Ask yourself: Am I happy?

We know that can sometimes be a difficult question to answer. We aren’t always going to be happy, and that’s okay. There is just as much, if not more, that we can take away from the challenging seasons of our lives – from the pain, the sadness, and the helplessness. But if that question is answered with an “I don’t know, I guess?” or, more straight-forwardly, a “no,” then it’s time to start building up some positivity around you.

Once you are surrounded by or engaged in external things that give you happiness, you will be able to channel that happiness internally. The question “What makes you happy?” may be overwhelming to those who feel that they don’t yet have a good grasp on their passions. Instead, a better question might be, “What would your perfect day look like?”

If you can run over a checklist in your head, you can start to rank the things that you enjoy doing by how much happiness they bring you. Then, start to do those things as much as possible. We’ve found that engaging in fulfilling hobbies will not only give you an outlet to channel your negativity into, replacing your current list of go-to bad habits as coping mechanisms, but they will increase your overall happiness.

Stuck and can’t think of any hobbies that are a good fit for you? Try one of these 3 to start!

1. Start Writing

Pick up a pen or open your laptop and just start writing. Writing is such a therapeutic exercise for so many. You don’t even have to write to produce any substantial piece of work for others to see. Get into the habit of journaling frequently and use it as a time for personal reflection.

2. Cook More Often

And no, buying a frozen pizza and sticking it in the oven after work does not count as cooking. We’re talking about purchasing a cookbook or perusing Pinterest for some mouth-watering recipes that require an list of ingredients. Put your mind and brain to work creating tonight’s dinner. Not only will you distract your mind from those negative thoughts, but you will have a delicious meal to enjoy afterwards!

3. Spend Some Time Outside

Take your dog on a walk and explore different routes around your home you have never taken before. Google beautiful trails near where you live and reserve a morning or afternoon to go hiking once or twice a month. Send an invite via your group text and get some friends together to play basketball. There is nothing better than turning off Netflix and enjoying the natural light and fresh air of the outdoors (which will make watching that new Netflix series feel earned after a day of outside activity).

If you try one of these hobbies and it doesn’t stick, that’s okay. By exploring these, you will eventually discover a hobby that is the best fit for you. Once you find an activity that brings you happiness, make time for it! Incorporating it into your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule will make you feel better than ever before.