Yesterday I saw a family in a very old, small mini van, with the windows rolled completely down in a SNOW STORM, to reach out to the windshield and manually move the wipers up and down to get the snow off of their car. What was crazy about the whole thing, though, was they were sitting in their car laughing! They were ENJOYING life, despite the hard time their car was giving them in that moment. As I was sitting next to them in my warm automatically wiping car, I knew I had a lot to be grateful for.
Recently I’ve noticed myself being more sad and more grumpy than usual, and it STINKS! It’s really put a damper on my outlook on life, on my relationships, my day to day experiences, and my overall satisfaction with everything. I notice myself being happy one moment, and the next moment being annoyed, angry or upset about some small thing. There could be many causes to this – maybe it’s the winter blues or something- but after seeing how my attitude negatively affects so many parts of my life- most noticeably my family life, I decided I NEED to make a change.
So that’s why my biggest goal for 2017 is to learn to control my attitude and CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY. Choosing to be happy IS possible, whether we always want to believe it or not. And I fully believe it is worth the effort. I mean really, what’s the point of being sad all the time?
As Dieter F Uchdorf said, “God didn’t design us to be sad. He created us to have joy!” Amen Uchtdorf! I am ready to put aside my negative thoughts and my negative mindset so that I can enjoy my life as much as possible. Sure, it’s normal to have down days, but we can choose to make our life super happy and just enjoy whatever comes our way.
So if you are ready to start turning your negative mindset around too, here is a compilation of ways to make your thoughts happy again!
*Also as a note, if you think you may have depression, don’t be ashamed to get medical help to help you become happy again! Take it from someone who has a lot of experience with family and friends suffering from depression, it can be extremely debilitating and medical help can greatly improve your life *
Ok here ya go
1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
a. Focus on your strengths and use them! (Find out how here) Recognize what is good about you and stop trying to be the best at everything. You are awesome just for being you.
2. Stop Thinking about your own problems- Go help somebody else with theirs
a. Try looking for just one way to help someone else and you’ll be amazed at how good you feel afterwards (Get some great ideas here) . Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota says, “People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness … All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity."
a. Take the time to ask God for help to make your day happier. Ask him to help you remember how loved you are by him and by others and ask him to help you see the blessings you have in your life. Then thank him for all you have. (Check out "Yes, I believe in God")
4. Call someone on the phone and talk it out
a. Sometimes all we need is a good talk with a friend to make us feel better. Don’t be afraid to cry if you have to. In fact, according to Neuroscientist and tear researcher (haha I know... I didn't realize such a thing as a tear researcher existed either, but anyways...) Dr. William H. Frey II, PhD, “crying is a natural way to reduce stress,” and “85% of women and 73% of men feel less sad and angry after a good cry”.
5. Make a Gratitude list
a. According to a Harvard Health positive psychology study, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
a. Did you know when you exercise, your body releases dopamine? Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness!
7. Eat a Healthy diet and Stay Hydrated
a. According to an Australian research study, “people who switched from eating almost no fruit and vegetables in their daily diets to eating eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day experienced an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to what an unemployed person feels after finding a job.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty happy to me!
8. Get outside
a. According to the Huffington Post, getting outside makes exercise easier, increases brain activity, makes us happier, reduces stress, increases our Vitamin D intake, makes us age more gracefully, and spurs weight loss. I’m in!
9. Read something that inspires you
a. There’s nothing like a good quote to just zap the sadness right out of you! Whenever I’m down I head straight to my favorite Mary Anne Williamson quote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is we are powerful beyond measure”.
10. Take a minute to meditate a take deep breaths
a. Meditation and deep breathing in a quiet space can reduce stress, help you see the big picture again. It’s a great way to relax and refocus so you can push away the negativity and start over with a positive mindset. I didn’t realize how much this worked until I tried it myself as part of a study in school! Try it. You will feel sooooo good.
a. According to healthguide.org, laughter really is the best medicine! “Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.”
Pretty cool huh?! What do you think of these suggestions? Which ones will you start implementing to make yourself happier today? I know I am going to try all of them, especially exercising, eating healthy, and laughing.If you liked these ideas, be sure to also check out this list of ways to Intentionally increase your happiness! Can’t wait to see your results!
See you next post,