If I asked you to close your eyes for a moment and think about the day you've had so far what would you feel? Happiness? Sadness? Anger? On a scale of 1-10 what would your happiness level be? My guess for most of us below 5 unless you've gone shopping today or had a really good piece of cheesecake, lol. If that’s the case, please save this article for tomorrow.
Now think about your stress level for the day, is it above 5? Perhaps even closer to 10? Our days are fueled by stress, it’s practically unavoidable.
From traffic, work, bills, family issues, relationship issues, health issues, and more, our minds are filled with worry and negative thoughts about what happened yesterday and what we have to do tomorrow. There is so much going on in there that most times all the negative thoughts overpower the positive. It affects our ability to slow down and stay in the moment and most of all it affects our ability to feel happiness.
We can't always change the circumstances that stress us, but I have found there are small teeny tiny changes we can make that can help us balance the scale. So with that in mind, I present my List of Things You Should Know About Happiness.
1. THE BASICS - We all know these - The Big Three. Diet, sleep and exercise. We hear it over and over again because it does help, we just never have enough time in our day for it. Think about your mood when you don't have enough sleep or you’re crashing from too much sugar. Hello Moody Judy!
2. BREATHE - If you can meditate that’s awesome, but I've found the most helpful relaxation technique is to stop what you are doing a few times throughout the day and just breathe. Go ahead, let’s try it now. Take a slow deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds and then let it out as slow as you can. Repeat a few more times. Do you feel your body letting go? If you find yourself drifting into negative thoughts during your day that is the best time to focus on your breathing, it will help keep you in the moment. For instance, if you are in the shower and your mind is visiting an argument you've had with your coworker yesterday that is the perfect time to do it!
3. LET IT GO - Think about how stressed you are. Does anyone else know what you are going through? Peeps may know you have a problem but do they really know what is going on inside your heart, your head, or your home? Most times they don't and guess what… We have no clue what’s truly going on with them either. So if someone cuts you off in traffic, your boss yells at you or a family member makes you crazy, feel it for a moment, call a friend if you need to talk about it, then let it go. It’s not always about us, so don't hold on to it. Your mood affects everyone around you so don't let a bad day turn into a bad week.
4. SMILE - Did you know smiling is contagious? Try it. Smile and see how many people you infect. I'm not saying walk around with a cheesy grin all day long, but make eye contact with people, smile at them and say “Hi.” It may be the only smile they get that day. They will feel good and you will start to feel amazing!
5. SHOW KINDNESS – First, practice being kind to yourself. Listen to your verbiage if you use words like “I'm fat,” or “I'm worthless,” etc. Stop immediately and replace the negatives with positives. Show kindness to others. Not everyone has family close by, if you have an elderly neighbor check in on them. If someone is struggling carrying their groceries, take a moment and help them. Hold a door for the person behind you; buy a cup of coffee for a friend or a stranger who is standing outside in the cold; say thank you when your partner throws out the garbage. Yes, even though they are supposed to do it anyway, lol. I bet if he feels appreciated, that garbage won't pile up anymore. A small act of kindness goes a long way.
6. PRACTICE GRATITUDE – You must try this one for at least a month. At the end of every day, write down three things you are grateful for. It must be three new things each day, try not repeat yourself. You can keep a journal or text it to a friend but stick with it every night. Even if your day is terrible, look for the good. I promise you can find it. The truth is, it’s never all bad and once we start looking for the positive after a few weeks of practicing, we won't focus as much on the negative. You’ll always see the glass as half full; what you decide to fill it with may make you even happier!
Of course the problems are still there, but if you balance your scale with these small changes you will start looking at life differently. We tend to give away our power so easily and leave our happiness in someone else's hands. We tell ourselves when my boyfriend comes back “I'll be happy,” or when my boss gives me a raise “I'll be happy.” Balancing the scale will help you see that these things can make you feel happiER but they cannot make you happy.
My Final Thought: True Happiness Comes from Within!
Once we find our happiness, it makes it harder for any one person or any one thing to change it or take it away. You will empower yourself to handle all of your yesterdays, todays and tomorrows. Oh and just so you know sharing my weekly Sunday articles with you is first on my Gratitude list for today. What’s on yours? I am here for you if you need me at extension 8659.