Thursday, August 7, 2014

How to Be Happier

So, it has been a very long time since I last posted on "This Is Me."  About a year ago was the last time I wrote an article for my blog, and I cannot believe how much that amount of time can literally change one's life.  I have a four month old baby for one and have now transitioned into the multiple children family status.  I also learned a lot about myself, my life, and my views of the world.  There were so many topics I could have written about upon my return to the blogging world, but this is what I chose:  How to Be Happy!

My degree is in Psychology, and I love the study of human behavior; however, I always had one complaint about this particular area of social sciences:  Most of the focus is on what is wrong with individuals and all the disorders that affect people.  There is so much more to our lives than what we need to fix about ourselves, and we should think about being happy as we are and with what we have.

This past year I took a hiatus from my blog and went through some life changing events.  Emotionally, all of these experiences were different, some good and some bad.  There are some very tragic parts of my life that never seem to completely resolve, and I am constantly needing to figure out ways to deal based on my current situation.  However, I am a very happy and positive person.  My life is well balanced, and I enjoy myself every day.  I often wonder, what is it about me that allows for happiness as a general and abundant feeling throughout my adult life?  If I were a drug addict or an alcoholic, I could very well use my circumstances as an excuse, and I am certain everyone would forgive my actions based on causation.

My own personal experiences led me to believe that happiness is mostly choice.  I do understand and know that tragic circumstances cause stress and unhappy feelings, we are human beings with an array of emotions.  I am describing a general feeling of happiness as an overall affect.

So, this blog is to everyone reading who wonders how to be happier.

1.  Have an emotional outlet ready and available somewhere in your home.
I have a jigsaw puzzle set out on a card table in the corner of my dining room.  Whenever the stresses are high, rather than immediately react, I zone out for one minute and concentrate on my puzzle.  When that minute is over, I return to the situation.  By then I am calmer, the situation is calmer, and everything seems less intense.  Whatever you choose as the outlet, whether it be a magazine, puzzle, or calming music; leave it somewhere in sight and easily accessible.
2.  Do some sort of physical activity every day.  
I know that you have read this a million times in every article, but I live by it.  Whatever it is that you enjoy physically, set aside time each day to do it.  Walking, dancing, gardening, kickboxing, yoga, tennis, and so on are vital to mood stability, overall health, and for personal pleasure and feelings of accomplishment.
3.  Eat a balanced diet.
Yes, again, I know you know.  But I cannot stress how much different it feels to eat a well balanced diet full of nutritious foods over a meal plan consisting of fast foods, processed foods, or omitting food groups.
4.  Make time to do what you love.
Our day to day lives get super busy, and it is difficult to find time to do what you need to do let alone partake in pleasurable activities.  Yet, you only live once.  When else do you plan on reading a good book, playing a game with your friend, or enjoying a good bottle of wine?  Make time at least once a week to do something just for fun.
5.  Focus on the positive.
The other day I told my husband that that particular day home with the two kids was exactly like a comedic movie on parenting, except that in real life it was not that funny.  Although my day was filled with ridiculous episodes, I had pleasurable moments.  Those are the moments I CHOSE to take with me at the end of that day.
6.  Surround yourself with people who make you feel good.
This one is a bit complex, being that you do not always have complete control over the people you need to interact with on a day to day basis.  Yet, I make a very big effort to spend my time with people who have a positive impact on me.  I focus my close relationships on those who do not add stress to my life, and when I converse with these people, I leave the conversation feeling good.

So, yes, to some degree, being a happy person takes some effort.  You need to figure out things in each of the above categories that apply to you personally, then attempt to add/remove things from your life.  I suggest these ideas because I live by them, and they help me create happy and enjoyable days for myself.  I hope you can take something out of this entry and use it to make your own life happier!

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