscious image of you playing all out in “X” – and then open your eyes and do “X”.  You’ll be more engaged and alive – I promise!

Being happy is a choice!  Commit now to heading into the weekend with a focus on mindful happiness and enjoy the experience of a happier you and watch how you inspire others to be happier too!  #LiveAlive and make your weekend amazing!!