A Quick Guide To Happiness Follow these quick and simple steps in the morning, noon and night to achieve happiness. BY DEBBIE MANDEL
Acheiving happiness is only a few steps away.
How do you achieve happiness? Specifically, the kind that lasts all day? Robert Frost wrote, "Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length." While this is a beautiful aphorism depicting the spirit of the human condition, there are many concrete strategies to assist you in making happiness go the distance.
Clearly, you have opportunities for accomplishment on many levels, however, happiness is something you must accomplish for yourself. When it comes to your personal joy, you don’t have to wait for external events like buying a house, your daughter getting into Harvard or earning a promotion at work. You can be happy for no reason: simply put—a joy and a sense of humor emanating from within. Be aware that consciously or unconsciously you might have been transmitting your unhappiness to your spouse, creating an anxious home environment. Your personal transformation will positively affect your relationship, bringing both of you closer than ever. Now you can become a positive, loving coach instead of a stern critic. Here is a sample weekday happiness schedule.
1. Wake up on your own terms. If you are jolted out of bed by your alarm clock, you are already starting your day stressed which means anything can set you off. Hit the snooze button. Just a few minutes more in bed and you wake up gently and in control while you prepare yourself emotionally. Savor these "stolen moments."
2. Don't skip morning grub. Eat a balanced breakfast of complex carbs and lean protein—food and mood go together. Research shows that coffee boosts mood, improves focus and reduces exercise-induced pains.
3. Find perspective. Change your seat at the kitchen table to see things from a fresh perspective. Don’t eat on the run!
4. Break your patterns. For the daily commute, car or public transportation, vary your route just a little. Nothing deadens the heart like routine; wake up your spirit. While you are at it, get off a stop earlier or park your car a few blocks away to reap the mood-elevating benefits of an outdoor walk.
5. Find inner peace. Use your daily commute as an opportunity to meditate. You can meditate anywhere as long as you are aware of your surroundings. Try this: Imagine your forehead, the center of your inspiration, as a deep blue; your pure heart is white and your belly is gold because you are a golden child. Now align the three colors vertically, blue, white and gold like a traffic light and you will feel emotionally centered and in focus especially during rush hour traffic. Note: if you are driving, do not close your eyes unless you are parked!
6. Address your neighbors. Greet people at the train station, school bus stop or in your office building. Happiness is propelled by numbers. When you are acknowledged, you feel validated and energized. Pay it forward.
1. Keep the body tuned. Eat a balanced lunch (remember the correlation between eating and mood). Exercise during half of your lunch break to move stress out of your body and increase focus to avoid that afternoon slump. You can walk, stretch or do exercises that use the body’s own resistance. Your ability to find solutions will improve.
2. Wipe the slate. De-clutter every afternoon. The day’s chaos accumulates to weigh you down. Clear out your desk, your fridge, a drawer, the mail or your pocket book to liberate your energy.
3. Keep your engine fueled. Have a late afternoon healthy snack to keep energy levels at peak performance. Drink a hot liquid like herbal tea to signal relaxation. You can’t gulp a hot liquid.
1. Take time to relax. Unwind and enjoy your personal space with happiness rituals.
2. Rebuild your foundation. To help you unwind before sleep and release toxins put your feet in a pot of hot water (a temperature you can tolerate) for one minute and then immediately place them in a pot of cold water for thirty seconds. Repeat this cycle three times. This hot/cold treatment releases toxins from your feet—the body’s foundation. The heat circulates the blood; the cold water reduces the swelling. The cold pulls out toxins in the contractive phase and the heat brings blood and nutrients in the expansive phase.
3. Reward yourself. Have a treat right before bed – you won’t overeat because you will be going to sleep and you will feel rewarded.
4. Acknowledge your accomplishments. To unwind before sleep: instead of that endless to-do list playing in your head, how about a "Look what I did today list!"
5. Reconnect with your spouse. A bit of cuddling and sweet dreams.