Happiness is your birthright, yet it often seems difficult to maintain. There are an overwhelming amount of stressors in today’s world: demanding jobs, time consuming commutes, and less quality time with family and friends. It’s difficult not to get caught up in a cycle of depression.

According to the CDC, more than 1 in 20 Americans age 12 and older suffer from depression. That’s a lot of people, and to be depressed at such a young age is telling.

Regardless of what’s going on in your life, and regardless of how old you are, here are 5 practical tips you can apply right now to live a happy, healthy life, regardless of your circumstances or physical limitations.

1. Smile at people genuinely

Just smiling can make you and others feel good. Feeling good is contagious!

2. Handle your social incompletions

An incompletion is something in our world that’s been left unfinished or unresolved. Examples of incompletions include forgotten promises, undelivered contracts, excessive debt, and even arguments we’ve walked away from without resolving.

Incompletions put subconscious pressure on you and bring your mood down. The more incompletions you have, the worse you’ll feel. Social incompletions are easy to fix, and when you do, your whole body will radiate with the feeling of freedom.

Take a moment to consider any promises you’ve made that you have yet to fulfill. Maybe you told a friend you’d call them back, or you promised to send a link to someone. Perhaps you had an argument with a friend and left in an angry mood. Maybe you told someone you’d meet them for dinner next week and you have to cancel, but you haven’t yet. Complete these situations either by following through with your word or communicating to the other person that you’re no longer able to keep your word. It’s that simple!

So, what about those incompletions with people you can’t talk to? People who have died or would never agree to a conversation? You can still complete the situation by yourself. All you have to do is take a moment to sit quietly and consciously choose to be complete with the situation. You don’t need anyone else’s approval or agreement. You just have to acknowledge that you’re complete and let it go. 

3. Handle your financial incompletions

Handling your financial incompletions can relieve you of unconscious burdens that are keeping you in a cycle of depression or defeat. Repairing your credit is the last step toward freeing yourself from the tangles of financial burdens.

Even after you pay off your debt, your credit report may still show your history of former delinquent accounts. Even though they will be marked as “paid,” anyone running a credit check on you will know about your past. 

While you can’t legitimately erase your past, you can take steps to remove items that aren’t your debts or are due for deletion. Beware of credit repair companies that offer to increase your score and remove items from your report; they often use illegal strategies that only work long enough for them to get paid.

The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) is designed to protect you from getting into a bad deal with these shady credit repair companies. This law requires credit repair companies to be up front about what they can do for you, bans them from guaranteeing the removal of negative items, and they can only collect payment after the services have been performed.

4. Control the information you consume

Aside from the fact that fake news is everywhere and it’s hard to tell who the real journalists on YouTube are, any information you consume is going to affect your psyche and, therefore, your mood.

Be selective with what you take in from the news in any form. Just because news comes from alternative media doesn’t mean it’s better for you. There is just as much negativity woven into alternative media as there is in mainstream media.

5. Move your body

Moving your body is one of the ultimate ways to maintain a healthy, happy life. You’ve probably noticed that when you don’t feel like getting out of bed, the moment you do, your body responds and you start feeling better.

Yoga is one of the best ways to move your body. It’s not only good for flexibility, building muscle, and breathing, but yoga also protects your spine and regulates your adrenal glands, among other benefits. The more you move your body and get your blood flowing, the more mood boosting chemicals your brain will produce, creating a cascading feeling of wellness in mind, body, and spirit.

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