6 Steps to a Happier You
My regular readers know that I suffer with depression, though under control now with medication. Even in a depressed state, by doing some of these things listed below, you can affect a change in your mood. If you begin acting AS IF, you will probably start to feel that way. Regardless, it can’t hurt to try, now can it?
Here are 6 things that happy people do and you should too!
1. Express Gratitude. - Happy people express gratitude and thankfulness for what they have in their lives. We all have things to be grateful for, even in the darkest of situations, one can usually find things that they are appreciative of. And when you start to show appreciation for something in your life, it tends to open your mind and heart for you to receive more.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. – Avoid comparing your situation to those around you. There are a lot of people who are doing better than you are and if you focus on them, you will continue to stay down. If you want to compare yourself to anyone, compare yourself to those who have things worse than you. If you live in America or another developed country, you are better off than most people in the world. (See #1)
3. Learn How to Cope With Stress. – Learn some coping strategies for dealing with stress. Think about how you respond to stress. Do you get in a panic? Learn to breathe deeply when you feel that panic rising up. Do you overeat? Learn to munch on celery sticks or go for a walk instead. Do you get angry? Consider how your response is not productive and instead think of some action items you can do about the situation instead.
4. Learn to Enjoy Things in life. I don’t necessarily mean the big things. Open your eyes to the little things, such as: the smell of coffee brewing, the fresh air when you step outside in the morning, the big grin when you get your little one from the bed in the morning, the loving look you get from your partner. One way I like to do this is to buy fresh flowers often (I look at the clearance buggy at the store!) I put them on the island in the kitchen where I can enjoy them throughout the day.
5. Identify and Connect with Your Higher Power. For me, that is with God. I understand that others may ascribe to a different philosophy, but there are some similarities. Belief in something bigger than yourself gives you a sense of purpose and meaning in life, something to strive for, to make something of yourself by helping others. People who are not happy tend to be focused inward, if you believe in something bigger than your life, you will begin to focus on those around you and how you can contribute to their life.
6. Take Care of Your Body. I am not saying you have to be an athlete, but get into the habit of moving on a regular basis. Increase your heart rate a few times a week. Doing so increases the endorphins in your body which helps lift your mood overall. Regular exercise has been shown to do as much good as antidepressants in some people, with no side effects.
If you can incorporate these different strategies into your life you will soon find that happiness isn’t hard to find. With every day bringing on a different host of challenges to us though, it’s nice to have a “cheat sheet” to refer to so when life hands us those curve balls we are ready to smack it out of the park!