How To Be Happy: Things You Should Do Today

How To Be Happy: Things You Should Do Today

Happiness. That word brings up many different feelings and meanings for all of us, but it’s also a word that most of us want to be in a relationship with. I spent the majority of my childhood experiencing true happiness, even though I didn’t actually realize just how precious that form of pure happiness was. Now as an adult, it seems happiness is something we all have to work harder for. Life can be hard as we get older, and most of us don’t mean to become unhappy—it just happens.

Why We Fail to Experience Happiness

We live in such a fast-paced world where nothing ever seems to be good enough, fast enough, affordable enough, or attractive enough. Money, jobs, people, flashy things, new tech items, and success take the reigns for what most of us look to at some point to find happiness. However, if you think back to the times you were the happiest because of no ulterior motives or external factors, you’d likely see that what truly brought joy to your heart was something much different than what it’s now made out to be in the Western world. Happiness exists all the time within us, it’s just taking the proper steps to actually find it again.

12 Steps to Finding Happiness

There’s a theory that the most lasting habits and ways to teach yourself something valuable are to do them in a 12 step process. So I’ve broken down 12 actionable steps that will hopefully help you learn to be happy in ways you might not have imagined. These 12 steps are broken down into four main stages. Take each stage one at a time on a weekly basis. Within just one month, you’ll find yourself in a place more able to receive and reach happiness, and it will likely come in ways you never expected.
Stage 1

How To Be Happy:  Things You Should Do Today

1. Start a daily journal where you write down 5 things you’re most grateful for at the beginning (or end of) each day. It can be small, big, or anything in between. Maybe it’s as simple as a morning sunrise in the quiet, a run that makes you feel alive, a cup of coffee that hits the spot. Whatever it is, write it down. Try to think of five things each day, and don’t forget the big things we often forget about: a house over our head, a job to go to (whether it’s your dream job or not), and food in the fridge. Think small and big, and write down five things you’re grateful for every single day, no matter how bad that day is. This trains your brain towards gratitude and reverts it away from stress and worry.

2. Get outside each day however you can. Vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body and is naturally found in the sun’s rays, therefore, natural sunlight is one of the most powerful tools we have that we can use to feel better quickly. It’s been proven that those with depression or constant sadness have low Vitamin D levels in their body.

Since we work indoors all day and are not exposed to Vitamin D like people once were ages ago, we need to make a point to get some outside time each day. If you have the option to work outside, definitely take advantage of that. If not, try to go outside at least 15 minutes each day. You may also look into taking a Vitamin D supplement to increase your levels naturally. Look for Vitamin D3 when possible which is easier for the body to absorb than Vitamin D2.

3. Rebalance your plate. Don’t think in the mindset of dieting here; just train yourself to rethink each meal. Make it a goal to add more fresh foods into your meals, and skip the fast food and junk foods with sugar. Sugar and processed foods, (along with fast foods high in harmful fats), force the body to work harder and also increase insulin levels that can lead to diabetes and imbalanced neurological function.

It’s even been shown that those who eat these type of foods suffer less neurological balance and can often feel depressed or moody as a result. Feed your body the right foods, and your brain will thank you in return! If you need specific ideas for how to eat healthy, you might find these tips particularly helpful.

Focus on these three tips alone the first week and take each day at a time. It doesn’t have to feel like a chore, but attempt to be more mindful of these three areas the first week towards your goal to learn how to be happy more easily. Next week, you’ll move onto Stage 2 and continue adding steps each week until you’ve reached the end of the 12 steps.
Stage 2

1. Add exercise into your schedule a minimum of three times per week. Daily exercise is best for stimulating brain power and engaging neurotransmitters in the brain that help produce more serotonin and natural endorphins, but even a few times a week will make a difference. This one step naturally helps you feel happier even if things in your life aren’t going as well as you’d like for them to be. Even walking outside can be counted towards your goal, but more vigorous exercise is also great too. Do your best to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise three times per week, and if you already exercise, make it a point to try a new workout this week or get one more day in.

2. Boost your gut health with probiotic-rich foods. On top of your new healthy meals that you’re eating, add some probiotic-rich foods to your menu. These include raw sauerkraut and kimchi (Asian, spicy sauerkraut), regular kefir and coconut kefir, a high-quality (organic/non-GMO) plain yogurt without added sugar, or you can take a high-quality probiotic supplement. Probiotics help repopulate the good with beneficial bacteria that the body uses to produce more feel-good hormones and keep you healthy. The brain and gut are directly connected, and it’s been shown that those who have a healthy gut feel less stressed and also suffer less anxiety and depression.

3. Meet with one friend this week to just chat about life. Sometimes, we just need to talk to someone who isn’t at the office or that’s not our parents. If you’re not usually one to be social (my fellow introverts will understand this completely!), then make it an attempt to meet with someone this week to chat. It’s nice to just have a conversation with someone you trust and care about even if you don’t talk about anything heavy-hearted. Go for coffee, out to eat, or whatever else you enjoy. Or, ask a friend to join you for one of the workouts you’re now doing!

