5 Realistic, Tried & True Ways to Improve Happiness

Written by Christine @ So Domestically Challenged, Contributing Writer

Happiness seems such a difficult thing sometimes.  I have a devoted husband, loving and successful children, a beautiful home and the kind of life I always thought would be out of my grasp.  Yet some days, the failures of my life play over and over like a movie reel, reminding me of unforgivable shortcomings and casting a shadow of fear across my future.

The thing is, I’m human: a flawed, imperfect human who’s in a constant mode of figuring things out.  We all are.  As much as we believe we’re supposed to understand everything by now, the truth is we don’t and we can’t and we never fully will.  The best we can do is accept ourselves and our lives for the amazing miracles that they are and learn to be happy, because we only have this one life.

5 Realistic Tried & True Ways to Improve Your Happiness

Here are 5 realistic, tried and true ways to improve happiness.


It seems counter-intuitive: decluttering is such a stressful activity, but the results are life-changing.  Studies have shown that a cluttered area makes your brain feel like there’s chaos around.  You automatically get a heightened sense of stress.  This becomes your baseline and everything else piles on.

Start out small and set easily attainable goals like “By the end of January, I’m going to have my bedroom sorted”.  This doesn’t mean it has to look like something off Pinterest.  It simply means that clothes are neatly put away in drawers, surfaces are clear of all but a few possessions, floors are clear and cleaned.  Waking up in a space where you aren’t reminded of things you have to catch up on will improve your mood from the get go.


Live Like Martha

I don’t mean have the perfect home and craft everything yourself and cook like a pro.  Nope.  What I always find soothing on Martha’s shows is that she frequently plays soothing music in the background.  It’s the kind of music on the kiosk by the greeting cards in Target: a kind of classical with acoustic guitars and whatnot.

For the month of December, I played the “Classical Christmas” station on Pandora at a soft volume at home.  It changed the entire vibe of the house.  Not only was it calming, but I noticed that I became more productive.  It worked so well, in fact, that I started using it during my Girl Scout meetings and it really seemed to help move things along.


Find a Problem, Fix a Problem

“My face looks old and I hate it”.  “I’ve gained so much weight, I’ve let myself go”.  This kind of negative self-talk will ruin you.  Not can, WILL.  It’s tough to fight those demons, so take a logical approach and think of yourself as a trusted friend you can give advice to.

If my friend said she hated the way she looked, I would a) tell her she’s beautiful and perfect just the way she is; and b) suggest that maybe she can make a small change with big impact:  a new hairstyle or color.  Maybe new makeup.  For me, I find just spritzing a little MAC Fix+ on my face makes me instantly look more alert, which is transformative.  When I feel fat, I go out shopping for a new shirt or two that are not oversized and hiding myself, but flattering to my figure, no matter what shape that may be at the moment.  Having at least one outfit that makes you look good will do so much more for your self-esteem than thinking you look like a blob in everything.


Put Things in Perspective

A few years ago, my husband and I had a huge argument.  I can’t even remember now what it was about.  It wasn’t anything life-changing, but I was beyond angry.  Beyond.  I wondered to myself, “what comes next?”.  I imagined a high-drama movie where a divorcing couple has to stand in front of a judge and state the reason their marriage is irreparable.  I imagined the judges annoyed reaction when I told him that this fight was the reason for our split.  I realized that in the big picture, this argument was nothing.  I couldn’t hold this grudge forever, and really, I’d be terribly flawed if I did.

The point is to try to see situations in perspective.  Are you being fair in the discipline of your children?  Are you responding appropriately to people who are less than courteous?  Is that conflict with a teacher/administrator/parent going to matter in a year?  How about a month?  How about a week?  Are you even going to remember this happening?  Probably not.  Put it into perspective and respond appropriately.


Find Joy in Every Day

Whether you’re jotting it down in one of those handy line-a-day journals or just taking a quiet moment to reflect, make sure you take the time to find something positive in each day.  In our family, we have a tradition: every night at dinner, we go around the table and everybody states how their day was (for better or for worse) and then they tell the best part of the day.  For the kids, they also have to state what the best part of school was.  This helps us to ensure that each day, no matter how tough, we all find something that brought us joy.  As an added bonus:  it keeps our family close and gets a lot more info out of the kids than simply asking “what did you do at school today?” which always produced a non-answer.

I hope these tips help you keep happiness close.  If you feel though that nothing can make you happy anymore, please see a professional.  Sometimes we need personal coaching to be reminded of how incredibly precious our lives are.

What do you do to keep happiness close?

About Christine

Christine is a mom of 2 in central Texas. When she isn’t blogging at SoDomesticallyChallenged, she’s a Girl Scout leader, involved in the PTO, a professional organizer and of course, stays busy spending time with her sweet family. She posts about organization for families, DIY projects, books and anything else that brings her joy.


  1. Lots of great advice. Continuing to remove the clutter from my life is certainly a priority and I really like the idea of keeping calming music on in the background. I find I am happiest when I am fully engaged in serving others.

  2. These are such great tips! I love the idea of the background music. Music really is such a mood booster.

  3. Putting things in perspective is really hard in the heat of the moment – but certainly the right thing to do.
    Great advice there, Christine. 🙂


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