What makes you happy? What you concentrate on, expands. I know this is true, at least for me. When I concentrate on being happy and grateful, I become happier and have more appreciation for people and what my life provides.
What Makes You Happy?
I find that I can be happy about most things. Can you? I am especially happy when I'm outside, enjoying nature. What makes you happy?
Did you know there's a book by Barbara Ann Kipfer, originally published in 1989 and updated in 2014, called 14,000 Things To Be Happy About? Kipfer started keeping a list of things that made her happy as a kid and continues to add to it whenever something new makes her happy. It's really a simple list of life's pleasures, and the book as 4.5 stars on Amazon!
What really makes me happy is being healthy and helping others. I share my story in my memoir cookbook that discusses how I beat food allergies. You can pick it up on Amazon today. But don't stop there, read the rest of the article for some excellent tips.
Do You Need To Change Your Attitude?
Many years ago, a friend began posting œ100 Days of Gratitude on Facebook. Every day for 100 days, he posted a happy, thankful post. I followed his example and did it, too. At the time, I really needed to focus on gratitude because many things in my life were deteriorating, including my health and my mental attitude.
I found I enjoyed posting daily positive posts, and although I don't call it that anymore, I still focus on posting positive comments and posts. Doing this helped me concentrate on the good things in my life, and my life got better.
What Can You Do?
According to the practitioners of œpositive psychology, positivity and happiness are learned. I find that inspiring. Don't you? Abraham Lincoln is often quoted saying, "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." I wholeheartedly agree.
So, first and foremost, you can decide to be happy. Here are some other ways you can learn to be happier:
- Practice thankfulness and gratitude.
Say to yourself, œI am thankful for all that I do have, all that I have had, and all that I will have. (Thank you, Christina Kunkle!) Think of at least one thing to be grateful for each day. Consciously think about it. Write it down. Remember it.
- Be kind.
Sometimes it's difficult, but always choose the kind response. When someone is being nasty and negative, you don't have to buy in to their behavior. Ignore them. Or ask how you can help instead of responding negatively. Take a breath. Choose to be kind.
- Help others.
Look for opportunities to help your neighbors, your community, and your world. Donate to causes that help people and inspire you. But, more importantly, look for something you can personally do, such as reading to children, visiting the elderly, or bringing food to shut-ins. Giving money is good, but it doesn't feel as good as giving time to help someone, does it?
- Avoid negativity, including the news.
When you are often around negative people, they can affect your positivity. So avoid them if you can. Scroll past the negativity on social media. Never interact on a negative post; you cannot change someone's mind or position on a topic. Opposing opinions only serve to flame a fire. If the news distresses you, take a break from it. There's usually nothing you can do to solve the latest crisis. Worry and anger tend to turn inward, causing you harm. Sit back. Think of something actionable to improve the situation. Then do it.
- Take action on something that's meaningful to you.
Think of something you can do to change the world or the life of one person. Can you raise money to help flood victims? Can you collect books for distribution to children? Can you adopt a family through your church or a local organization during the holidays? Can you write letters to the editor and create awareness for sustainable energy? What's your passion?
- Learn something new.
Consider taking a positive psychology class to learn more about happiness. Or simply learn something new! Study a language; learn a new art technique; learn how to cook a new recipe; learn something that stimulates your brain! Learning keeps your mind active and engaged.
- Pay attention to the little things in life.
When you see that line of ants carrying leaves that are almost as big as they are, do you marvel about it? Do you notice the crocus popping its bud above the ground? Do you hear the children laughing? Do you smell that delicious bread as you pass by the bakery? Do you notice and appreciate it when someone puts the shopping cart back in the right place? Do you say thank you?
Take a minute to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. You have a beautiful smile. Everyone does. One thing Millenials have taught us is how to smile for the camera. Smile broadly, with your mouth open, whether you like your teeth or not. Even toothless old women look better when you can see the delight in their smiles.
And if you don't feel like smiling, do it anyway. Smiling is infectious for both the person who is smiling and the person the smile is directed at. You may have heard the saying, œFake it til you make it. It applies to smiling! Sometimes your body needs to be reminded that it can smile. So, just smile. Your brain will catch up later.
- Eat healthfully.
The food we eat affects how we feel physically and emotionally. If you aren't giving yourself lots of fruits and vegetables, good protein and healthy fats, your health and mental state will suffer.
I'm not saying you can never eat a donut or a store-bought cookie. Just don't let that be the only thing you eat. And only eat it once in a while.
Eat whole foods, those that aren't packaged and prepared for you. Read the labels. If it says anything you can't pronounce, don't eat it. Avoid as many of the empty carbs (bread, sugar, easily digested œfood) as you can. Real food doesn't need a label.
Eat your veggies raw or still a bit crisp. Eat a salad every day! Your gut needs the workout. Make your meals cooked from scratch so your body can take advantage of all the nutrients. Your body will feel better and your brain will work better.
- Move Your Body
Any kind of movement or exercise is fine. Our bodies are designed to move. If you sit at a desk all day, get up and stretch every hour. Walk around the office, stand and pace while talking on the phone, or simply fidget. Set a timer to remind yourself.
Walk, run, skate, bike, swim, do tai chi or yoga, or any kind of movement every day for 20 minutes or more. If it's cold or rainy outside, you can still do laps round your apartment. A friend of mine does this while listening to an audiobook. It prevents her from getting bored when she's exercising.
- Go outside.
Just being outside can refresh me. A few minutes outside and I am rejuvenated! Changing location from inside to outside can stimulate our creativity.
I believe fresh air is good for us. Sunshine gives our bodies natural vitamin D. Rain cleanses. Cold and snow invigorate and make your body work to produce heat. Sweat flushes out the toxins. A gentle breeze soothes. Seeing nature inspires most people and produces natural endorphins to bring us happiness.
What Will You Do Today?
Will you take the step toward happiness? Many blessings to you. Be well. Be happy. Lots of people love you.
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Nourish Your Body & Soul
I encourage you to care of yourself by eating satisfying, nourishing food that is good for your body and makes you feel healthy. Protect your spirit by living authentically, moving your body, and taking time to replenish and rest. I think you might also like these recipes & posts from Recipe Idea Shop:
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Disclaimer: The author is not a health professional or nutritionist. She is offering her research and personal reflections about her health journey and is not providing any type of medical or nutritional advice. This post is for informational purposes only. It is offered as a tool for people to discover their own suspected food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Readers are highly encouraged to read, write, and reflect on the ideas presented. Consult your healthcare professional before initiating any dietary or exercise program.
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This post was first published on Recipe Idea Shop February 14, 2022.