“There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh was right. You don’t have to wait to be happy in order to feel happy. There are five things you can do now to bring happy into your life. These five tips are intended to be physical and practical ways to change your state so that you physically and emotionally turn your “happy” on.Advertising
1. Move Your Body
Exercise is one of the fastest ways to joy. When you move your body you change your state. You go from down and lethargic to feeling more energetic, masterful, and fulfilled. The reason is both physiological and psychological. Not only does exercise burn off cortisol (the stress hormone), and studies have shown that exercise can release endorphins (feel-good chemicals, the commonly referred to “runners’ high”), but when you exercise you also feel a sense of accomplishment, known as self efficacy. There’s a psycho-social hypotheses called the mastery hypothesis that tells us that our mood improves when engaging in difficult and significant work. Thus, on both a psychological and physiological level, exercise will lift your mood, and as a bonus side effect you’ll be healthier too!
2. Fake it!
Seriously, the next time you’re down, put down the self-help book and simply smile. Make ridiculous faces, and even say the words “Ha Ha”. Did you know there is a form of yoga called laughter yoga, that uplifts the spirit? The class is centered around saying things like “Ha Ha, Ho Ho, Hee Hee”, and before you know it the whole room is howling. You can take this strategy and employ it in your own living room. Try it right now, and see how your state changes. Happiness is often thought of as an emotion, yet our physiological state is inextricably linked with our emotional state. The moment we change what our physical body is doing, our emotions follow. There’s been plenty of research to back up these claims, but better than science is your own scientific experiment! Try it now, and see how you feel. Put on a smile that includes your eyes smiling, and see if it influences your feelings.Advertising
3. Go Play
Life can be serious. From horrific television news stories, to deadlines, family responsibilities, and more, it’s so vital to remember to play. Kids do it all the time, and often with big smiles on their faces. So whether your form of play is taking a hike, reading a magazine, playing a sport, or literally heading over to some swings in a park and playing like a kid, play is on of the fastest ways to get in touch with our inner happy. Taking the time to go have fun, and bring some joy in your life should be part of your weekly regime. Even little doses of fun make all the difference. If it’s been awhile since you went out to play and have some fun, set up a play date now. Think of an activity you have been longing to partake in, and pencil it into your calendar.
4. Watch Something Funny
Alright, so I am all for practicing presence and meditation, but sometimes, if you’re feeling totally bummed out, meditation may not be the trick you seek. Did you know that consciously choosing to distract yourself can be a healthy coping mechanism? Now, if you are constantly living in busyness and distraction, this is not a healthy way to cope. But, consciously choosing to engage in something to get your mind off something troubling can be a healthy way to shift your attention. You can easily find thousands of hilarious comedic routines on YouTube, or the Comedy Network. Sometimes taking a time out, such as watching something that gives you a good laugh, is a healthy way to let go of the sadness and stress. And often it gives us perspective so that we can deal with what ails us in a clearer way.Advertising
5. Forget Your Schedule… For an Hour!
If you’re feeling stressed and caged in by your heavy duty never ending to-do list, it’s time to engage in what I call the “Forget Your Schedule” practice.
The truth is, if you don’t get everything done on your list, life will go on. Things won’t fall apart. It will be OK. Besides, feeling stressed and overwhelmed can seriously slow us down. By taking an hour to forget your chores and to-do-list, you often gain perspective that half of those things you thought you had to do are either unnecessary or you find a better way to get them done (which sometimes includes delegating tasks to others). By taking some time to let yourself be free, you get to finally live in the moment. When you are living in the moment, away from the giant to-do list and never ending stress (which leads to unhappiness), you tap into freedom which leads to space, possibility and happiness.Advertising
I hope these tips have been practical and that you will implement them into your life. Now it’s your turn, what’s your best tip to shifting your state and getting your happy on?
Last Updated on December 10, 2019
5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today
Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.
Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?
But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.
Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.
But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:
Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.
Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.
Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:
1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals
By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.
Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?
But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.
The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.
2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus
If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.
How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.
Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.
You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.
3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding
As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.
Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?
All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.
4. Journals Track Your Overall Development
Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.
Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.
The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.
5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth
The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”
It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.
How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?
Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.
Here’s what you can do to start journaling:
- 15 Inspiring Journal Ideas to Set You up for Success
- How to Bullet Journal to Skyrocket Your Productivity
- Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide)
Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com