Aloha wonderful people and Merry Christmas Eve Eve!
In the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to touch on a subject that seems to be quite in demand, particularly during this time of year.
And that subject is happiness.
See, I find a lot of people get sad or even depressed during the holiday season. I believe this happens because the emphasis in the media is all about love, family, and relationships, but if you do not have one of those things in your life, you might feel a little empty and therefore become sad. I also see a lot of media outlets discussing goals and new years resolutions; hearing that message may prompt some to self reflect on last year’s goals and realize they did not meet them. Again you’ll get a feeling of sadness.
So what you need to do is counteract those feelings, and learn to use those prompts to think about what you have and what goals you have completed, instead of what you don’t have or goals you have not completed.
#1 Write Down Your Achievements – All of Them
This is by far one of my favourite and most effective strategies for motivation and happiness. You essentially motivate yourself by re-living rewarding feelings.
Let’s go through a simple example…
Say you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning (maybe you like staying warm and comfortable instead of getting out of bed to face the world). To implement this strategy, all you have to do is get out of bed one time and reflect on how you feel – maybe you feel well-rested or productive because you got some activities completed. Maybe – even if for a split second – you feel happy that you actually got out of bed. Every time you realize you feel something positive, I want you to write that down. and keep that list by your bed.
So when the next morning comes around and you don’t want to get out of bed, all you have to do look at the list you made. You will be able to motivate yourself to get out of bed by harnessing the feelings you felt the last time you got out of bed. You literally create a never-ending loop of motivation for yourself. I really think this method is fool proof for maintain happiness or at least a JON Baseline.
I recommend you write down these positive reflections every single day for at least 1 week. If you are consistent for 7 days, you can then look back and see your progress. Now write a small reflection on that. Maybe you continue for another month, write a reflection on that progress. Eventually, you have so much motivation that has built up and compounded over time. You can use this strategy for any activity and any feeling that you get. So if you focus reflecting on and recording the activities that make you happy, becoming happier the next time around will always get easier. And that leads me to my second tip …
#2 Momentum Momentum Momentum!
Have you ever noticed that once you start doing something, it gets easier to keep going? Well that concept applies to emotions as well.
I’ll be the first to tell you, it is very difficult for me to be happy most days, BUT once I decided to choose happiness, I noticed that each day after that, choosing happiness became easier. And I want to clarify that when I say “choose”, I mean I chose to find the positive in seemingly negative or neutral experiences.
Last year I bought a book called Happy. It is an activity book with 50 exercises to help boost your mood.
In the introduction, the author Dr. Arlene Unger, mentions that in this lifetime there are more opportunities for people to be happy than ever before. But, the issue seems to be that people do not want to seek out those opportunities to take advantage of them. By doing different exercises such as the ones in this book, you will learn how to create happiness in your life. Once you learn to take control of your happiness instead of letting your emotions control you, you will be more inclined to create happiness in every aspect of your life.
But please remember that momentum also happens when we are sad. So being sad one day and then the next day is going to make it easier for you to be sad the third day in a row. I want you to break that pattern. And I’m telling you, it is not difficult to break that pattern provided you start with small changes.
Here are a few exercises that you can do which take no additional time in your day:
The first exercise is called a Sun Salutation. You can do this when you wake up in the morning by letting the natural light enter your room before reaching for your phone or a light switch. But I like to do it on my commute to work in the morning. All you have to do is appreciate the shining sun and take in some of it’s warmth as it shines over you. I can say from experience that doing this everyday will help you find a new appreciation for nature as well as all forms of life.
Another cool exercise you can do is reflect on your goals or do some deep belly breathing for 5 minutes each morning. And I know I already said these exercises won’t take extra time, so allow me to explain where this 5 minutes will come from… If you’re like me, when your alarm goes off in the morning, you usually hit the snooze button. So if that’s the case, I recommend you start your reflection / belly breathing at that point, and end the exercise when the 5 minute snooze alarm goes off.
And if you’re not like me and you do not hit the snooze button, you can do this exercise while you’re brushing your teeth or in the shower.
Like I said, it is completely possible to add self-care to your life without taking up additional time in your day.
#3 Recognize that Being Unhappy is Okay
It’s important to know that when you get happy it is because something good happened to you. That said, when something bad happens, it makes sense for you to become unhappy.
But then what do you do when you get unhappy? Well I say you keep your reaction proportionate to the occurrence, meaning you acknowledge your feelings for a brief period but then do something to change your feelings. To initiate this change, you have to first believe that you can change. Belief in yourself is, by far, the most important thing you can have when it comes to your personal development. I recommend you check out one of my most popular blog posts to date which discusses both the importance of belief and the normalcy of unhappiness.
You can also try doing the following exercise:
Pick 5 things at minimum that make you happy. They could be talking to a friend, playing a sport, reading, colouring, or doing a puzzle. The key is to make them at least somewhat productive. Then what I want you to do is write these activities down and make them your go-to happy activities. So every time you start to feel sad, look at that list and complete one of your go-to happy activities.
The goal of the exercises in this post is to make being happier easier. So I really hope you give these exercises a shot and put yourself at an advantage when it comes to bettering your life and improving your mood.
As always, I hope you have a very Happy Monday and a Merry Christmas!
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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.