Every individual has felt lost, hopeless, stressed, or down right depressed at one point in his or her lifetime. Unfortunately for several others, that negativity never leaves and while some may feel content, it’s difficult for them to feel happy. There is no secret or art to being happy; in fact, it requires the conscious effort and determination to truly want to change in order to feel any results. Fortunately, being, and staying, happy isn’t hard – it just takes a few simple lifestyle changes that become habits to ensure a happier, healthier you.
- Start with a clean slate. Of course that stuffed bunny your ex gave you for you birthday is absolutely adorable, but it harbors negativity by not only reminding you of your breakup, it maintains an unseen attachment to someone or something that is no longer in your new, positive life. Get rid of anything that reminds you of worse times – the less negativity in the air, the less it will be able to penetrate you. Likewise, remove the clutter from your mind. It’s difficult to go from zero to sixty in one day, but begin by lying in bed for a few minutes before you rise for the day and mentally remind yourself that you’re starting over – only positivity from here on out.
- Find or get back in touch with a hobby. It’s easy to let those stressful thoughts swarm your brain if you’re idle and bored, so keep busy. Make a list of your interests and decide what you can do with them that will keep you stress free and happy. Create art, read books in your favorite genres, work in a garden, begin a blog – the possibilities are endless and it doesn’t matter what you do so long as you are relaxed and content doing it. An added bonus: imagine how proud you’ll feel of yourself when you hang that painting or watch your flowers bloom.
- Get physical. Exercise has always been known to relax and sooth the mind, so start moving! Remember, however, that the goal is to feel happy, so don’t run a mile every morning if you hate running and don’t buy a gym membership if you dread going. Yoga is a soft alternative to strenuous exercise that allows you to slow down, take a break from your hectic day, and open up your muscles and chakras. One of the many benefits of Yoga is developing nearly perfect posture and better posture leads to more self-confidence. There are many types of Yoga available, so you’re bound to find one you like.
- Smile – Even when you’re sad. Long ago, people realized that smiling actually makes you feel better. It’s a mind-over-matter trick: because you’re smiling, your brain automatically assumes that everything is okay, and begins releasing the chemicals to make you happy.
- Count your blessings. It sounds very cliche but it’s true. When you begin thinking of everything that is going wrong in life, immediately force yourself to stop and change gears. Focus instead on what is going right. You didn’t get that promotion you wanted? That’s okay, be thankful that in this harsh economy, you still have a secure means of income. Money is a little tight? At least you now get to start eating away at those left overs in the fridge and you can have a cozy night at home with the honey or family instead of going out. It seems odd, but it truly does work and after just a few tries, this type of thinking becomes a habit. Next time something goes wrong, it won’t affect you nearly as badly as it once would have.
- Messy bed, messy head. Another sure fire way to banish negativity? Clean. You’re starting fresh with a new, clean outlook on life – you’ll want your environment to match. Discard old unwanted and unused items to free up space, sweep in the little corners between the wall and stove, and use calming scents, such as lavender or chamomile. When you walk home, you will not only feel the stress melt away at the sight of a clean room, you will instantly relax at the smell of your new fragrances.
- Go outside. Drink some milk and head out to take a walk on a sunny afternoon; the sun releases the vitamin D from the milk and makes you feel more energetic and prone to happiness. Observe the beauty in nature: smell the flowers, watch the animals, listen to the thunder, splash through a lake. The serenity of the outdoors will give you the same serene feeling and will help you feel more one with nature.
- Believe. Above all else, being happy is a decision you must make and follow through on, or it will never work. Sure, it may be easier just to stay stuck in your ways, but do you really want to be miserable and unhappy? Trust you instincts and use your will power to change your outlook on life.
Negativity is everywhere and honestly, nobody can escape it. However, just because negativity is floating around, you needn’t let it overwhelm your life and have power over you. Fill your free time with fun things that you like to do. Sit outside on a warm morning to listen to the birds and move your limbs with Yoga. Have your environment match your new attitude with a new, clean decor that makes you feel comfortable. There is no reason not to smile and there are no excuses. It’s up to you, and only you, to banish the negativity around you and develop a new, positive life style so you can be, and stay, happy.