Tag: Advice for Happiness

Elevate Your Mood

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It’s natural to find ourselves in a low-energy space once in a while. Sometimes we may want to honor that feeling and explore its roots and effects upon us, other times we just want to shift it. To support you, here are 9 ways to help shift your mood from low to high gear in no time.

Focus on the positive things. It sounds obvious, but we often forget to do this when things aren’t going our way. Seek out the positive in your day. Look for kindness (someone holding the elevator for you), gifts (your checkout line moving the quickest), miracles (getting a late start but making it on time anyway), smiling faces around you, laughter in the air…anything positive. What we focus on grows, so if you want to elevate your positivity, then it will benefit you to focus on positive things!

Add “but” to negative statements to turn things around. If you’re having a hard time seeing the positive, you can still give yourself a boost by adding “but” to any negative thought, followed by a hopeful statement. For example: I can’t seem to do anything right today BUT I know this will pass as it always has in the past and I’ll be feeling better soon. What comes after but is what you might say to a friend when they’re feeling down. You acknowledge their emotional state, and you remind them that they won’t be feeling that way forever. Be a friend to yourself!

Compliment someone. Without any expectation that it will be acknowledged: giving another a compliment often makes both people feel good.

Go to your happy place. In your mind that is, and if you don’t have one, you can easily come up with a place—real or imagined—where all your troubles and stress melt away. Imagine your surroundings (weather, sounds, smells, sights) and what you would be doing in this safe peaceful place. Making your happy place as vivid as possible will add energy to your day and it can help you feel as if you’ve taken a mini vacation.

Make a gratitude list. When things seem to not be going your way, it’s helpful to gain perspective. Find a few things you are grateful for—even if it’s as simple as a pair of comfortable shoes or a sunny day. Then make a list of gratitudes and write them down. Next time you are feeling that way, read your list and notice how you feel better.

Be the energy of Happy. How would you speak, act, and look if you were happy in this moment? What things would you be doing? What would you be thinking? Act ‘as if’ you are happy NOW and notice that happy will quickly become an authentic state of mind.

Listen to music that puts pep in your step. Or better yet, makes you want to dance! It’s a good idea to create a playlist of songs ahead of time for just this purpose. When blue, turn on your chosen upbeat tunes, become energized and watch your mood shift

Laugh out loud. Pick anything in your mind or life or current news and just laugh until it feels genuine. This is a form of Laughter Yoga.

Just SMILE! The act of smiling, even if it is forced, will lift your mood as endorphins are released when you smile that will make you feel better.

 


Shifting Your Perspective to Relieve Stress, Anxiety, and Anger

Photo by Kristin Rath

In this…world

Nothing is the truth or a lie.

Everything depends on the color

Of the crystal through which one sees it.

― Pedro Calderón de la Barca

When the unexpected crosses our path or things don’t go our way, it is natural to react with feelings such as irritation, fear, anxiety, and anger. However, if we allow these emotions to go unexplored, we will be allowing our perspective to be restricted and possibly negative. When we continue to view the world from this state, it can color our perspective for hours, even days, later.

The great news is we can change how we view a situation by recognizing when we think, feel, and/or act in a way that is not beneficial. By asking ourselves some questions that will shift our thinking we will change our current viewpoint.

For example, perhaps you have a long to-do list, and have been worrying about getting everything accomplished. The worry grows throughout the day into guilt as you know you can’t possibly get X, Y, and Z done. Now you’re in full stress mode, feeling irritable/emotional/anxious/etc. You’re on autopilot, reacting to what comes at you. Nothing seems to be going your way, you can’t seem to do anything right, and the day is generally not enjoyable. What if you had known how to stop the worry in its tracks when it first crept into your thoughts by asking yourself a few questions to gain clarity on the issue? Perhaps the worry would have only lasted a few seconds instead of ruining your day!

Here’s how you can put a perspective shift into practice: Be aware of when you feel anger, anxiety, fear, or any kind of stress. Mentally say, “Stop!” and then visualize a stop sign. This will halt the body and mind from continuing to circulate non-constructive thoughts and feelings. Take a few deep breaths while you ask your body to release any tension. Then ask your mind a few of the questions below that are relevant to your situation. Check in with yourself and note any changes in mind and body. With practice, these steps will become effortless.

  • Is there really a problem? Or do I perceive a problem? In relation to the example of the to-do list, ask yourself what items are priorities and what are not? If a task is a priority than you can choose to complete it; if it is not you can allow yourself to choose to put it off for a day until it is a priority. Keep in mind that plans are fluid and can change. When we shift our perception, the thoughts and emotions that don’t serve us have the freedom to slip away. You might surprise yourself with how much you can get done with the energy you used spending on worry and guilt.
  • Are the outcomes I’m imagining necessarily going to happen or am I expecting a worst-case scenario? Being prepared when you are clear what outcome is ‘supposed’ to occur is useful, however it is unproductive and needlessly stressful to focus your energy on scenarios or outcomes that may never happen.
  • How significant is this problem in the grand scheme of my life? How significant is this in relation to the timeline of the universe? Shrinking the perceived enormity of your situation can allow you to collect your thoughts and emotions. Once you are grounded you can ask yourself: Is this something I need to act upon? If yes, you can now do so from a centered, open viewpoint.

Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it.

― Irving Berlin

 


Increase Self-Esteem in a Few Easy Steps

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Taking responsibility for your life is the key to having high self-esteem. Here are two clues that your self-esteem is not as high as you might like it to be:

  • Blaming others for what does or does not happen in your life.
  • Complaining about your life as if you have no say in it.

 Having higher self-esteem is about how what you think, feel and believe gets interpreted internally. It is about your interpretation of how you feel and how you transfer those feelings into your beliefs. Often when people blame and complain they are unconsciously giving away their power. Taking responsibility for your life is the way to shift this. 

Below are eight examples of affirmations that will raise your self-esteem if you believe them. If you find that some of them are not a great fit for you, or you’re just not comfortable taking the leap yet, start right from the beginning with: I am in process of being responsible 

Affirmations for Building Positive Self-Esteem

  • I am willing to be responsible for my thoughts, feelings and actions.
  • I am willing to be responsible for myself.
  • I am willing to be responsible for the choices I make.
  • I am willing to be responsible for allowing myself to enjoy my life.
  • I am willing to be responsible for the decisions I make.
  • I am willing to be responsible for what I do to others.
  • I am willing to be responsible for what I do to myself.
  • I am willing to give myself love.

Over time, you’ll find a natural lightness take over where you used to feel pangs of anger, fear, worry, resentment and other negative characteristics. That’s the luxury of taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions; you’ll find life feels a whole lot lighter.


Embracing Impermanence

“We are uncomfortable because everything in our life keeps changing — our inner moods, our bodies, our work, the people we love, the world we live in. We can’t hold on to anything — a beautiful sunset, a sweet taste, an intimate moment with a lover, our very existence as the body/mind we call self — because all things come and go. Lacking any permanent satisfaction, we continuously need another injection of fuel, stimulation, reassurance from loved ones, medicine, exercise, and meditation. We are continually driven to become something more, to experience something else.” ― Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

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What makes you feel good? The answer is different for each one of us. For some, it’s a wonderful meal. For another, it’s accomplishing a big goal at work or finally reaching a new milestone in a weightless or wellness journey. These most sought-after moments are so very sweet, yet so fleeting. The unfortunate part of a glorious high is a looming low, and when we fall from our moment of magnitude, many times, we feel more powerless than ever.

How many times have you felt a sense of loneliness or emptiness after a big, much anticipated event is over? We spend much of our lives planning for moments in time that we believe will make us happy. We look forward to that particular date on the calendar, maybe we even circle it, put it in our planners—annotate it in a special way. The hours leading up to the event are flush with anticipation— the preparations are accomplished, the time has come and we’re ready to go! We enjoy the experience, soaking in each moment of it, feeling anxious about its impending end, and after its over, then what?

 We’re drift back into feeling ‘normal’— many times, bored, agitated, annoyed or otherwise. In those ‘in-between’ times, we are continually asked ‘what makes us happy?’ Sometimes internally and often times by others— family, friends and lovers alike— want to know what it is that will help cultivate our own joyful existence; especially when they sense that we are suffering. It’s wonderful to know that they care, but as much as they want to help, it’s just not up to them. We know deep down that we’re in charge of our own happiness, but we become disenchanted with our ‘normalcy’.

Instead of being able to ride the waves of high moments into our everyday existence we tend to look for substitutes for immediate satisfaction. As we know, those ‘quick fixes’ are undoubtedly less gratifying, but we feel they are necessary. Instead of allowing ourselves sudden, serendipitous bursts of joy, we seek it out in opportunity. Opportunities that are usually less than stellar options for our overall health and happiness.  

So what do we do? Beyond recognizing the difference between true bliss and quick-fix feel-goods, embrace the fact that you’re not always going to feel complete satisfaction in every moment. Need more of a reason to believe that? How would you know and appreciate joy without experiencing sadness too?

The path to embracing impermanence is cutting out those gratuitous, quick bursts of self-satisfaction by swapping them out for practicing being grateful. Finding beauty in the mundane, but fascinating moments that make up our unique existence.  On a day that you feel that you’ve accomplished nothing, remember, you’ve made it through every single second of every single day of your whole entire life. There are always things for us to be grateful for; the key is to recognize them.

Finding those truths, our own personal ‘pick me ups,’ will allow the opportunity for light to shine in on darker days. Happiness can then become a quiet reminder of peace within moments of pleasure, instead of a determined destination we’re striving for. When we allow ourselves the opportunity to experience every aspect of our journey, our appreciation for all moments can flourish through eyes, mind and body that embrace life as a whole, not by the sum of its parts.