3 Steps to Greater Happiness
Happiness...what exactly is that? It's a word that's thrown around a lot these days like it's a commodity to be owned. But really, what does it mean to be happy? Think about it for a minute. What are the feelings you are feeling when you are happy? The dictionary lists the following synonyms:
pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, joy, joyfulness, joviality, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness, well-being, enjoyment, exuberance, exhilaration, elation, ecstasy, jubilation, rapture, bliss, blissfulness, and euphoria.
Ok yes, I can say I feel happy when I feel those emotions listed above. But what does that translate to in tangible form?
Am I "happy" 24/7? No. But am I satisfied, content, & cheerful more often than not? Yes.
What allows me to say I am satisfied, content, & cheerful? I am not worried or anxious for the majority of my days. (I have had periods of time like that in my life. I know what it's like to live in that state of mind.) I have sources of love & joy in my daily life. I do things daily that make me feel good that I know are good for me.
Would you consider yourself happy? Do you focus on the good things in your life instead of everything that's not going as planned? You deserve to be happy, but there are days when it’s easy to get sucked into negativity and despair. When nothing seems to go your way. When the craziness around you starts to bring your thoughts down the rabbit hole. When you wish you were somewhere else, someone else…
There are a few simple strategies that you can implement today to start increasing your levels of "happiness". Every day is a new opportunity for growth and today you can choose to honor yourself right where you are. Happiness is a choice we make deliberately every moment of every day. You choose your thoughts that create your emotions & feelings, and therefore your perception of your happiness (or lack thereof).
So now that we've clarified what happiness is, let's dive into the steps we can use to turn it into our reality.
1. Let Go of Perfection
One of the main tenants I use in my coaching practice with clients is..."strive for improvement, not perfection." When you expect perfection, you set yourself up for disappointment. Newsflash! Nobody’s perfect. Thinking you need to be perfect is just setting yourself up for failure. Or worse, for not even starting.
On the road of self-improvement, there will be potholes, detours, and distractions along the way. This is completely normal and natural. Judging yourself too harshly for not being perfect is a major happiness killer.
2. Eat More Fermented Foods and Probiotics
You might be thinking, "this sounds a little random." Fermented foods might not seem to have much to do with happiness from the outside but on the inside, they make a huge difference. By adding probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, yogurt (processed dairy-free of course), and kombucha into your diet, you’ll strengthen your body’s ability to produce serotonin, the happy hormone.
Serotonin is produced in large amounts in the gut, but when our gut bacteria aren't healthy, our body’s have a hard time producing serotonin and transporting it to our brains.
The gut is often referred to as the second brain and for good reason. A balanced probiotic rich gut makes it easy to produce hormones that flood the brain with positive feelings. Recent studies are even looking into probiotics as a way to treat depression and anxiety!
3. Watch Your Thoughts
All of us have a constant dialogue running in our heads. Thoughts are wonderful and wicked at the same time. They can build you up or they can break up down & hold you back from taking action towards what you want to achieve.
The only way to really know what’s going on in your own head is to sit down and watch the movie that only you can see. Through the daily practice of sitting down and watching the thoughts pass through you without judgement, you can start to understand yourself better.
This is a place where massive growth happens. If you notice a lot of negative self-talk you can consciously take action to switch it around. This one action alone, even for just a few minutes a day, can increase your happiness and decrease your stress tenfold.
The first step toward change in any direction is being aware of where you are now. Then decide where you want to be. What is your goal? Negative mantras/affirmations, like "I'm not good enough." or "I'm not smart enough." (whatever your "I am not" statement is), are just as powerful, if not more, than positive affirmations. Be deliberate with your thoughts. Practice the new thoughts, the positive thoughts, until they become your new habit. Catch yourself when you start down the path of negativity or self-doubt and replace that thought immediately. This is a practice, not an overnight revolution. Trust me, I started this practice years ago, and it is ongoing for me. It's not the same today as it was when I first started, but I still apply these principles when I catch myself telling a self-defeating story in my head. Remember strive for improvement not perfection (see step 1).
If you’re seriously interested in getting healthy, restoring happiness in your daily life, & making it last check out my comprehensive coaching programs.
details here http://drlaramay.com/coaching. I have both self-guided programs & more personal one-on-one programs. You will get a ton of delicious satisfying recipes as well as strategies that will help rebuild your health in a variety of ways in all of the programs I offer.
If you need help deciding or want to customize a plan for yourself, I love creating ways to maximize your results. Just email me to get started firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or join me on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/drlaramay/ where I’ll be sharing more information, tips and recipes to help you live a happier, healthier life. I am also on Instagram, Twitter & YouTube @drlaramay.
To your happiness,
Let me know in the comments your favorite ways to boost your happiness!