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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

The Path to a Healthy Mind and Happiness - Where do I Begin?

 

Happiness

"Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can't help but smile. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy or contentment"

What makes us happy? How can we live a life of happiness? Is it possible to be happy every day for the rest of our lives? Happiness is a mental and emotional state and like everything else we want to achieve we need to introduce consistency and perseverance. Don't get me wrong here?.......We can be happy with daily events or life occurrences. But to be truly happy and healthy it will take some effort.

Whilst I am writing this, there is a big event about to happen today. The outcome of this 'big event' could make a lot of people extremely happy or extremely saddened. In fact, I am a bit oblivious to all of this myself, but many of my family, friends and colleagues will be drinking a beer or two and no doubt wallow in pure, unadulterated euphoria if all goes well or perhaps feel the opposite if the outcome is different. Yes, it is of course, the England vs Italy Euro Final. I will be happy for all those who love football and I will probably smile if I see and feel the happiness surrounding me. But this will not actually make me happy? Happiness is a very individual emotion. We seek our own happiness for our own well-being and not that of others. Be happy for your friends and family but find your happy life and work towards your own path of health and well-being. 

Adding a little bit of Laughter


Laughter is extremely beneficial for our health and happiness. My personal favourite (above) is my 'go to' happy video. It doesn't matter if I am feeling sad, angry or fed up......I can guarantee I will be laughing and a lot happier after watching this video. Laughter is actually a medicine or therapy that can change your mood, state of mind and lift your 'spirits'. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins (the happy hormone), promoting a sense of well-being that can even temporarily relieve pain and has been known to protect the heart. Some other benefits of a good laugh are:

  • Boosts immunity
  • Relaxes muscle tension
  • Eases anxiety
  • Improves mood
  • Strengthens relationships
  • Attracts others to us

Gratitude Journal

The simplest ideas can have the most effect. Writing a journal, taking a thought from your mind and writing it down becomes "visual"........you can see how you feel. This is our own private space where we can express ourselves. You don't have to be a professional writer and your thoughts might be a few sentences.....it doesn't matter. Start your journal every day with three positive thoughts or three things you are grateful for on that particular day. This can be as simple as "the sun was out today" or "I had more energy today" or even "My favourite song was played on the radio as I was driving to work". The aim here is to make us more positive by looking for the things that make us happier in life and giving less power to the negative emotions that can overwhelm us during our everyday lives. There are some great apps out there too (if you prefer this to a paper journal), that can prompt and remind us to write these positive thoughts down daily until it becomes a productive and worthwhile habit. Presently App...Minimal Daily Journal ...... This little app allows you to jot down a few words of gratitude, encouraging you to look for the happy things in life rather than negative thoughts or occasions during your day. 

Decluttering

Making better use of space, creating harmony between you and your surroundings makes a happier 'you' and an improved, calmer environment. Clutter is not solely your unwanted possessions? Clutter forms itself in many ways disturbing our peace and clouding our happiness. Yes, we can de-clutter our home of unwanted items and clothing we no longer wear and without a doubt this increases our mood no end. Clutter and probably the worst kind, can be the build up of paperwork requiring our attention or phone calls that need to be made, distracting our peace and disrupting our sleep patterns. There may also come a time where we need to de-clutter our 'friends list', which can often be 'all consuming' and energy draining. Clutter can cause moments of stress and anxiety, leaving us in a negative, unhealthy mental state inhibiting our desire for a happier lifestyle. We need to give ourselves time to de-clutter....... even as little as 15 minutes a day is a positive move towards rewarding ourselves more space. 

Planning Eventful or Meaningful Goals

Simply planning is enough to improve mood and happiness levels. The excitement of planning a holiday or a life goal can be one of the joyous parts of the project in itself. It doesn't necessarily have to be a holiday or an individual ambition? Planning an event or joining in an event has the same effect. Perhaps an overnight stay, a festival or carnival, a party with friends or booking a ticket for a show. Even if you cannot afford a holiday or do not have the time to book a ticket right now......just marking a date in your calendar and starting your plans is enough to enhance your mood. By physically marking the date on your calendar or writing the dates in your diary will give you a boost of happiness whenever you remind yourself.

Setting life goals and 'making headway' towards them promotes health and well-being. Having a purpose is integrated with our happiness, as we see ourselves making progress and achieving what we have set out to do. Breaking up our goals into smaller sections, will give us 'boosts of happiness' as each step brings us closer to our ultimate objective. Rewarding ourselves with something meaningful for every step we achieve will help us stay on the path of happiness and accomplishment. We all need goals and plans to turn our dreams into reality, motivating and challenging us, but we must choose obtainable and not impossible goals. This will not bring us happiness, only stress and pressure. Thinking, planning and pursuing goals engage our attention, give us a sense of meaning and builds our confidence in achieving the end result.

Mindfulness and Mindful Meditation

Mindful meditation is probably one of the most difficult practices for me to promote as a healthy daily activity. Mindfulness is not a physical pursuit. It is not perceived as relevant to ones inner peace or a path to happiness. I feel this is because it is not a natural or easy practice to 'take a shine to' and it's still associated with 'chanting monks' or 'the hippies of the 60's'. 

Mindful meditation does indeed take daily practice and there is no right or wrong way to do this. Unfortunately it does not come with an instruction book and it does not appear to show any physical results as with an exercise programme or a dieting plan. It does however calm the mind, teaches us to use our breathe to control thoughts and actions in a positive way and when practised daily, will bring happiness to a calm mind free from negative chatter. 

Mindfulness teaches us to live in the present moment, make us aware of our thoughts and feelings (to just simply observe) and then let go. Let these thoughts and feelings pass by with no judgement. In times of stress and anxiety we harbour our thoughts and feelings, become judgemental and let negative thoughts and feelings control our actions. Mindfulness helps us to understand that we do not need to control all our thoughts and feelings just recognise and accept without judgement, which in turn brings us happiness, peace and calm.

Click the link below and try some mindful practices this week.




The best thing you can do to achieve a state of happiness is to be 'you'. Happiness does not come from others or from material assets but from inside 'you'. We are not put on this earth to make others happy but to be happy and positive, enjoying all that life offers. The happier we are, the happier those around us will be. Happiness is removing all the 'negative chatter' inside our mind and replacing it with peace and calm. This will not only help us in our journey to a happy life but will keep us healthy and protect our well-being.

©HealthyForeverFitnessMotivation

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