Not everyone would think of happiness as an item on a healthy living checklist, but it absolutely is. Taking care of your mind and spirit is an integral part of living a full, healthy life. If you’re feeling unfulfilled, here are a few tips for finding joy and wellbeing:
Say cheese — smile more!
Sometimes it really does help to grin and bear it. When you smile, the facial muscles you use send messages to the brain telling you to experience that emotion. Smile when you’re having a rough day at work, stuck in traffic, or worrying about something beyond your control and shift the direction your brain is taking to a more positive place. But don’t just smile when it’s tough, look for opportunities to smile every chance you get.
And while you’re at it…
…laugh more, too! Laughing helps release pent-up anger, fear, and anxiety. That’s why sometimes we laugh when we’re uncomfortable: it eases the tension we’re feeling on the inside! Drowning in a seemingly endless project? Take a break and watch a funny clip on the Internet or give your spouse a call and ask for a funny story to clear your head. You can even simply take a moment to look back at some of your favorite memories — your wedding day, that family vacation to the mountains, or your nephew’s third birthday, perhaps — there’s bound to be a few good laughs buried there! Look for every opportunity to laugh, even if it’s just making yourself chuckle over how cartoonish-ly long your to-do list has gotten.
Make your office a happy place to be
Work tends to be a big player in the stress game. It’s also where you spend most of your time. There’s got to be a way to work that to your advantage, right? Right! Start by making sure your workspace is somewhere you are content to be in. Keep it clean, organized and free of clutter. Personalize it (as appropriate and permitted) with photos that make you feel good and awards that make you feel proud. If you have your own office, don’t just make it impressive to the bosses and clients. Your office should be someplace you walk into and feel strong and confident.
Get out there and try a new hobby
Hobbies are a great way to keep you active. Take a class on sewing. Learn a new language. Join a club. Try a new workout. The possibilities are endless and so are the rewards. Hobbies give you the opportunity to meet new people and stay social. They give you a sense of accomplishment and can even improve your self confidence. Remember what it was like as a kid to be so excited for your athletic practice or club meeting that you felt like you couldn’t wait? Recapture that excitement, passion, and joy with a new pastime.
Get some perspective with a nature walk
It’s tough to be negative when nature’s beauty surrounds you. Get outside and go for a hike at the park or on a nearby trail. Let go of your worries and focus only on the present moment. Embrace the enormity of the world and your relatively small place in it. When you think about how vast the ocean is and how small you truly are in comparison, you can get a lot of perspective on your problems.
Don’t underestimate your mates
It’s important to have a close circle of friends around you. Turn to them for support as you need it and return the favor — often, making others feel better makes you feel better, too. And be sure you have more than just work mates to spend your free time with. Sometimes too much time with colleagues can lead to dwelling over work, and it’s important to maintain the balance between your professional and personal life.
Don’t forget that one of the most important parts of being happy is being grateful. There will always be things you don’t have, but there is also much that you do, so acknowledge and honour them daily. Complete your personal health plan with a daily dose of gratitude and these ideas, and you’ll be on your way to a happier path.
Travis White is a foodie and loves to cook healthy dishes. At LearnFit.org, he enjoys writing about how to live a healthy lifestyle while focusing on mind, body, and soul.