7 Steps to Be Happier Now
Happiness is a choice. Sometimes we don't like to hear that. So often it can feel like we are either happy or we're not, like it's out of our control. Happiness is very much within your control. This is a good thing because that means you can decide to be happy whenever you want.
Maybe you feel depressed, or a little down and out. Maybe you feel overwhelmed. Whatever you are feeling, you have the power to change the way you feel by changing the way you think. But it's not always easy to change our thinking, especially if you are feeling apathetic or depressed.
Some feelings make choosing to be happy easier. To make it easier for you feel like choosing to be happy, I've gathered 7 steps to be happier now.
1 | eating
It Starts with Food is such a great title because really, it starts with food. I find it really hard to feel happy when I feel crappy. Think about what food you like to eat. I read somewhere that in Australia if you don't feel good they ask you, "What did you eat?" In America they say, "Here, take this."
Think about your food. Do you have a comfort food? If it doesn't really make you feel comfortable, get a new comfort food. Start adding more whole foods into your diet. And by whole foods I don't mean whole grains. I'm talking about fresh produce, meats, and fish. Nuts and seeds, and lots of healthy fats. Love what you eat, and it will love you.
2 | breathing
Okay, so maybe it starts with air, but I happen to really like food. Maybe you're wondering what breathing has to do with being happy. Breathing is your built-in relaxer. It's easier to feel joy when you are relaxed. This is especially true if you suffer from anxiety. I remember always feeling like I couldn't get enough air when I was anxious. I always had to have a fan blowing on me. And during an attack I would forget to exhale and get all dizzy. Breathe, friends!
If you can meditate, that's awesome, but what really works well is just belly breathing. When things don't go our way and we feel anger or disappointment, we can take a deep breath and say, 'That's interesting.' It's helpful to take a minute or two and do deep breathing with your belly while you let your mind be curious. Even when you're not upset. It's a great way to be in the moment, to ground yourself. Besides, you have to breathe. Just slow down and do it with your belly.
This is actually my favorite way to fall asleep. I lie on my back and take slow deep breaths. If you were in the room with me you would be able to hear my breathing for the first three or so breaths, and then I get quiet and I can fall asleep almost instantly. So relaxing.
3 | thinking
Our thoughts are what make us feel any feeling, so of course thinking is going to make this list. But instead of talking about specific thoughts, I want you to think about what you're thinking about.
Get curious again. What are your most common thoughts? Are they serving you? What story are you telling yourself? Maybe it's time to rescript your life. Be creative when you think about yourself. Think about what your level 10 life would look like. Think about how you really feel about yourself.
You have to love who you are. When you love you, other people love you. It becomes easier to let them love you, and you have love to give. There is only love or lack of love. Choose love. It multiplies. Think well of you, and start showing up as who you really want to be. Happiness will be there.
4 | giving
Express gratitude. Give unexpected gifts. Be thankful. We've all heard this before because it's true. It's as impossible to be angry when you're thankful as it is to be thankful when you're upset. Look to your past to help you be thankful for where you are today. Put yourself in that state of abundance.
In his book, Emergence, Derek Rydall says to give what appears to be missing. If you are feeling lack in relationships, this is so helpful and true. Whatever it is you are wanting, give that to the other person. You get so much more.
5 | writing
If you're not feeling particularly thankful or lovable, write about it. Maybe you have dreams and want something better in your life, write about it. Don't focus only on the negative things and how bad you really feel. Write about what your dream life would be like. If you were still a mom and you could bring your dreams to life, what would that actually look like?
Writing will help you get clear on what it is you actually want so it can come into your life. It's also very helpful to have a daily log or journal. Not only will this be a great legacy to pass on to future generations (I love reading old journals!), but it will allow you to see what's working and what needs improving.
6 | learning
This is another way to pique your curiosity and keep you interested and interesting. Happiness is interesting and contagious. We like interesting people. We want to be around them. But we are only as smart as our closest friends. We are as smart as what we read. Pay attention to who you're around and what information you are gathering, consciously and subconsciously.
Make it beneficial to you. Learn a new skill like calligraphy or painting (both on my list!). Learning doesn't need to be limited to school subjects. Dedicate yourself to learning and get excited when you acquire a new skill. Find it 'interesting' when it doesn't work out or when it challenges you. When things don't go your way, look for something to change to get the results you want. Be curious, stay interesting, keep learning.
7 | moving
Yes, exercise. I'm sure you knew this would make the list. Your health is a very important principle of life. If you don't take care of your body you can very well die sooner than later. That is a fact. We all know this. Just as we know that we must maintain our vehicles, we must maintain our bodies. It might start with food, but it ends with moving. When we move our bodies in ways that are supportive to where we are in life, something magical happens. We have these natural endorphins racing around inside of us making us feel euphoric.
Move it or lose it, they say. Take a few minutes every day to move your body, even if it's only for 5 minutes. This will help you establish a new habit and as time goes on, you can increase the time spent exercising as you see fit.
Friends, if you only do one thing on this list, let it be to move. You don't even have to get sweaty. Go outside and go for a walk. If it's too cold or too hot, go to a mall. Or, check a public school near you, some offer walking hours. Start moving. Start feeling happy now.
Now, it's your turn
Do these things with good intention and happiness will come to you. I promise it's as easy as it sounds. Be open to it. When it's difficult to choose happy thoughts, think about your actions. If you were happy, what would you be doing? And then do that, even if you don't feel like it. Let the good feelings come to you. Start feeling better.