Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting Back the Happy

It’s been a very stressful couple of months for me and the results have affected me physically, mentally and emotionally.  What I really need is a vacation.  That’s a long-term plan, but in the short-term I need to get back to the things that make me better and happy.

Reader’s Digest listed 20 simple ways to get happy that I thought I’d share.

1. Practice mindfulness. Be in the moment and don’t waste the moment by dwelling on what’s happening later.
2. Laugh out loud. When I’m at work I often laugh because the other option is crying.  Laughter is so good for you.  You on your next break take a moment to read/watch something funny.
3. Go to sleep. I know when I don’t get enough sleep, especially over several nights, my mood changes and not for the better.  Turn off the distractions (computers, televisions, etc.) and get a good night’s sleep.
4. Hum along. Listening to music improved my mood and makes me happy.  I have to do that more often.
5. De-clutter. It may seem daunting at the beginning but the end results feels so good.
6. Just say no. Eliminate activities that aren’t necessary and that you don’t enjoy.
7. Make a list. I made a grocery list last week but forgot to take it to the store. Not much good if you don’t look at them or take them with you.
8. Do one thing at a time. I multi-task so this may be hard.
9. Garden. I know this works for some people but not really for me.  Yes, I like to look at pretty garden flowers but I don’t have a garden to plant.
10. Tune out the news. I tend to watch about 30 minutes of the news in the morning and check the news on the Internet throughout the day.  As a former journalist, it’s what I do.  But when something happens (like the Boston Marathon bombing) where the coverage is non-stop, I don’t have any problem turning the TV off.
11. Take a dog for a walk. I don’t have a dog but my sister does, two actually.  When she travels I house/doggy sit and, while I love her two dogs, I really don’t like walking them.
12. Scent the air. It only takes one Yankee Candle (the best smelling candles out there).
13. Ignore the stock market. Done.
14. Visit a quiet place. I like to read during my lunch hour but there isn’t any place to do that in my office so, weather permitting, I drive to a park.  It makes a difference.
15. Volunteer. Would like to be able to do more of this but don’t have a lot of time.
16. Spend time alone. I probably spend too much time by myself but I'm content with my own company.
17. Walk mindfully. Apparently “mindfulness” is a mental technique to bring about a relaxation response, a physiological response in which the heart rate slows and blood pressure drops (when walking this means paying attention to footsteps, counting one, two, one, two, and to visualize the numbers in their mind). Not sure about this. If I become too “mindful” I can walk into a wall.
18. Give priority to close relationships.
19. Take care of the soul. Studies have shown that actively religious people are happier and cope better with crises.  Having a faith can provide a support community, a sensing of meaning in life, and different/clearer perspective on life.
20. Count your blessings. Every day!

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