You’ve taken six doable steps already, so don’t quit yet! Building a foundation within the areas above is a great way to balance your body and start training your brain to think differently, but happiness can’t be achieved by those things alone. Let’s move onto Stage 3, but continue with the steps above since they are very important.
Stage 3

1. Let go of what does not serve. This can mean many things to individuals, and it’s often a hard thing for us to think about and do, but it’s critical. You might have a so-called friend who puts you down all the time, a family member that hurts you, a boyfriend or girlfriend that doesn’t treat you right, or maybe even a boss that takes advantage of you. Or, maybe none of those apply, and your diet or bad habits are just hurting you in more ways than one.

Think about things in your life that cause you pain and distress, even if those things may seem okay and manageable some days. Whatever does not serve your future or road to happiness, learn to let it go. Write this down if you need to and take actions to learn to let go of these things. This might mean telling a person who treats you poorly that you need to move on, it might mean changing jobs, and it might just mean re-hauling your diet or stopping the late nights out drinking. Whatever it is, start to let go of what does not serve. This is one of the most important things you’ll do when learning how to be happy for life. It’s also a valuable tool you can use for the rest of your life that will help you stay accountable of your life and not engage in things that hurt you rather than help you.

2. Start balancing your checkbook, or get a budget now! Budgets are not fun, and those that are usually stressed typically have a hard time with budgets or just avoid them completely. Just remember that establishing a healthy relationship with money is important, and it will help alleviate at least one form of stress most all of us suffer from. If you don’t make enough money to cover your expenses, then evaluate your spending habits or consider finding additional work to make ends meet. Having a lot of money doesn’t equal happiness, but having a manageable hold over your budget whether big or small, will make a huge different in how you feel each day and will help you feel less stressed.

3. Nix the excess alcohol. If you haven’t already let go of drinking yet, it’s time to rethink your relationship with alcohol. If you have a drink occasionally, it’s probably nothing to worry about, but if you use alcohol to take your mind off things and numb out, you’re only hurting yourself in the long-run. Alcohol decreases mood-boosting hormones in the body as it leaves the system and also hurts the liver (as you most likely already know), which can interfere with the body’s natural detoxifying abilities. When your body works well, you feel so much better. Start making it a goal to only have one drink per week or a small glass of red wine with dinner. If you can’t handle stopping at that point, it might be time to seek help.

The steps above aren’t the easiest for some people, but they will help you reach the best state of happiness possible. Do your best this week to really focus on those things, and continue working on them in Stage 4.
Stage 4

1. Now you’re in the final stage, so the first step this week is to enjoy yourself more! You’ve already made it this far, so take joy in the daily things you do. Even if things aren’t perfect and you’re still trying to make a change from Stage 3’s steps, do whatever it takes to enjoy your current life right now. This is important for dealing with hard issues, and it can help make happiness come more easily over the long-term. Maybe this means listening to an inspirational podcast on your way to work or some music while you make dinner. Or, maybe it’s to stop in a bookstore you enjoy during your lunch break, or spend Saturday morning making yourself something special for breakfast. Take actionable steps to really focus on enjoying your day-to-day life more as you continue making changes.

2. Spend more time on your passions, even if they are just hobbies to you at this point. Most of us have a hard time seeing the possibilities of turning our passions into a career, but they’re not always as far out of reach as we might imagine. Spend 30 minutes each day doing something you’re passionate about. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, get up 30 minutes earlier and write. If you love sewing, then start a sewing project and sew for 30 minutes each day. If you love playing music, spend 30 minutes each day playing at home or with friends. Doing something daily (or at least five times per week) that you truly love can often lead to becoming better at your passion and possible avenues that could even lead you towards a career doing something you love. Trust me, it works!

3. Write down 5 goals. You’re already doing so much at this point, but having goals is incredibly important for finding long-term happiness. Maybe one goal is to spend more time with your loved ones, or maybe it’s to travel to a city you’ve never been to. Maybe it’s to learn a new skill for your job, or maybe it’s to change jobs. Whatever the case, write down 5 goals and start to work towards those goals until you achieve them. These will turn into the things you’re grateful for in Stage 1, and you’ll see a beautiful cycle start to take place that can lead to more happiness.

Stage 4 is over! Congrats if you made it this far, but don’t stop here. Although you’ve taken dramatic steps towards learning how to be happy, the road to happiness is always a journey. Maybe happiness means something different to you, and that’s okay. Write down your own four stages and map out a plan for yourself this month.
How To Be Happy: Things You Should Do Today How To Be Happy: Things You Should Do Today Reviewed by David Stevens on 7:46 AM Rating: 5

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