I think that we’re all obsessed with the pursuit of happy life. It’s something that the world has trained us to endeavour to find. Forever in pursuit, not quite satisfied with the now.
But how to we work on truly creating that healthy, happy life that we desire?
With that in mind here are some simple ways to add some joy to everyday.
Happiness can sometimes seem incredibly elusive and fickle; it’s either just out of our reach, dancing on our finger tips, or dulls quickly because there’s more happy out there and it looks so much more appealing than ours.
It’s a mindset we’ve been hardwired to have from a very young age. We get into the habit of thinking “I’ll be happy when…” but when what? When you graduate high school, finish college, get a steady job, buy a house, raise your kids, retire… when does that happy life we desire truly begin?
Why not choose to be happy right now, regardless of the goals and achievements looming in the distance? If we continue to immerse ourselves into this idea that happiness has commitment issues and is in need of constant pursuit then we make “happy” hard work… and we may even make “happy” hard lived.
Let’s stop playing hard to get with joy. Let’s inhale it, envelop ourselves in it, consume it with fervor and come back for more. It’s wonderful to see the wonders that lie ahead and look forward to them with earnest, but not at the cost of sacrificing a feeling of satisfaction today.
With that in mind here are some simple ways to add some joy to everyday.
12 Self Care Activities to Help You Create a Happy Life:
Start a gratitude journal
Take some time every day to write about the things that you’re grateful for. This helps us get into the habit of seeing the beauty in our surroundings. Simple things like your cats comforting purr, or the sounds of birds greeting the morning sun can be magical moments to appreciate.
We all have so much we forget to be thankful for, big and small. Gratitude journaling helps us learn to focus our minds on the amazing things that we have in our lives and be happier for it.
Embrace your feelings
It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can’t revel in joy if you’re harvesting feelings of negativity. Become more comfortable and in tune with yourself. Realize that life isn’t built on happiness alone. You will ultimately experience a plethora of ups and downs. Let your feelings bubble to the surface and work through them. The other option is to suppress them and let them wreak havoc I know that this is easier said than done, but it’s worth working towards to find a healthier, happier place.
We are constantly bombarded with so many different stimuli, our focus fluttering from task to task, person to person throughout the day. It’s very difficult to break away from that and quiet our minds.
Meditation is a fantastic way to quiet and focus the mind. Studies have shown that meditation can help to reduce anxiety by as much as 39% as well as increase your focus, concentration, empathy and compassion! It can even lower blood pressure and support your immune system. All good steps towards a happier you, something you truly deserve and owe to your beautiful self.
10 to 20 minutes of Mindfulness Meditation daily can make a huge difference. Center your mind on 1 thought, like a mantra or simply focus on your breathing. It can be difficult to do at first but becomes easier with each session. You will come out of it feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and joyful. It’s truly incredible!
Even if you decide that meditation isn’t for you, make some time to relax and breathe deeply. Sit or lie in a comfortable position (preferably somewhere quiet and relaxing) and inhale deeply through your nose, filling your lungs, and out through your mouth.
Shallow breathing can contribute to anxiety and suppress the immune system by increasing our stress response. Many of us rarely practice deep abdominal breathing, missing out on a simple opportunity to feel less anxious and more centered and relaxed. It’s simple way to feel more joyful.
Find a form of self-expression
When was the last time you focused on a hobby that you truly enjoy? Do you knit, paint, draw, dance, sing…? How do you express yourself?
Self-Expression is empowering! It helps to build our confidence and lowers stress. It can even be used to manage pain and negative emotions! Develop a deeper relationship and a better understanding of yourself; examine your state of mind, pull from it and place it on a canvas, on paper, speak it, release it. You will be better for it!
Not only is regular exercise good for your physical well being, your mental health will thank you as well! Exercise increases levels of norepinephrine helping your body better respond to stress. It reduces your risk of depression and helps you have a more restful night sleep. The boost in endorphins creates feelings of happiness too, which is a fantastic benefit!
Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy and it will no longer be a chore. I adore yoga and walks in the woods or by the river; my workout is something I eagerly look forward to! Find a fun way to work up a sweat and reap the joyful benefits.
Feed your body whole foods
There are so many ways that what you eat affects your mental health! Complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, beans and veggies) aid in the production of serotonin, which helps to regulate your mood.
