6 Ways to Choose Happiness
There is a strong part of my personality that likes to drag me to the depths of darkness. It used to be such a fight to stay on the lighter side of life. Never was I clinically depressed but I had a way of getting mired in limiting thoughts. And I have a story, we all do, of times less fortunate and less happy. Times that were trying, terrifying, and tumultuous. These weren't times of me being pessimistic. These were real life, legitimate circumstances for grief. Like I said, we all have our moments. Life is not always unicorns and rainbows. However, it has taught me ways to choose happiness.
Here are six ways I choose happiness:
- Frame of mind: our thought patterns have an impact on our state of happiness. There are times when negative thought patterns of doubt, fear, anxiety, regret, guilt, and shame creep into our brains. Find a way to banish these thoughts quickly and don't let them linger. They are most likely untruths anyway. Pick a mantra to help you reframe your thoughts. I love Louise Hay's book You Can Heal Your Life. She suggests some positive affirmations such as "All is well in my life. Everything is as it should be." This works well for irrational anxiety.
- Get enough sleep: I am talking to you ladies!! We try to cram everything we need to do into one day and will stay up all night to do it. I know for a fact some of you are folding laundry until midnight or straightening up the playroom. When the to do list runs long, the easiest sacrifice is always sleep. DON'T do it. WebMD says average adults need between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep a night. Depending on where you are in life, you may need more sleep. I have spent years underestimating the impact of interrupted sleep when my kids wake me up in the middle of the night. Don't cheat yourself, establish a nighttime routine that works for you and gets you into a healthy sleep pattern.
- Move your body: Find something you love and do it. Yoga, walking, zumba, dance, run, weights, etc. Numerous studies have shown that aerobic exercise will increase serotonin and assist in its release. Studies have shown that yoga works too. Google it. In my opinion, exercise is key as it helps you change your frame of mind AND helps you sleep. Moving your body will also create more body awareness, aid your physical health, and build your self-confidence. I credit moving my body to resolving most of my mental and physical issues.
- Eat clean: I am not interested in your dietary dogma (vegetarian, vegan, paleo, fruitarian, whatever). Just eat clean. Clear out the preservatives, packaged food, artificial flavors/sweeteners, SUGAR, and other negative dietary influences. Eat real food. Eat whole food. Eat a rainbow everyday. Cut the crap from your diet and you will experience a mood boost almost immediately...well after the initial detox. Oh, and EAT FAT! Healthy fats won't make you fat...they will make you HAPPY (and leaner). Again, you can google this one but I will give you a link to this article from Psychology Today about increased brain function from eating fat. Another good source for nutrition information is Dietician Cassie's website.
- Take time for yourself: Put you first. No, you aren't being selfish. Most likely you spend 80% of your time taking care of others - children, spouses, friends, parents, siblings, pets, houses, and/or clients. Carve out some time each day to focus on you. Use your time wisely to exercise, read, journal, meditate, stretch, or sip coffee in silence. Whatever your passion or pleasure is, spend time doing it. EVERY single day! I know I am a better partner, mother, daughter,and business partner if I manage my time to ensure proper self care. I am more happy, patient, compassionate, and creative. You most likely need to start with learning how to say "no." Not sure how to do that, read this.
- Be Authentic: I am happiest being me. I believe that I operate from a place of benevolent intent, self-truth and do no (intentional) harm to others (or myself). When I operate from this place inside me, I don't second guess my decisions or worry about how others may perceive my actions. Here is a list of 25 ways to live more authentically.
I am by no means a "Happiness Expert." I am just a girl on a journey like many of you. Based on my experiences, happiness is a way of being, a choice, a desire. Happiness is within our control and is a direct correlation to how we chose to address the a challenges of life.
Dream big. Have faith. Love life. Command yourself to go forth and be happy.
How do YOU choose happiness?