How to be Happy(er)

Recently I’ve been reading a few articles that have all said basically the same thing: ultimately we control our happiness or unhappiness.  Now, I don’t mean this is the case for everyone, it isn’t.  But let’s say you’re an average kind of person, stressed, busy, exhausted, whatever, and want to boost your happiness factor.  Feel free to try my tips.  Basically,  I think it’s something we have to work on, and just like anything worthwhile, it can be challenging.  So here’s my How to be Happy List (not that I necessarily follow this myself, but let’s say I strive to).

1. Eat Healthy – This is so difficult, but so worth it.  Basically you put crap in your body and it builds up there and all your systems have to work really hard to regulate everything, and you’re not getting the complete nutrients for your brain and everything else to be working at its fullest potential.  Just think of Super Size Me.  Sure, it’s an extreme that no one would ever go to, but basically it proved you are what you eat.  So, find your inner granola lover, do some research and soon you’ll be pretentiously throwing around words like super-food, antioxidant and flax seed.  Stick to it and you’ll feel really good and get a much-needed mental boost too.

2. Exercise- for the body and the brain.  You  know what?  Forget loosing weight.  Seriously, this is the wrong thing to be focussing on, and too many people are fixated on it. It creates an obsessive cycle of exercise, dieting, setting unrealistic expectations and guilt when you can’t make them.  Then an inevitable disgust with your body and yourself.  This is wrong and ultimately you’re setting yourself up for failure and unhappiness.  Instead, find something you truly enjoy doing (a walk, yoga, running, baseball), it will be easier to stick to because it’s…um.. fun not torture.  Do it consistently so that you feel energized, upbeat, and generally good all over.  Endorphins and happy brain chemicals come out to play when you exercise.  Fact.

3. Have Sex- Yep, I’m gonna go there.  Quit making excuses, or being too tired or stressed or exhausted from work or treating it like just another chore on the big long list that roles out half-way across your floor.  Just do it, and try to do it regularly.  Again, happy brain chemicals go a long way, plus it never hurt a relationship.  Everybody wins.

4.Get Outside-vitamin D and sunshine are your friends, they nourish your physical and mental well-being.  Take a walk after work or sit outside at lunch if you’re stuck in a depressing, windowless, air-conditioned office all day.

5. Be nice, considerate and helpful towards other people – Compassion is contagious and it sets a good example for your kids and other’s around you.  Even if it’s just smiling and saying hello to your grumpy neighbour.  If you don’t care about that, be selfishly compassionate.  It actually makes you feel really good when you do something nice for someone else.  Don’t let it be a once a year thing.  Keep it up, do it daily, and you will find the happy feeling continues.  When you get to the ‘Acts of Kindness’ advanced level (let me know how it is and how you got there), you can start being nice to people who are generally nasty or mean to you.  You start to realize that their reaction has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with their own unhappiness, and that you are a pretty powerful and secure person if you can be nice to someone who has just reemed you out or made you look stupid in front of coworkers.  Getting angry back always always makes you feel worse anyway.  If you’re nice, you are entitled to a small amount of self-righteousness because, hey, you rose above. Truth.  Also, other people will notice you took the higher ground.  No doubt a classy move.

Ok……….so there are lots of mental tricks too to make you happy, but those will be subject for another blog post.

Got any others? What do you do to keep yourself happy?

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2 thoughts on “How to be Happy(er)

  1. Hey Melanie my book club recently read a book called the happiness project by Gretchen rubin, and I would be interested in hearing what you think about it. Basically she’s a mom of two and wife, a lawyer turned writer and takes one whole year, one month at a time to make herself happier. There were points where I thought you selfish women, but I think that was because I couldn’t connect to the types of things that she was interested in and had to make my own spin on it. Overall I thought it was such a great idea, but would have to do this type of project in my own way. If you get the chance give it a read and let me know what you think.

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