Happiness is something that many people have, but also something that many more people long for. Too much in life we focus on the negative, and it's by choice, believe it or not! I was reading an article in SUCCESS Magazine called "Choosing Happy," because the article really
embraced some of my own discoveries of the past few years, and even the past few months, and it inspired me to post this blog entry.
Happiness is something that will move you forward in life... and that includes your health and fitness. That's why I always stress making your fitness goals based on positive intentions as opposed to negative viewpoints. Happiness is a momentum maker. Happiness will move you forward, whereas depression will always lead you backwards (and is often rooted in the dwelling on the past). Happiness will create more happiness... and more happiness will create more intention.
Keep reading for more on happiness and some steps you can take to become a more happy person...
"Perhaps the true meaning of happiness will always remain elusive -
probably because it is not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing - yet, we
can tell you with utmost certainty one thing that happiness is: a
choice." ~ "Choosing Happy," by Pauline Estrem (SUCCESS Magazine)
THINGS cannot make you happy... YOU have to make you happy. So, here
are some steps from Shawn Achor and Gretchen Rubin that will help you
find your happy place (with my own commentary in italics. I was actually surprised by how many of these things I already do, but that could explain why I'm rather happy in my own skin today...):
1.) Sing in the morning
It sounds silly, but it can work! I've never really been one to sing in the morning, but I have been known to hum a tune while out and about doing errands or taking a walk. I was actually taken aback while grocery shopping last week because as I was in the produce section I overheard a woman humming while picking out her apples. I had been humming too... almost right next to her! So, we are either equally crazy, or both quite happy people! :-)
2.) Laugh out loud
I used to be terrible at laughing out loud unless people around me were, but I'm getting better at it (it's not that I didn't find things funny, I just had trouble expressing that). I even laugh out loud while home by myself watching a television show or movie now... or even while reading! It's quite liberating feeling so light and free that I can do this now.
3.) Keep a gratitude notebook
I admit that I don't do this, currently, but I do often post on my Facebook and/or Twitter account about things I'm grateful for. However, putting them into one single location that you can go back to, if you find yourself feeling blue, is a great idea.
4.) Commit conscious acts of kindness
This can be as simple as smiling at a stranger, posting a nice note on someone's Facebook wall, saying "thank you," or not giving your cashier a hard time if you have to wait for a price check (I mean, come on, how many heavy sighs and eye rolls do you think they have to deal with every day? Smile, be patient, and even engage in pleasant conversation while you wait). Honestly, this is such a simple task that so many people overlook on a daily basis, because they are too busy living in their bubble of self pity and world hatred. Do something nice for someone else, because it will make YOU feel better too.
5.) Use good manners
Please. Thank you. You're welcome. My pleasure. There are many ways to use good manners... and most of those start with one simple thing. Respect.
Ding ding ding ding! "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." You know, as Legally Blonde as she may be, Elle had it right. Exercise is a proven mood booster... so get moving and move regularly! :-)
7.) Tackle a nagging task
A sense of accomplishment! Now, that's tried and true happiness right there!
8.) Spend money - on experiences
I LOVE this one! I would rather spend money on experiences to possessions any day! Experiences can be alone or with loved ones, but either way, memories can create much more happiness than objects can (unless that object is tied to a memory). Most of my "fun money" of the last two years has gone to experiences, and I've had a fabulous past two years!
9.) Exercise one of your greatest strengths
This could be with your family, at work, through hobby... do something that you LOVE and are good at!
10.) Find an area of refuge
Whether you designate a room in your house or have a favorite place to go (a park, a book store, a coffee shop)... have a place to go where you know you can unwind from time to time.
11.) Go to sleep earlier
Hopefully you don't notice the time of, er, morning that I'm posting this... but yes, sleep is essential! Work towards getting into new habits, I know I sure am.
12.) Take time for projects
This relates back to that sense of accomplishment... make time for projects and then take time for projects. Projects can be anything from something to do around the house (tile the floor, paint the walls), to something artistic (writing, painting, music), or anything else you can dream up.
13.) Start a collection
Well, anybody who knows me know that I am well versed in collections. A collection of what? I don't know... what do you enjoy?
14.) Take time to be silly
This one is fun. Seriously! I've been known to break out into random singing and dancing sessions at home when nobody's watching. If you aren't comfortable being silly around other people, yet, then being silly while alone is a great place to start (though, I will say that I'm totally comfortable being silly in almost any situation by now... laughter is a gift that I enjoy giving when I am able to).
15.) Embrace your social network
Facebook? Well, partly... but I think that the creators of this list are referring more to your friends, family, co-workers, etc. Embrace those who play a regular role in your life. Honor them. Be grateful for them (yes, even the Dwight's of your office).
16.) Find something to look forward to
I ALWAYS have something to look forward to... and it's not always a huge major event, either. In fact, most of the time it's not. Find things in every week to look forward to. The excitement that is built from anticipation is amazing.
That's the whole list. So, when you think about it, happiness really is right in front of your face. You just need to choose to open your eyes to it and take it in. Life is a much better place when you focus on the things that make you happy. Create happiness in life. You will create more success all around when you do... and that includes your fitness goals (and, let's face it, you'll just FEEL better all around). I hope that if I ever run into to you on the street that you are humming a tune with a smile on your face :-)