They also make you feel energized and satisfied. Omega 3 Fatty Acids may help prevent depression, reduce inflammation (helping you feel better) and balance your mood. A healthy breakfast improves mood, reduces anxiety and leaves you with more energy to face the day.
The Brain Functions Best when there’s 25 grams of glucose in your bloodstream. It’s important to keep that level stable as an increase or decline can have an ill effect on your mood. Loading up on sugar-packed junk food can cause your blood sugar levels to rise quickly, greatly affecting your mood. Skipping meals leads to dips that leave you feeling exhausted and down.
We could talk forever about the benefits of a good diet. Whole foods can do so much good for our incredible bodies and truly affect how we feel. Studies have shown that eating a diet high in health promoting whole foods (like wonderful, simple fruits and veggies) lowers rates of depression. Try to be mindful of what you eat and make sure that you’re supporting your health and happiness with each meal!
How often do you look in the mirror and think or say something negative about yourself? It’s so common to scrutinize ourselves and our looks, leaving us feeling insecure, inadequate and stressed. Reversing this behaviour helps to increase our confidence and ultimately builds a more positive outlook! We must love and be gentle with ourselves in order to truly find long term joy.
Next time you catch yourself in a loop of negative self-talk work on reversing your thinking with positive statements like “I love and accept myself”, “I am enough”, and “I am beautiful”. It may take some time, but you will find positive self-talk will become second nature!
Cuddle or Hug
Oxytocin is known as the “cuddle hormone” and we get a great dose of it when we hug or cuddle. It reduces anxiety and increases feelings of attachment, relaxation and empathy. Hugs and cuddles also help protect us from illnesses or reduce our symptoms. They lower our levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Human touch, like cuddles and hugs, help us face our fears, feel connected and further develop our self-esteem. It’s a lovely and simple way to exchange some good feels with people we love.
Spend Time with Pets
My fur babies are my world and I know many of you feel the same way about you pets too. As if we couldn’t love them more, pets are more than just adorable snuggle bugs; they actually help you stay healthy!
A cat’s purr can relieve stress, decrease blood pressure, lower the risk of heart attacks, and heal infections. Meeting your dog’s gaze can increase levels of oxytocin, a hormone that helps us form bonds with others and feel more positive.
Time with Man’s best friend decrease the stress hormone cortisol and increase the awesome, mood stabilizing serotonin.
Even fish have benefits; Aquariums have a soothing and relaxing quality that helps lower stress levels, reduce blood pressure and decrease feelings of anxiety. Spend time with your cats, dogs, bunnies, lizards, fish… They have so much joy and health support to give you and all you have to do is love them back and give them an amazing home.
Get Together with Family and Friends
Time spent with loved ones is never wasted! Regular hangouts help us feel connected, joyful and understood. It reduces stress and increases our feelings of self-worth. Studies show that a sense of belonging makes us more compassionate, elevates our moods and even has a positive effect on our health when we’re battling a disease.
Thank you to all my magnificent friends and family who help me thrive with Graves Disease! The Beetles were definitely on to something when they told us to get by with a little help from our friends. We don’t have to face the world alone.
Missing out on a good night’s sleep can be detrimental. We’ve all experience those awful mornings, peeling ourselves out of bed and shambling our way through the day. Missing out on a restful night can cause fatigue, irritability, stress, and loss of focus.
Regularly catching fewer Zs can lead to increased inflammation and health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, anxiety and heart disease. Sleep deprivation may have negative effects on our immune systems too, which is especially bad for anyone with an autoimmune disease (and not really favourable for anyone in general).
Do your best to get a good night’s sleep. If you are having regularly difficulty you may have to change your night time routine and/or talk to your doctor and discover the cause. You deserve to feel rested – your mood will thank you.
We all deserve to feel happy, healthy and fulfilled. These are simple ways to add some extra joy to everyday. What would you add to the list?
Health and love,
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If you are experiencing depression or anxiety please talk to someone, including your doctor, your family and your friends; there are many support systems around you and its ok to lean on them. Your feelings are valid and sometimes it takes more than sleep, hugs and meditation to overcome them. Know that here are Crisis Centers all over the world full of people who can help. You are deserving of joy.
Thought of the day: Happiness is not only attainable, it surrounds us. We deserve to be enveloped in joy.