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Five ways you steal happiness from yourself

Five ways you steal happiness from yourself

Isn’t happiness an elusive desire among all of us?

How many books, seminars and articles are written explaining how to achieve happiness and how to maintain it? Perhaps we sometimes lose out on happiness by focusing on the wrong things. We get so worried and caught up pursuing happiness that we never actually stop and really feel that happiness we have. Often it is the counter intuitive path that is actually the correct one. How many articles about happiness tell you that the way to achieve happiness is to set goals, have achievable aims, have a great job or be in a relationship? However, how many people have an amazing job and are unhappy? There are so many folks in good relationships and yet, they also feel miserable. Why would that be so?

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Here are some easy to use ideas about thinking differently about happiness. Do you fall into the trap of any of these thought habits?

1.Trying to impress others

Are all your decisions really your own? Do you ever bend your decision making to fit in with others or please others? It could be something relatively harmless such as which movie to watch or a restaurant in which to eat. Have you ever met successful people in good jobs, be that as a lawyer, a doctor or other professionals? Yes, they earn well but also, often, they feel down and miserable. Why? Medicine was what mom and dad wanted for them. It was not actually their own choice at all. Aim for choices that are good for you, not to please others.

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You steal your happiness when decisions are not in line with your gut or when you don’t listen to what you know to really be right for you. Happiness is about feeling a calm inner contentment about your choices and decisions. Try to please others and you will lead their life not your own life. Feel okay about expressing opinions that are unpopular. It is preferable to be true to you and find yourself in the minority than to conform and sacrifice your independence and feel weak.

2. Wishing to control everything, ourselves and everyone

We all need to feel that we are in control. However when you find it hard to go with the flow and relax, then anxiety increases. Think about all those things you actually can’t control. We all lack control over the weather, the stock market, world events and most importantly, other people’s behavior. Are you someone who allows rainy weather to bring your mood down? When you think clearly about it, you are simply wasting valuable energy on something you can’t control.

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Stephen Covey talks about two areas, your circle of concern and your circle of influence. You may be concerned about pollution,the snow, global terrorism, your children’s futures or what to prioritize today at work. We all have many concerns. Then of course, there is the circle of influence. What though can you really actually influence and affect in a meaningful way? Where these two circles overlap is where you can create change.

3. Having expectations that relationships should be fun and always make you happier

We have been speaking about happiness but have not talked about how you achieve it. In reality, happiness is not a goal in itself but a by-product. When you are living in line with your values and what you hold to be important and what brings you fulfillment, then happiness flows by itself. Relationships can be happy and relationships can be rocky and stormy. Happiness is the by-product of making the right decisions and living your life well. A relationship will not solve your self doubt or insecurities. The right relationship will help you face them and the wrong relationship could make them worse. Either way relationships bring you face to face with all your faults and insecurities and of course all those little bad habits. Great communication is always essential. You both need to talk it out sometimes. After all, the only real way to find happiness is to aim to be living with integrity, by expressing clearly your needs and asking for those needs to be met by loved ones.

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4. Waiting for the time to be 100% right before acting

Those things which we believe will bring us happiness always involve a leap of faith. A business venture is never guaranteed to be a magic wealth generator, you need to believe it will work and probably put some hard work in too. Committing to a relationship is about putting reservations aside and being prepared to open your heart to the possibility that your heart may get hurt. You can try to ‘look before you leap’, but no one has a crystal ball that can predict the exact outcome of future events. For many decisions in our lives, often the time will never feel exactly right, but if your instincts say yes, why not say yes too, wholeheartedly? Don’t allow past experiences to tell you that the future is something to be scared of. If you believe you can do it, don’t wait for the perfect time, since it will never arrive and you will regret not acting right now.

5. Expecting guarantees that things will always work out well

Scientists looking for cures for diseases such as cancer know that their first attempts won’t always result in success. They try and try and try again. Success is always about being rejected, failing and learning to do things better. There are never guarantees and taking risks is a part of the gamble.

There is a wonderful saying attributed to a therapy called NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) that says that “There is no such thing as failure but only feedback.” In other words, you never failed the test but the experience gave you valuable feedback on how to do better next time and succeed. The team who lost the football match will look at the tactics, view the match and consider what could have been done differently. Calling yourself a failure is very unhelpful, especially if you realize that you never failed but simply at that time just needed more skills or more insight to succeed. A step back can actually hold the secrets to true success and happiness.

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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