More Secrets of Happiness
It’s July, and summer is in full swing. The “laid back” season hopefully has ushered in some time to relax, kick back with a book, enjoy a barbecue with friends, and soak up some vitamin D on these long summer days. Most people enjoy this season for the extra outdoor time it allows, but what if you’re not feeling particularly sunny? We’ve compiled a new list of a few things that are common among people who seem the happiest, although there are no “rules” for happiness! Feel free to add to our list or make your own!
1. Slow Down!
No matter what the season is, you can always find things to do to fill your time. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of everyday life, always thinking every moment has to be filled. Now is the perfect time to grab a good book, settle out near some grass and trees, breathe in fresh air and breathe out the need to be busy. The happiest people seem to take some time for themselves, just a few minutes to reconnect and just be. Don’t forget to pencil some time in for you.
2. Be Grateful.
It comes up quite a bit, but it’s worth repeating. Taking a few moments each day to notice what you have, the good in your life, your healthy relationships and being truly grateful for them can quickly take you from being down in the dumps to peace and contentment. We sometimes overlook what we have in our quest for what is next, but appreciating all that is already present is a great way to respect it. There’s science behind this, too. Check out this Tedtalk
It seems strange to smile when you don’t feel happy, since smiling usually just happens when you are, right? It turns out it can actually work both ways. Smiling uses facial muscles that cause your brain to literally cool down (which heats up when you’re stressed—the origins of “steaming mad”). So the next time you’re stressed, angry, or just feeling blah, give a nice big smile to yourself for no reason.
4. Be silly!
As an adult, it’s easy to forget how absolutely fun and exhilarating it can be to just be silly for a while. Pop in a favorite funny movie, play a game with friends, try to do some cartwheels in the yard, or find funny videos on the internet and laugh until your cheeks hurt. Sometimes, laughter is the best medicine, and the side effects can last much longer than you think!
5. Build Resilience.
The opposite of depression isn’t happiness, says psychologists, it’s resilience. Work on your resilience, and you naturally improve your own happiness. Don’t get stuck in the “negative” or hard parts of life, learn from your experience and note that you can do better next time. Take a deep breath, shake off any mistakes, and keep moving. Success in anything, even happiness, isn’t a straight and comfortable road, it’s getting knocked down 7 times but getting up 8. Tough times don’t last, tough people do.
6. Remember that you are the author of your own life story.
This one is the most important, because it’s the single best path to feeling amazing. No matter what life may throw at you, no matter what you are going through, YOU and YOU ALONE have the power to choose how you will let it affect you. Times get tough, make no mistake, but while the pain that comes in such moments as the loss of a loved one, a job, or a medical diagnosis may be inevitable… continuing to suffer through it is completely optional. Feel your feelings, and then do what you need to do to keep going. Don’t replay sad movies unless you want to feel sad. Don’t rehash times that made you feel angry unless you want to get riled up. See how it works? The very fact that you can get yourself sad or angry about something that happened long ago is the very proof that those emotions always originate with you. This doesn’t mean you gloss over the hard parts or force yourself to think happy thoughts all the time, it means that *most of the time* you are the boss of your emotions, so take charge!
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