GOOD MORNING MONDAY –
AFFIRMATIVE THOUGHTS FOR A GREAT WEEK
Happiness is one of those concepts that is researched and written about consistently. You can read numerous journal articles, review research or pick up magazines that frequently include information about the “science of happiness”, the “pursuit of happiness”, “how to be happy and find joy in your life”, etc.
When we were young, others orchestrated the enjoyment in our life. Our parents may have planned vacations and entertainment in our lives. We may not have had to think much about it. Then, as we entered high school and college our friends were around making sure we were participating in activities and for the most part, doing okay. Now, as we are older, we must provide the framework for “having a good day” or “finding enjoyment” for ourselves. As you know, that can be tricky. With all the responsibilities that adulthood can bring, we may find it hard to focus on happiness and joy. We may even begin to think “happiness and joy” will forever elude us and be replaced by the tasks we must do to live a responsible life. In fact, I am sure that most of us make plans for the things we must do each day (errands, tasks, goals, etc.); but, how many of us incorporate into our list of “to do’s” things that provide happiness and enjoyment, things that make us smile? I know that I don’t.
Now, I don’t want to overwhelm you by suggesting that you now must make some SMART goals and objectives for happiness; that may seem like I am adding a host of things to your “to do” list that will make you crazy! What I am suggesting does not have to be elaborate, nor does it have to take tons of time. However, as we become more aware of how fleeting time is; we may want to pay more particular attention to doing something every day that reminds us to RELISH the BRIGHT SPOTS that give us joy.
So, if you are interested in incorporating a little more joy into your life; here are some thoughts that might help you:
KNOW WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY – When was the last time that you sat down, took a minute and thought about what truly gives you pleasure? A key to steering your happiness or joy is to reflect on things that make you feel alive and incorporate that into your life.
PRIORITIZE HAPPINESS – Make Joy a priority. Do something, at least for one hour a week (at a minimum), that gives you joy. Maybe you can try to be a little daring and do something for more than an hour a week. Make it a priority to live your days around something joyful versus “fitting something joyful into your day”. I know that mindset might take some time but begin now with baby steps.
SAVOR SMALL THINGS – Think of moments that gave you joy. Savor them. Share them with people around you. People who savored a good thing and then shared that memory with others achieved and maintained higher levels of happiness in their lives.
THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS – On days when you have barely a moment to breathe; just sit back and recall something that made you happy. Truly - sit back, think about that event, and smile – a real genuine grin. Science suggests that the full facial smile/grin sparks changes in our brains and brings about brain activity that puts us in a good mood.
MAKE PLANS TO DO AN ENJOYABLE ACTIVITY – Plan for and do one thing that brings you joy. Try to do this each weekend if you can. Then, also religiously plan for another activity for the upcoming weekend. The mere creation of that plan and the anticipation of that upcoming activity will bring you joy.
THINK LESS “ME” TIME AND MORE “WE” TIME – Cultivating social connections and relationships both at work and outside of work is key to happiness and feelings of well-being. A 75-year longitudinal study done at Harvard University showed that people who had deep human connections, close relationships and bonds with others was key to happiness and well-being in their lives.
If the things I mention above seem like too much work to start, here are some super quick-hit “happiness hacks” to try:
Have a tall glass of H2O. If you’re feeling a little lethargic and cranky, you may be dehydrated. Make sure you drink water in the morning before your coffee and get a few more glasses throughout the day.
Sniff an uplifting scent. Deeply inhaling certain scents can make you feel happier. Among the top scents are citrus, peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary. Consider keeping small vials of these essential oils in your desk drawer. Even better - eat an orange or sip peppermint tea in the afternoon to give you energy.
Nibble dark chocolate. Numerous studies have clarified what most of us already know. Eating chocolate makes you happy. Nutrients found in dark chocolate can boost concentration and memory.
Find some flowers. Pick up a pretty bouquet to set on your desk at work. A Harvard University study showed that people reported being happier and more energetic after looking at flowers. Especially if displayed where you spend most of your time.
Turn on your favorite song. Listening to songs that make you feel energized can send a bad mood packing. So, have your music on hand for whenever you need to smile.
Each of us is unique. What provides joy, contentment and well-being for one person may not be the thing that gives joy and happiness for another. However, thinking about what is important to you; what creates a life for you that is happier and more satisfying does not have to elude you. It can happen. You need to think about yourself, your values, your interests, and make it a priority to incorporate joy into your day, your week, your month, your year. YOU are worth it. YOU deserve to live a life filled with happiness, joy and contentment. Commit today to taking a small action to put yourself first.
In closing, I will leave you with a quote, “Every single day do something that makes your heart sing”. (Marcia Wieder)
HAVE A GREAT WEEK!