Happiness and Relaxation

We can spend so much time thinking about everything we have to do and deal with that we can forget the importance of simply being happy.  And it is important! Research in positive psychology, or the study of human flourishing, shows us that happiness is linked with better health, stress management, and success in life.

If you're looking for something to lift your spirits, try these happiness tips:

Spend a little time every day thinking about what you enjoy and appreciate. Even just a few minutes spent noticing one thing that made your day easier can shift your mindset and improve your mood. 

Shifting your mind from things to worry about or even that mundane to-do list to things you're looking forward to can boost your mood, help you deal with stress, and give you more optimism. A simple way to practice this is including at least 1 thing in your daily planner that you're genuinely looking forward to. It doesn't need to be extravagant. Even seemingly simple actions like having a glass of lemonade or saying hi to a friend can make all the difference.

Take a few minutes to think about what happiness means to you. Does it mean contentment? Personal freedom? Feeling connected to important friends? Choose a few feelings that resonate with you and make a point of doing things to support those feelings every day. 

The feeling of awe you get when you look at a beautiful piece of art or marvel at nature is good for you! Take time out for awe and inspiration. Listen to an inspirational song, watch a documentary about someone you admire, or spend time in nature.

When your daily actions are aligned with your natural strengths, you feel powerful and effective. Give yourself permission to name your strengths and own them, and then consider how you could use them more in your daily life. Stumped about what your strengths might be? Take the free Values in Action Survey of Character Strengths through viacharacter.org.

PERMA stands for positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement. These are the building blocks of human flourishing. When each of these domains is expressed in your life, you feel better and do better. If you're feeling off-balance, do a quick self-test. Is one area of PERMA lacking in your life? How can you bring it back into alignment?

Ready for more?

Try these worksheets from CAPS:


Enroll in TAO Self-Help. (It's free!)

TAO has self-help modules on improving your mood and leaving your blues behind and a great mindfulness library. Enrollment in TAO is free for UA students!


Practice with these activities from Greater Good in Action:

Feel Happier with Meaningful Photos

Make Giving Feel Good with Acts of Kindness

Imagine your Best Possible Self for Greater Optimism


These CAPS videos and presentations can help you live a happier life:

Live a Happy Life Series: 4 Everyday Tips

Relaxation Videos

How to Thrive: Positive Psychology Practices for Happier Living: Positive Psychology Practices for Happier Living presentation


Find out more about living a happier life with these self-help articles and books: 

The 7 Habits of Happy People on Pursuit of Happiness

6 Positive Psychology Tips That Can Improve Your Everyday Life on Psych Central

89 Ways to Achieve a Positive Mental Attitude on Positive Psychology Program

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being by Martin Seligman


Go back for more self-help resources from CAPS