Let’s get started, shall we?
Practice of Gratitude
If there’s one piece of tested advice that scientists and all religions agree on, it’s this. And the emphasis is on the first word. Practice. Practice leads to habit. And contrary to popular belief, practice doesn’t make perfect. It makes permanent.
Gratitude is the experience of counting one’s blessings. And how you practice it makes a real difference. Some people express it to other people. Some people do it in their mind. Some people write it down. And it’s proven that if gratitude is written down and shared with others, it makes a stronger impact.
So how to practice gratitude? There are many ways. I’ll give you a simple example. Write down three things you are grateful for as soon as you wake up.
Also known as keeping a gratitude journal, this small but simple habit can make a massive difference in your day. Test it out. You can use a ready-to-use format as we provide at The Five Minute Journal (www.fiveminutejournal.com) or you can write it down in a blank notebook.
Pay Attention to What You Eat
When traveling in Thailand, I met somebody who made a big difference on the way I think about food and happiness. We were talking about the different ways people eat, their approach to dieting whether it be vegan or paleo. And then he said something that I’ll remember.
“One thing I’ve always noticed. The more discernment people pay to what and how they eat, the happier they are.”
Not from a gluttonous perspective. From a is-this-going-to-make-my-life-better perspective.
That’s true for many reasons. We are what we eat. Put a different way, the food you eat affects your biochemistry. And your neurochemistry. Happiness, as it turns out is a neurochemical phenomenon.
There’s good evidence that identifying what foods make you feel good in the long term can affect your well-being and happiness significantly. There are a few ways of doing this – the best way to start is food experiments. Quit sugar for a month and see how it makes you feel (after a month, not the next afternoon!).
Cultivate Great Friendships
The single greatest impact on your happiness is the quality and number of your close ties. In other words – your spouse/partner and your friends. The research makes it clear. If you want to be happier, make more money and live longer – have wonderfully close ties.
Evaluate the quality and quantity of your friendships. Your relationships. You’ve probably heard this enough times, but it bears repeating. You are the average of your five closest friends. Choose wisely. And cultivate great friendships.
Cultivating a friendship is very similar to cultivating a garden. It requires care, honesty and the willingness to move through the discomfort (of a difficult conversation, for example). I believe the ability to have difficult conversations and be able to handle confrontations peacefully is one of the best skills to acquire for this.
When was the last time you weren’t feeling so good? Do you remember? You can probably relate to the words sluggish, disheartened and dissatisfied. How long did you stay in that emotional state?
Want to know Richard Branson’s secret for being productive? Work out.
Here’s a tip to get your feeling better almost immediately. Get moving. Walk. Run. Job. Lift weights. Cycle. Have (safe and consensual) sex. You get the point.
You can never think your way out of an emotional problem. You’ve gotta change the way you feel. And moving your body is great way of doing that.
What’s a physical activity that you enjoy? Schedule it now. And make sure you do it early and often.
Do Great Work
This one sounds like a motivational poster but let me explain. Have you heard people remark often that ‘life is short’? They’re wrong.
Life’s short when you’re having fun and long when you’re not. And you’re going to have a long life if you don’t find out what you’re good at and find a viable way to incorporate that in your life. How to find out what you’re good at is the subject of another course and I trust we’ll get to it soon enough.
But finding out what you’re good at and making sure you’re improving on that everyday is a surefire way to enjoy most of your life. This has nothing to do with fame, fortune or external rewards. It’s got to do with developing and your reputation with yourself. And the best way to develop that is to develop a great work ethic built on a powerful vision for the future.
What was once a hippie trend has some serious science backing it in the last 10 years. This one is my personal favourite. It’s a great way to get clarity, increase awareness and (staying on point) improving happiness.
It’s because what meditation does on a neurological basis is improve whole-brain thinking. Long-term meditation is like drugs. You have no idea how good you’re going to feel unless you do it. Thankfully, meditation is much safer and healthier for you.
The best way to get started is to join a meditation club or course. There’s almost nobody I know who hasn’t gotten started on a serious meditation practice without a course or the support of peers. So stop telling yourself “I need to meditate” and sign up for a course 🙂
Brad Blanton wrote a book about Radical Honesty about a decade or so ago about being incredibly transparent with everybody you know – your partner, friends, family even strangers. Needless to say, it’s hilarious and a novel idea. But he makes a point that a lot of people miss.
Shame is the opposite of being authentic. The less authentic you are, the less happy you will be. And the vulnerable and open you allow yourself to be in the company of others. The more free you feel to ‘be yourself’ and act from your core the happier you will be. The less self-conscious you will be. The closer you will feel with friends and family. And on and on.
Is there something personal you feel uncomfortable sharing with close friends/family? Consider sharing it.
Consider picking up Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
Schedule a Weekly Dinner with Close Friends
You’ll be surprised how much this simple tip can change your life. The logistics are simple – contact between 3-8 close friends and schedule a weekly dinner at a place where you won’t have to worry about overstaying.
Let the food and drink flow freely. Ban cellphones. And most of all, laugh often.
Laughing with close friends is one of the greatest experiences in life. It’s right up there with great sex and probably right below nirvana.
Develop the Habit of Introspection
What do you think separates the human animal from other animals? Self awareness. The ability to be aware and contemplate our existence. Wax philosophy. Think strategy. Etcetera.
This self awareness is a gift. It allows us to think about “How can I be happier?”
Introspection is using your thinking to understand yourself better. And it usually leads to better behaviour and a better life. It’s as simple as asking yourself at the end of the day – “What would I have done differently today if I could do it all over again?”
Most high-level athletes keep Journals of their training, how they feel, what they ate, etc. in order for better self knowledge. The more you know yourself, the happier you will be.
Make Your Choices Count
The quality of your life is the result of the quality of your choices. Everyday, you take several choices that can move you toward or away from the future you want. The trick is to be aware of them. A while ago, I read an article by the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow who is best known for his work on the hierarchy of human needs. He wrote this article at the end of his career when he’d assimilated a lifetime of data comparing those who were self-actualized (experiencing the pinnacle of happiness and actualization of their potential). After reading through thousands of papers, going through an entire lifetime of studying and assimilating what made these people different from the rest of us he came to a remarkably simple conclusion. Everyday we make several choices. Every choice we make have the potential to either be better or harmful for us in the long term. The choices that are better for us in the long term can be called ‘conscious decisions to grow’ Self actualized people make significantly more conscious decisions to grow than the rest of us. Making conscious decisions can help you expand your comfort zone or doing something that scares you everyday. Most importantly, conscious choices will help you to take the responsibility for your happiness solely in your hands and actions.
Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life? Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You! We help people who are…
- Wanting Work Life Balance.
- Needing Stress Relief.
- Concerned about their health and the environment.
- Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
- Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
- Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
- Standing at a Career Crossroad.
- Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
- Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!
Are any of these an issue or problem for you? Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!
I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life! Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.
Leesa A. Wheeler
Member International Health Coach Association
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