As a life coach, I’m a huge proponent of personal growth, and growth usually means change. Becoming happier often means re-engineering a bad habit, or starting a healthy new routine (like exercise or meditation). But sometimes the best thing that we can do for our happiness is stick with an old routine.

Researchers believe that the brains in both humans and animals evolved to feel calmed by repetitive behavior, and that our daily rituals and habits are a primary way to manage stress. Ever notice that you always drive to work the same way, even though there are dozens of other routes? Or that you always put deodorant on right after you brush your hair? Each of us has hundreds of little habits that carry us through the day. The fast-paced world we live in can feel quite unpredictable, but our daily rituals can help us feel more in control, often without us ever realizing it.

Return to routine. What daily routine or ritual did you drop this summer that you realize now provided you with a little respite of calm? What routine do you have now that you’ll stick with?

Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a coach and the author of RAISING HAPPINESS: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents.  A sociologist at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, her goal is to help parents bring more joy into their own lives and the lives of their children.

Want more great tips?
Happy Mom Tip #1: Disconnect
Happy Mom Tip #2: Stop Rushing Around
Happy Mom Tip #3: Express Gratitude
Happy Mom Tip #4: Organize
Happy Mom Tip #5: Forgive Someone
Happy Mom Tip #6: Get Excited About Someone Else’s Good News
Happy Mom Tip #7: Celebrate a Mistake
Happy Mom Tip #8: Talk To Strangers
Happy Mom Tip #9: Share Your Good News
Happy Mom Tip #10: Flex Your Generosity Muscle
Happy Mom Tip #11: Be Kind
Happy Mom Tip #12: Take a Break 
Happy Mom Tip #13: Dance Around
Happy Mom Tip #14: Make Yourself Guffaw
Happy Mom Tip #15: Take a Stroll
Happy Mom Tip #16: Go Out and Play With Some Friends
Happy Mom Tip #17: Give Out Some Hugs
Happy Mom Tip #18: Find Some Inspiration
Happy Mom Tip #19: Get Out into Nature
Happy Mom Tip #20: Imagine Your “Best Possible Future Self”
Happy Mom Tip #21: Get Enough Sleep
Happy Mom Tip #22: Let Yourself Feel What You Feel
Happy Mom Tip #23: Expose Yourself to Someone Else’s Pain
Happy Mom Tip #24: Turn Off the Boob Tube
Happy Mom Tip #25: Don’t Buy That Thing That You Really Want
Happy Mom Tip #26: Take a Blatant Nap
Happy Mom Tip #27: Play a Game That Makes You Happy
Happy Mom Tip #28: Spend Some Time Alone
Happy Mom Tip #29: Take a Power Nap
Happy Mom Tip #30: Learn Something New
Happy Mom Tip #31: Have an Easy Morning
Happy Mom Tip #32: One Kind Thing.
Happy Mom Tip #33: Exhale. Twice.
Happy Mom Tip #34: Stop Stalling 
Happy Mom Tip #35: Make Your Task List More Fun
Happy Mom Tip #36: Ignore Your Kids
Happy Mom Tip #37: Take 20
Happy Mom Tip #38: Call a Friend
Happy Mom Tip #39: Lower Your Expectations
Happy Mom Tip #40: Commit to Kindness
Happy Mom Tip #41: Automate a Hassle
Happy  Mom Tip #42: Say No to Someone Besides Yourself
Happy Mom Tip #43: Hang Out with an Animal
Happy Mom Tip #44: Listen to Your Favorite Songs
Happy Mom Tip #45: Skip Those Christmas Cookies
Happy Mom Tip #46: Write a Love Letter

photo courtesy of BZO via Creative Commons