I’m not sure who coined the phrase “happiness is a choice” but choosing happiness is a skill that is in my opinion one of the most important in life. If you lose your job you can chose to look at the opportunity life just presented to you. If you go through a difficult breakup (are any ever easy?) just think of how much you learned from this last relationship an how your next romance will be that much better. If only it were that easy. The reason I use the word skill is because at its core that’s exactly what it is. No one likes mind games, but sometimes I find that you must in a sense trick yourself to avoid the pitfalls of gloom. So here are a few things that I do to keep myself cheerful even in the face of trials tribulations and miscellaneous adversity.
- Start your morning with exercise while listening to happy upbeat music. Exercise relives stress and releases endorphins that make you feel better. The song that you listen too is equally important. Chose something up-tempo with a positive message. This morning DJ Stacy served up a little “Happy” by the Rolling tones. That song never ceases to make me happy no matter how many times I hear it.
- Plan something. It turns out, according to research, that the anticipation of a fun event is more intense than the event itself. Planning a vacation or a fun night with your friends several weeks in advance is a great way to put a little more spring in your step.
- Catch some Rays. Living here in Connecticut, the winters are long and sunny days from November to April are few and far between. I make a point of visiting the beach or working outside on those rare days when the sun is peaking through the endless New England clouds. Sunlight produces vitamin D and vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to depression so a few rays a day will keep the winter blues away.
- Get a pet. It’s widely known that people with dogs or cats live longer because time with a pet reduces stress. I have both just to be safe. Recent studies have shown that time spent petting your dog or cat releases chemicals that a mother’s body creates while breastfeeding. These chemicals help a mother bond with her baby and create a somewhat euphoric feeling.
- Avoid unnecessary negativity. This one can be tough. It is our civic duty to stay informed about politics and world events but the news is also filled with horror that just doesn’t pertain to anyone but those directly involved and therefore serves only to bring you down. Where it is really tricky is when it comes to friends. We all have that friend who is so negative about everything. The one who can find something wrong in every situation. I know a few, and I have no choice but to limit my time with them. In an extreme case I have even had to disconnect completely. Difficult, especially if you have a long past together but your survival, in a sense, depends on it.
By Stacy HathawayThe most important thing though is to remain positive no matter what. Morn when you have to, be sad when you have to, but remember if you are still here things will get better but only if that is the energy you put out there. Think of negative thoughts as bacteria invading your brain. You have the power to make them go away. Even if it means saying out loud “I will not let this get to me!” Your survival depends on it.