We have all come across those people who just seem to be eternally happy and always with a genuine smile on their face. They seem to have a really positive outlook on life despite what may be going on in the rest of the world. Being happy doesn’t just happen and it does take a little bit of work on our part. However, just making that commitment to make small changes can go a long way.
I have suffered with Fibromyalgia for 27 years now. Whilst in the most part I am able to maintain a pretty normal life, the reality is that some days it really gets me down. I believe that life could be very different indeed if it were not for some of my coping techniques.
I adopted the mindset that even on the worst days, there was always something to feel grateful for, appreciate and to smile about. Yoga and meditation were a total blessing to me and even though I will never be a “bendy Wendy” just 5 or 10 minutes of yoga made a world of difference to my mood.
Getting out and paying it forward is another great way to lighten my mood. I can often be spotted buying The Big Issue from a homeless person or supporting one of my favourite charities – this one certainly has the “feel good” factor for all involved. When we look outside of ourselves there is plenty to see and just generally make us feel better about the everyday “stuff”.
Be Grateful. A US study concluded that those people who wrote a daily gratitude list were more optimistic with less visits to the doctor. By searching for something to be grateful, it was suggested that this increases emotional intelligence.
Exercise. The University of Bristol determined that desk workers who exercised during the day were more productive. It was also stated that they were calmer and had better concentration. They also had better problem solving abilities than those who didn’t do any exercise. They suggested 20 minutes of brisk walking at lunch time and some gentle yoga stretching throughout the day was all that was needed.
Be Kind. There is good evidence to suggest that Paying It Forward can push our happy buttons. The University of Oregon says that being charitable activates the happy part of the brain. This has been proven almost to the point of literally creating a warm glow! Do something for somebody else each day!
Get out in Nature. Science has proved that the smell of freshly mown grass releases five chemicals with stress relieving properties. These work on the amygdala and hippocampus which stimulate the emotional and memory parts of the brain.
Enjoy the Simple Things. Take pleasure from the simple things in life. Try snuggling up on the couch in your PJ’s, watching an old movie and eating popcorn. We all know the activities that make us feel joyful. The trick is figuring out how to make more time to indulge in them.
What will you do today to trigger those happy, feel good thoughts?
This article was edited and published by Kale.Life in November 2016.