Kris Carr

Emotional Health

How to Be Happy Even in a Hard Time (3 Super Easy Ideas)

Hiya Gorgeous!

I sent an email out last weekend about the importance of fun when you’re facing a hard time. Fun is the remedy, my friend. Depriving ourselves of it is the opposite of what we need when we’re struggling.

In fact, the more you’re struggling, the more fun you need to have!

The responses to that email were overwhelming. So many of you committed to having a little F.U.N. (and saying a big F.U. to your hard times). Today, I’m raising a glass to you.

Your responses also inspired me to share a few more easy tips about how to be happy even in a hard time. These aren’t outlandish, reach-for-the-stars ideas. It’s advice from the trenches for those in the trenches. Think of them as easy, attainable ways to let a little light in even when you’re struggling.

Wondering How to Be Happy in a Hard Time?

Here Are 3 Easy Ideas:

Idea 1: Add joy.

On a scale of 1 to 5, how shitty are you feeling these days?

The higher that number, the more likely you are to fall into a joy deficit. Sometimes, we even feel like we’re being inauthentic or frivolous by seeking joy in a hard time. But joy is serious business. Joy boosts our resilience. It relieves the pain and fear we may be feeling. It reminds us that there’s more to life than the difficulties we’re facing right now. It awakens hope.

If you’re facing a hard time, create a micro-joy practice to help carry you through.

It can be just 10 minutes a day. Or one special hour a week. But make it sacred. Sneak away from the burdens you’re holding and give yourself permission to feel good. Spend a few minutes on a hobby you love. Call up a friend and share a laugh. Listen to your favorite song—maybe even dance a little! Throw the ball for your dog. Bring home a Nerf gun and fire off a few shots at your loved ones. Watch a standup comic you love—this one’s my go-to! However you approach it, just give yourself the gift of fun—even if only for a few moments. You’ll be glad you did.

Idea 2: Notice the good.

Are you familiar with the concept of negativity bias? It reveals that our brains are hard-wired to record negative experiences more than positive ones. It’s an important survival instinct. If you were taking a morning walk and came across a dangerous snake on the path, you’d want your brain to record exactly where that happened (and trigger your threat-readiness hormones if you’re ever back in the same spot). It’s a helpful evolutionary tool for keeping you alive.

But there’s a downside… That hyper-fixation on the negative means less room to retain the positive. How many beautiful blooms, puffy clouds, and cute dogs are you passing on that same walk? Odds are, you won’t remember those the same way.

The same is true for your life at large. Your brain will prioritize cataloging the negative to keep you safe. If you want it to take equal notice of the positive, you’ve got to give it a little nudge. A physical touch can be a helpful way to do this. When something joyful or beautiful is happening and you want to take notice, lay a hand on your heart and take a deep breath. Or touch your forehead and smile.

Whatever gesture feels good to you, use the same physical marker every time you feel those moments of joy to remind your brain to stop and notice the good.

That’s also the reason that my Results Journal has space for you to begin each morning by listing three reasons you’re grateful. As gratitude increases, happiness increases. So adopt a few simple practices that anchor you to what’s good and help you see the light—not just the shadows—in your life.

Idea 3: Be kind to your body.

Our psychology and physiology are inextricably linked.

There are lots of hormones racing around in your body that influence how happy you feel, how optimistic you are, and how much energy you have on any given day. In other words, the neurological cocktail your brain is sipping at any given moment (and pouring up for the rest of your body) has a lot to do with how resilient and stress-hardy you feel during a hard time. That’s why a little bit of care for your body is sometimes the fastest way to lift your spirits.

Here are a few simple things you can try:

  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Take a nap.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Eat one healthy meal.
  • Try a magnesium supplement if you’re stressed out or having trouble sleeping.
  • Get your Vitamin D levels checked if you’re struggling a lot with fatigue.

And here’s a big one that’s sure to help: take a 10-minute walk. I know movement can feel like the hardest thing to do when you’re already drained from a difficult season. But it’s probably the biggest difference-maker on this list. It creates the energy you feel like you’re lacking, helps dislodge stress hormones stuck in your tissues, promotes happiness and creates calm. It doesn’t have to be anything major. Just take a short stroll today and see if it helps.

There are seasons in life that invite us to stretch ourselves and tackle ambitious new heights of personal development. In seasons of loss, grief (or any other kind of hard time), that just ain’t the way to go.

The higher the mountain you’re facing, the lower your bar should be. Just do one thing on this list today and you’ve already won, my friend.

Now I’d love to hear from you: What helps you find your happy even when times are hard? Please share with us in the comments.

Sweetness & simplicity,

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  1. Donna says:

    Dancing and singing along with a favorite song and harmonizing, even if part of the time, I’m way off key.
    The would-be vocalist within me loves the sound of harmony . In those moments, she whack- a- moles down both negativity bias and the inner critic. I’m into full-out FUN— Free, Uninhibited and Natural!!
    Thank you for shining your light,Kris. Your smile alone, brightens my day and warms my heart.

  2. Susan Curnow says:

    I feed feral cats (as many as 22) at a nearby city park.They are so sweet and come running when I drive up. My husband and I take our two little dogs for a 30 minute walk almost every day. Two very happy events for me. I love animals.

  3. Tasma says:

    Going for a walk along the river or in the Botanic Gardens with my dog. A mindful walk, taking in the beauty that surrounds me.
    Writing down things I am grateful for.
    Dancing to my favourite songs.

  4. Debbie’s says:

    I’m going through a very hard time at the moment but found joy going to musical bingo. I had no idea what to expect but it was such fun and made me able to cope better after the event. You are so right. Thank you Kris. Xx

  5. Angela says:

    I’m struggling a great deal right now because my beloved dog passed on very recently. First time in well over 20 years that I’ve been without a dog. She was so full of joy and we enjoyed so many wonderful walks in nature together, and I can’t bear to go anywhere without her. I’m trying to remember how focused she was on feeling good and looking for glimmers of light that might bring me a little joy in amongst all this grief. I had a routine of watching my favourite comedy show each night, with her by my side, so I am continuing that. It is strange managing to laugh at such a time, but I’m grateful for any good feeling right now.

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