In today’s fast-paced world, it appears we are all chasing after something or the other, whether it be a new car, the mortgage on the house, or the new television for the living room. But what fascinates me is that most of us believe that these things really will be the key to true happiness. That they would change our lives for the better. When the crux of the matter is that, happiness is not just a [insert materialistic item] away. Has your new and larger house truly ever made you happy and changed your life for the better? Not if you weren’t already happy, to begin with. The issues of your life remain the same. Your thought processes remain the same. A material possession wouldn’t alter that. Happiness comes from within. One of my favorite quotes pertaining to happiness says just that, “I feel like people get lost when they think of happiness as a destination.” So, today let us discuss how you can be happier and transform your lives in the process.
It seems like something we are always doing, right? Well, sure. In a manner of speaking. But what of when we get stressed? The shallow breathing associated with the stress affects our thinking process also. It is then that we need to take a step back, extricate our minds from the stress of the situation, and breathe. I know this can often be easier said than done. Stress and troubled times come to us all in various forms. They are a part of life. But when anxiety and frustration threaten to consume you, take a short break, sit down and avail that time to inhale deeply through your nose. Exhale with your mouth. The deep breaths will relax your muscles, improve concentration and calm your mind. Repeat this a few times, and thus allow the simple act of breathing to soothe you.
Research shows that hugging a loved one causes the release of the feel-good hormones in our body, meaning that hugging a dear one can help uplift mood, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure. Physical intimacy helps increase trust and affection between two people. Being put in a good mood, you are more likely to put others in a good mood. So, go ahead and start your day with a hug, or several.
8. Learn something new
Is there something you have always wished you knew more of? Some skills you have always wanted to acquire? A language you hope to learn? Then, take out a few minutes each day to learn something new. If you don’t want to go to Italian night classes to learn the language, then don’t. This isn’t about making yourself do something you don’t wish to do. Find something that interests you, and that you genuinely are desirous of learning, and go for that! The challenge of learning something new and achieving a target will bring excitement into your life, as well as boost your confidence.
Yoga can vary from vigorous and intense to moderate and rather tame. If you are a beginner, then opt for the gentler forms to start with. Yoga reduces stress, and helps relax body and mind. It enables you to attain a state of peace and contentment. Starting each day with yoga will allow you to see its benefits on your body and mind, and therefore your life, within a short span of time.
Begin each day with the end in mind. When you wake up in the morning, visualise in your mind’s eye how you want your day to proceed. Remind yourself of the goals you wish to achieve. This would allow you a sense of organisation and composure. But most importantly, tell yourself that no matter how the day progresses, you would still be happy.
5. Eat well
There are certain foods that help improve our mood, and certain that don’t. Some foods ease anxiety and reduce the risk of depression. Whereas others leave you agitated, feeling bloated, or lethargic. So next time, pay close attention to what you eat and see what works best for you. It is no secret that the right kind of foods help our immune system and uplift mood. Remember, a little goes a long way.
4. Go outside
The importance of going outside is no secret. Not only does luxuriating in the sun improve Vitamin D levels, but, according to studies, it also elevates serotonin levels, a feel good hormone В in our body. And besides, it has been my experience and of several others I know, that whenever you encourage yourself to step outside, something good usually does happen. So make it a habit of going outside whenever you feel like you need a reprieve, and take in some of that fresh air.
3. Compliment people
This does not mean paying fake compliments to all and sundry. Oh, no. Instead, spend time with people and observe and listen to them more rather than speak yourself. Slow down, and watch how they move, what they do, their mannerisms, how they comport themselves, or whatever it is that catches your fancy. Observe. And utilise that knowledge to pay someone a genuine compliment. This would not only brighten their day, but yours too knowing that you did something, even if a little, to enliven another’s mood. After all, Mark Twain says so; “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer someone else up.”
“The things you own end up owning you.” I would tell you where this is from, but the first rule of __ is you do not talk about __. Moving on from the Tyler Durden quote, I’d like to share with you that this is something that I employed about a year ago and got some great results. I got hold of everything in my closet that I did not need or had not worn in the last year, and put it into a bag to dispose off. The purpose here was not simply to discard, but to let decluttering affect my life in the way it is meant to. And so it did. I observed a sense of focus, organisation and direction. Having innumerable useless possessions occupy your physical space tends to make way for a great amount of emotional and mental cluttering. And sometimes, it is those unnecessary physical reminders of previous emotional attachments that take up space in our brains and cause us stress by simply being present in front of our eyes. So decluttering may be colossally underrated, but a mere ten minutes of it is undoubtedly very effective.
Simply put, feeling grateful for all that you have would allow you to be happy and content with your lot in life, whether it is a little or a lot. Take time out each day to recount the good things in your life, and focus your mind and energy on them. This will reframe your mindset about the situation at hand, take the sting out of the tough issues, and shift your focus to everything that is right with your life. Therefore, it will eventually leave you with a happy taste in your mouth and teach you that true happiness isn’t as elusive as it sometimes appears. In this regard, I like to adhere to the Aristotle school of thought, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”