For the past few months, I’ve felt stressed and unable to relax even during my down time. It’s ironic how often we get what we want – whether it’s children or a promotion or even a hobby – and suddenly we’re overwhelmed with the added responsibilities. I guess that’s why they say to be careful what you wish for.
If you’ve been feeling strained like me, I hope the following happiness boosters will help you relax.
1. “Say thank you as much as possible.”
Gratitude is a gateway to joy. Our lives are so full, and yet we can perceive them as empty if we don’t consciously focus on all that we have. Instead of thinking “More, more more”; try saying and thinking “Thank you, thank you, thank you” every chance you get.
2. “Imagine yourself more competent.”
Why do we hold on to these restrictive ideas of what we can and cannot do? Every year in school gets more difficult, every new job brings a new learning curve, and we question ourselves wondering if we’ll be able to step up to the next challenge.
M.J. Ryan, the author of Instant Health and Happiness Boosters, says “I imagine the future as something that I will not be able to cope with, because I envision myself the same as I am now. I never take further growth into account.” Is this you? If so, trust your ability to grow in wisdom and experience.
3. “Appreciate the present moment.”
Thich Nhat Hanh says, “We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only be awake, alive in the present moment. This one.”
4. “Make use of whatever happens to you.”
Think about the most challenging thing you are dealing with right now. How can you find some spiritual or emotional meaning as you go through this hardship? There’s a reason waiting to be discovered if only you can quiet your mind enough to listen.
5. Ask yourself “So What?”
If you’re feeling stressed, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to let yourself off the hook. So what if your mother-in-law comes over and the house is a mess? So what if the laundry is piling up? So what if you have to leave something until tomorrow? Will your whole world come tumbling down? Nope.
6. “Will this make me happy?” M.J. Ryan says, “Just for today, before making a decision ask yourself “Will this make me happy?” Will buying this sweater, calling this person, having this meeting, make me happy? If the answer is yes, do it. If not, don’t.
7. “Take a Satisfaction Break.”
When is the last time you paused to acknowledge your accomplishments? If you’re like me, you accomplish something and for a moment, you congratulate yourself. Then almost immediately, you begin focusing on the next goal. We’re always trying to make more money, have more things, do more things. There will always be more to do. Be sure to stop, appreciate the moment and say “Thank You” (see #1!)
8. “Give yourself permission to be yourself.”
Stop beating yourself up for the things that you think make you unloveable. You don’t need to be what others expect you to be. You deserve to be content with yourself, just the way you are.
9. “Stop Rescuing.”
M.J. Ryan says, “If someone in my general vicinity is unhappy, I feel immediate panic. Are they unhappy with me? Even if the answer is no, I feel compelled to try and fix the situation. Sound familiar?”
*Raising my hand*
Sometimes it’s appropriate to get involved and offer help and other times it’s not. Don’t underestimate the power of sending positive thoughts and energy. This is often more effective than getting directly involved.
10. “Keep a sense of proportion.”
My daughter is 5 years old and already, her life is an emotional roller coaster. Everything is a huge deal. If she can’t find her favorite shoes (which she never puts away in their proper place), she gets all bent out of shape. If her brother wants to play by himself, she cries that he doesn’t like her anymore.
Sometimes we can carry this into adulthood. Learning to overlook small things helps us to be calm and centered for the big things.
Guess what? I feel better!! How about you? Remember to keep uplifting reminders around you always. xoxo