We’re all stress junkies. Some of us moreso than others, but it’s so prevalent in our society that it’s unavoidable. We’re bombarded on all sides by aggravations, panics, disasters, and things we’re not OK with so often that it’s like a constant background hum. Accumulating all this stress can lead to a pretty bad attitude. Pessimism, anger, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions are something we look at as normal…and often choose medication to handle.
Instead of jumping to pills, let’s take a look at some better options. I want to show you a few ways you can brighten your mindset today, right now, that will have lasting effects not only on your mental state, but that will improve your immune system, heart health, and even your longevity. Stress is a killer for many reasons, and the alternative, being happy, has numerous health benefits.
The first thing is to love your life. Yes, I know your boss chewed you out and your kids made a giant mess. So when you leave your office, take a deep breath, and LAUGH. Maybe let out a few tears if it’s been an especially hard day, no one is watching. Get it out, and leave it behind. Smile at the spilled cereal and milk as you pick your little one up and tell them that you love them. (That will help you AND your child!) If you constantly feel like everything in your life is crushing you, look at alternatives. Change something. Get a new job, move to a new city, or sell everything and live on the beach. The important part is to eliminate the things that cause you the most negativity.
Another huge step you can take is to be grateful. At whatever point in the day you are feeling especially anxious or pessimistic, take time to write out at least 5 things you are genuinely grateful for, and I don’t mean the basic obvious things. You could be grateful to the lazy guy in your office whose work you had to do, because it forced you to push your limits and put you in line for a promotion or raise, or you could be grateful to the hardworking souls who harvest and roast your coffee beans. If you want to go even deeper, take at least one day out of the week, and first thing in the morning make a list of 100 things you are grateful for.
Finally, take some time out to meditate. Clear your mind of all the distractions, the stress, the noise, and the busy-ness. Just breathe, and smile at the fact that you exist. The world is a wonderful place to be! Let go of all the hard things you might be going through. When you come out of your meditation, you’ll find yourself refreshed and able to move past all the negative feelings that had been squeezing you. It takes practice, but it’s an extremely helpful tactic when working on choosing happiness for yourself.
It really is a choice. We don’t have much of a say in what happens in the world and to us directly, but we DO have a choice in how we handle it. This choice is what makes all the difference. Choosing happiness will allow you to make better decisions and to live a longer, healthier, HAPPIER life.