While at a party a few weeks ago someone said to me “I love what you are doing with your blog and social media but are you really happy like that all the time”?
I stopped for a second to think about her question and said “If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that happiness is a choice… so yes…I really am happy, because I am choosing to be”.
When I think about all of the years that I spent allowing myself to get caught up in negative thoughts I realize I spent a lot of time worrying about and focusing on things that I had no control over. I couldn’t change things that already happened and allowing myself to get sucked into the drama of friends was an easy way for me to have not have to deal with my own issues, because I was busy solving there’s.
My serious road rage was a clear indicator that I was unhappy, and I used it as an opportunity to yell out loud when I was behind the wheel…which is every day. Because someone just did something “totally fucking stupid” in my head I was perfectly justified to lose my shit. One day Ron finally sat me down and told me he was worried for my health and my safety, since I was definitely raising my blood pressure and was concerned that someone would retaliate against my outrage. This made me start to examine, why was I so angry? I have a beautiful and fortunate life. Why would I allow myself to be so consumed with negative thoughts, or the actions of others that I would yell at people while I was driving?
Over the last 19 months through yoga and inten-sati practices I am continuously reminded that we are each the co-creators of our lives and that we have the ability to choose our thoughts and our attitude. We can either choose to live in a negative mindset and get sucked into that space or we can choose to change our perspective and live a fuller and happier life. I know it sounds hokey at first, but it’s so true…and you don’t just “Get Happy” overnight either, it takes real work. Also, once you are in a state of happiness you have to continue that work to remain there. It’s like having great abs…once you have achieved them, you have to continue to put the work in so they stay that way. But, when you are living your life from this place everything feels lighter…easier, and the joy that you feel on the inside is felt by others.
We all have negative stuff that we could dwell on, work problems, relationship issues, friendship drama, weight issues and the list can go on and on. For me, I had a lot of feelings wrapped around my being adopted, not feeling worthy or enough, and always feeling that I needed to prove myself to everyone. Since I have been doing the work on myself and taking a happier approach to life, I am learning to let these things go, as well as the people in my life who do not wish me well or bring negative vibes to my universe. It’s hard, but perfectly acceptable to cut the cord on those relationships that do not serve you. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own mental health, and you must protect it.
Happiness by definition is more than simply positive mood, is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life—that is, with a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction. To find happiness you first need to find yourself. Ask yourself, who am I honestly and what makes me feel joyous and my life feel full?
So, are you ready to choose happiness as a way of life? To feel lighter, more positive and have an all -around easy energy that feels good for yourself and others? Below I have complied a list of things you can do to put you on the road to a happier life that will have you feeling more energetic, and more fulfilled!
- Take time for yourself- Allow 15-30 minutes for yourself every morning…like, really to yourself. This can be difficult when we have kids or a partner, but it is so important to start your day with a few minutes of “me” time. This time should be social media free. Maybe it is enjoying your morning coffee or reading the paper. It could be a morning walk, jog, or workout class. Whatever it is it should be something that feeds your soul first thing before you give yourself and your time to others.
- Exercise- Studies show that when you exercise you release endorphins which help to stabilize mood. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Serotonin, in particular is helpful to fight depression and increase positivity, leaving you with a “natural high”.
- Get some Sun- Don’t you just love that feeling of the sun on your face…it always makes me feel warm and excited. There is a real reason we feel that way after a day at the beach or a simple stroll down a sunny road. Studies show that 20 minutes of sunlight a day boosts mood and increases happiness. Wear your sunblock…but get some rays!
- Smile often at yourself and others- Smiles are free so share them regularly and often! A smile can shift the energy of your day and that of those around you.
- Show Gratitude- When we take the time every day to show gratitude for even the smallest of things we have it leaves no room for us to focus on the thing we don’t. It helps to put life into perspective and reminds us that we are unique and amazing just the way we are now.
- Listen to music- Music is proven to bring about joy so give Give yourself a theme song. This song can change from day to day or week to week…or it can forever be the same anthem. Whenever you are feeling stressed or down sing that song to yourself or if you can blast it on your stereo or phone.
- Live in the present- Often people will say “I can have this, when I have done that”. Don’t deprive yourself of simple satisfactions. Remember that you deserve to care for yourself now, at every state you are in along your life journey.
- Choose your thoughts wisely- Our thoughts have so much power that we need to be mindful of the ones we choose and the conversations that we have in our heads. If we continue to have negative conversation we will never lead a happier life. When you find yourself having negative conversation say something positive to yourself, so that you can change the script and lead yourself toward a new direction.
- Give compliments to others- Don’t we all feel happy when someone pays us a compliment? I know my mood shifts when someone says they like my outfit, hair, or shoes. Why not share that same good feeling with others? You will find happiness in the reactions it brings and the joy you have shared with the person on the receiving end.
- Surround yourself with positive people- The old adage positivity begets positivity and negativity begets negativity rings so true. When you surround yourself with happy and positive people those vibes rub off on you and others.
- Get some sleep- Studies show that when you are well rested you have a more positive attitude, so do your best to get you 8hrs.
- Start Now!- Stop looking for happiness and start living it! Happiness is a choice and you can choose to start being happy now.