10 Ways to Increase Your Happiness Every Day

Do you start your day feeling happy and positive about life? Scientific research is showing us that positive thoughts and emotional states have a profound effect on our health and how we perceive, think, feel and perform. We all know that positive emotions feel good – and it’s no wonder since they actually help all of our body’s systems to synchronize and work better.

So how can you cultivate more positive emotions and happiness in your life? Happiness is actually a state of being. It’s an overall sense of well-being, joy or contentment. This kind of true happiness flows through your entire being. It brightens your life. It’s the inner glow that fills your soul, that brings color and light to all your experiences.

Here are ten ways to increase your overall sense of happiness every day:

Choose Happiness. If you don’t like the way you feel you can always choose a better feeling thought or a better response to a situation. Decide how you most want to feel and consciously cultivate those feelings within yourself during your day.

Practice Gratitude. Take time to notice and reflect on things you are grateful for every day. Appreciate even the simple things. The regular practice of gratitude includes such benefits as strengthening the immune system, increasing positive emotions, and helping you feel more alive.

Share a Smile or a Hug. Research has shown that our facial expressions can influence our mood. Even smiling for a brief time can make you feel happy. Hugs balance out the nervous system and stimulate release of the “feel good” hormone, oxytocin. Hugging for an extended time also lifts your serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness. Share a smile and perform small acts of kindness and see how good you feel when you help others.

Replace Worry with Positive Expectation. Anticipate that good things will happen. Imagine the best case scenario that you could experience. Positive expectations can lead to a more positive life. Expect more things to be grateful for and you will attract more things to be grateful for.

Empower Yourself. Keep your thoughts and words positive and uplifting. Write out positive affirmations about yourself and your life. Meditate on your favorite scriptures or inspirational quotes. You can put up post-it notes or write out your quotes on index cards to keep with you. Ask yourself empowering questions. Instead of asking, “Why am I so tired?” ask “Why am I so happy and full of energy?” This will immediately change what your brain focuses on. When you change the question, you change your results. It changes your perspective which will change your actions which will change your life.

Try New Things. Break out of your routine. Start a new hobby, walk down a new street, try that new breakfast café. Plan that weekend getaway to renew and refresh.

Have Things to Look Forward to. Make future plans for things you will enjoy and savor the anticipation. One of the keys to happiness is having something to look forward to. Don’t forget to plan for small pleasures in your day-to-day life. Plan the massage, trying out that new restaurant with a friend or taking that bike ride in the park.

Take a Deep Breath. Deep abdominal breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which guides our body from stress to relaxation. By training yourself to breathe slowly and deeply in a mindful state on a regular basis, you will notice a shift in your energy level, your mental clarity and overall well-being.

Strengthen Your Relationships. Many research studies have shown that satisfying relationships are associated with better health, greater happiness and even a longer life. This effect is not limited to romantic relationships. Close friendships and social connections with family and the community can also help your health and happiness.

Care for Your Body. Nourish yourself with whole foods, water and sufficient sleep. Be sure to include plenty of physical activity and exercise. Exercise has been shown to increase happiness in many ways. Exercise helps to clear your mind, reduce stress and increases the release of the feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger positive feelings and can be accompanied by a more energizing outlook on life.

Do something nice for yourself today. The true key to happiness is in doing your best to create joy in as many moments as you can.

Diane Duvall, CLC, CHHC, CPT

Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, M.D., Board Certified, American Board of Internal Medicine. Our Internal Medicine Practice is an integrated medical practice with a focus on Lifestyle Medicine to prevent chronic disease and promote health and wellness.

 

Dr. Geni Abraham, Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Suite A, Atlantis FL 33462. Phone: (561) 432-8935

Visit DrGeniAbraham.com and Follow us on Facebook

Stress Management Means Better Health

Managing stress is a very important aspect in our road to good health.  We are so overwhelmed with our frenzied lives that we don’t stop for a moment and take a deep breath and clear our minds.  We find it difficult to make positive steps because our minds are overwhelmed and overstressed and in a tizzy.  It is hard to see a way forward when we are running in circles looking at everything that must be handled in our hectic lives.  The upcoming holiday season adds to the load in so many different ways. This chronic stress promotes a chemical environment in our bodies that promote disease or at the very least we are ill at ease.  When this frenzied state is a permanent part of lives it has a long term negative impact physically, mentally and even spiritually. We exhaust our reserves.

So how do we manage our stress?

All the previous letters I sent are part and parcel of stress management.  Eating right, exercise, sleep management and time management all have a positive impact on our bodies.  Conversely, not paying attention to these matters have a negative impact.

The question is, where do we start?

Let me make some suggestions…

  1. Take a deep breath.  Step back and identify the problem at hand.  Then look for a solution and move forward.  Taking that few extra seconds is always helpful.  I use this technique all the time when I am dealing with stressful patients.
  1. Practice deep breathing. I advise my patients to take deep breaths at least 5 times every 1-2 hours.  We don’t realize how quick and shallow our breathing gets when we are stressed.  We send signals to our brain that we are in danger even though we are not and our bodies go into the classic fight or flight mode.  The stress hormones rev up. In contrast deep breathing signals peaceful surroundings and no danger and thus sends positive signals.  There are a lot of smart phone apps that can be helpful to walk you through this practice.
  1. Mindful meditation. Controlling your thoughts and bringing it in line with your values is very important.  After all, we are what we think. Clearing your mind of negative thoughts and feelings and replacing them with positive outcomes of where you want to be in life is an important way to get our stress under control.  There are different techniques that are out there that you can try.   If one does not work then try something else.  There are many also many smart phone apps that can help with this practice too.
  1. Make a list. We are the sum of many parts and each area in our lives require actions to support it.  For example I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, doctor, employer, church elder, etc…  Likewise all of you have many roles.  There was a time when I was overwhelmed by it all.  Then I started making lists under different categories.  For example: personal health, family, home, work, church.  Then I listed items under each category.  Once this list got started I organized them according to priority.  I made appointments for myself to get personal care in.  The tyranny of the urgent got less as I started to work on things in anticipation.  With a lot of time and persistence my life is now in control.  Nothing happens overnight.  You have to take one forward step at a time but you have to do some thinking to know where you are going and what you want to accomplish to get there.  The list never gets shorter but it organizes our mind and this gives a lot of relief to our stressful lives.
  1. Learn to say NO where appropriate.  All things that are good are not necessarily the best or profitable.  Pick things to do that promote the health and well-being of you and your family.
  1. Make a decision to take care of YOU.  Then think of ways to incorporate it into our lives.  Trying to be healthy should not stress you out.  As the new year comes we all resolve to be skinny.  Don’t make that resolution, it is doomed for failure. Instead:
    • Decide to start incorporating healthy foods into your diet, you have been given the right tools.
    • Decide to add exercise into your life, just start with 5 minutes if that’s all you can do.  That is great.  But know eventually where you want to be.
    • Decide that you want to reduce the unwanted clutter in your life whether it is a cluttered life of fruitless activities, cluttered paper and junk in your home or a cluttered mind of negative thoughts.  Whatever it may be start with a small action or idea.

Truth is I can go on and on….

There are many roads to a healthy and beautiful lifestyle that will help us to age gracefully and maintain our functionality.  Pick one idea and build on it and with time a healthy transformed life can be in your future.

That is what I hope and pray for every one of you.  A transformed life that will carry you into the future and help you meet the challenges of life with grace and peace.

Best regards for a healthy future, Dr. Abraham