Happy Mind, Happy Life!
7 Simple Steps to train your mind to release worries, get a fresh perspective, and feel happier
There I was, in the grocery store about to just all-out lose it and start bawling my eyes out. If happiness is a state of mind, I was NOT in it! They were out of the only milk my daughter could drink and it was the fifth store I had been to. I had a hell of a day that just seemed to be one wrong thing after another. I ripped my pants on the way to work, I stapled them just to have them rip again, had to have a conversation about appropriate work attire with my boss (like I wanted to come to work with the crotch of my pants ripped), slammed my hand into the refrigerator door at lunch, hit my knee on my desk (repeatedly), our computer systems were on the fritz all day, our supervisors were upset work wasn’t getting done, and now this.
We’ve all been there. All of us have had similar days where happiness was not our state of mind. Yeah, looking back now, it seems silly that I was so upset. Was it really about the day I had or the milk and the extra stores I went to in order to find it? Usually, I find the icing on the cake is just that- the icing. What’s the cake? Well, let’s talk about some steps to help figure that out and bring us back to that happiness state of mind!
How are you feeling? Labeling your feelings allows emotional processing to start, which also helps you start feeling better! Also, this leads to the why of the feeling. Once you label the feeling, your brain will automatically go to, “why?” Happiness is a state of mind, but why aren’t we happy and how can we get ourselves back there?
Inhale slowly for 5 counts and relax your muscles, starting from the face and moving your way down as you exhale for 5 counts. Do this for 30 seconds. Let your stomach expand and shrink with each breath. This saves me just about every time those tears seem to want to fall. Not that it’s bad to cry; it isn’t! It’s great to cry and get your feelings out, but maybe not in a public place, or work. This is for those times you absolutely need to get it together because it isn’t the time, or place. A place that is safe to release emotions is better and if you need help to make it there, this is for you!
3-Write and let go
De-clutter your mind. Release any thoughts and feelings by writing down the first thing that comes to mind. What are you feeling right now? Why? This can be difficult at first. I does feel odd. I remember the first time I did this. I wrote, “this is weird. I don’t know how this is supposed to help me. Seems kind of silly to think writing a bunch of random thoughts is going to help me gain control of them and process them better.” You know what though… It sure as heck did! I just started writing up a storm. I wrote it all! Every single thing I was feeling. I yelled at people who were making me angry in my journal and I was able to understand why I was really angry with them and work out ways to stand up for myself in a constructive manner.
4-Reframe with gratitude
Redirect your thoughts. What do you have to be thankful for? What parts of your life are great? What are you grateful to have/done/be? Reframing with gratitude will literally change your chemistry! No joke! When you think of things you are grateful for, good things in your life, or things that make you happy, you send signals to your brain to release endorphins and feel-good hormones! That’s right, mind over body is an actual thing and I use it constantly. Not only that, but you are putting happy energy out there. You will get back what you give. If you put out that you are having a crappy day (as I did the day in the intro) it will ripple. More unfortunate events will occur. More things you don’t want will happen because you are thinking of all the bad things you don’t want. Think of all the good things you want. Call that love bunny to your energy field! Get that raise by knowing you’re a boss babe at work! Get that exciting night life you’ve always wanted! You are the captain of your ship! Take control of where it’s going and let’s get those happy hormones flowing!
This is when we get that Zen on! Stop what you are doing for a few minutes and play! Candy Crush? Solitaire? Is music your thing? Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you love! It’s pointless otherwise. Love it or leave it! If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it!
That’s right! I’m not sure you’re going to like this one. It takes the most change and growth out of all of these… Let’s release that dopamine, y’all! Pick one or come up with your own:
- Forgive someone and let go of the baggage
- What would you tell a friend if they were feeling like you right now? This is a go-to for me. I give great advice and I’m so logical and level-headed about it, but… when it’s me… not so much… so, I imagine I’m talking to a friend and I will write, or say, whatever it is I’d tell my friend in that situation. I suggest you try this at least a couple of times. You get better the more you practice, as with anything else.
- Let someone know you appreciate them. Do this frequently anyways. Don’t wait until you want to help yourself. Do this because it makes others feel good and your dopamine release is just the bonus. We all want to feel appreciated, loved, and accepted. Let’s work on doing that for those around us!
- Have self-care time. This is different for different people. If you need ideas on what are something you can do, besides the stereotypical bath bombs and such, read THIS article. Basics are to do what YOU want and need. Forget what everyone else wants and focus on YOU! You can’t refill everyone else’s tank if yours is empty!
7-Good vibes, baby!
No matter how we feel, we always have the power to make someone else feel happy. Big plus is that studies have actually found those who think of others the most were the happiest overall.
So… what does all of this mean? Basically, change your mindset. A happy mind brings about a happy life and isn’t that what we all really want anyways? It’s not the American dream we want anymore. We all just want to be happy and it’s not a bad goal to have. We just have to figure out what gets us there! I invite you all to comment and share what makes you happy and/or how you think this article will help you do that! I’d love to hear from you all!