Jump Start your Happiness
Have you ever noticed, the more we tell ourselves we should be happier, the worse we feel? The more zealously we pursue it with crazy high standards of what will and should bring us happiness, the less successful we are.
I don’t know how much of my life I’ve wasted thinking the next relationship, experience or thing would make me truly happy, when all along the power to create my happiness or well being was my own.
The truth is, your path to happiness is just like a diet – no one diet works for everyone; the diet your sister followed to drop fifty pounds may not have worked for you – the same is true of happiness; what brings me joy is likely different to what brings it for you.
Finding happiness is really a journey of exploration – you need to try new experiences to find which works for you. How else will you know what makes you happy?
Here are some ways to jump start your happiness…
1. Enjoy the small things – pay close attention to life’s passing pleasures and share them with others (photographs are a great way to do this).
2. Don’t hold grudges – forgive those who have wronged you. When we do this we feel better about ourselves, we experience more positive emotions and feel closer to others.
3. Get moving – regular exercise increases self-esteem while reducing anxiety and stress. This may actually be the most effective, immediate happiness booster.
4. Be thankful – research shows that simply counting our blessings is an incredibly powerful thing. Expressing gratitude regularly promote optimism, better health and life satisfaction.
5. Keep good friends close – social connections are another key to happiness, but research tells us this is about quality not quantity. Make time for those you have close, positive relationships with,
6. Get with the flow – at home and work seek out more challenging and absorbing experiences to ‘lose yourself’ in; which many researchers call ‘the flow.’
7. Be kind – being kind to others makes us feel good. Donate blood, help a friend with homework, visit an elderly relative, write a thank you letter. Altruistic (showing a selfless concern for the well-being of others) acts light up the same pleasure centres in the brain as food and sex.
8. Look on the bright side – practice looking at the bright side of every situation. Try keeping a journal in which you imagine and write about the best possible future for yourself.
9. Avoid comparing and over thinking – use strategies to cut down on how often you dwell on your problems and stop comparing yourself to others!
10. Recall three good things – it is so easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong and feel like we’re living under our own private rain cloud. At the same time we tend to take good things and people in our lives for granted. List three good things that happened in your day, and think about what caused them – this will encourage you to tune into the sources of goodness into your life.
Start today and jump start your happiness.
Health Coach & Nutritional Therapist
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