How To Spring Into Happiness Even When You Really Don’t Feel It
It can sometimes be easier to put on a smile than to let people know how you really feel on the inside. As someone that’s suffered from depression, I can honestly say that those feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and despair have all gone for good. When I smile now, it’s a genuine smile, from the inside out.
So how can you be genuinely happy so that all the atoms in your body are just as happy as the smile you are portraying on your face? Here are some of my simple go-to techniques that you can use to help turn those sappy sad cells to hippity happy cells.
1. Eat healthily
Ok, I know, every health guru out there will tell you to smarten up your diet but I’m here to tell you it works. I’m not saying, never eat a chocolate bar again, or enjoy a glass of red with dinner, but for the most part, on most days look at what you eat. Tune in to what your body is really craving. Feel how it feels to eat a healthy turkey breast salad sandwich versus a bucket of hot chips. Sometimes we feel we need the comfort food, so do it. Have the chocolate bar, or the burger. But make this the exception and not the rule. Also take notice how you feel the day after you consume foods and drinks. I have found that when I used to drink an energy drink I would be angry and depleted the day after.
I can’t very well mention eating healthy if I don’t also mention exercise. You probably already know that exercise increases the happy, feel good hormones in our body. The buzz you get after doing a work out at the gym or after you go for a walk around the block can last for hours. Find what you love to do. If it’s going hard at the gym in a cardio class or hitting the weights hard, do it. If that’s not your scene, yoga is a great way to strengthen the mind and the body and help with flexibility. If time and money are issues, it doesn’t cost a thing to walk around the block. Take in the fresh air, and feel the wind on your face. There is something therapeutic about getting in touch with Mother Earth so use this time to really connect with nature around you.
This doesn’t mean sitting around chanting OM while you are in the lotus position. It merely means calming your mind for a period of time. There are many different types of meditations out there. There are those that focus on breathing, or some that are just musical and work on getting deeper into your brain. And then there’s the guided meditation that pretty much any one can do. It’s probably the easiest one to start with as they can take you on a journey and as you are listening to someone constantly if your mind does wonder, you can easily bring yourself back into the meditation by tuning in to the voice. Oprah and Deepak do a free 21 day meditation challenge from time to time. Just google it and give it a try!
4. Random acts of kindness
There are so many studies out there on the benefits of giving. Even the person witnessing the giving can get a buzz. Next time you are out in the shops or at work keep an eye out for someone that needs a hand. It can be as simple as a genuine smile that can make another person feel validated or keeping a door open for someone with a pram.
5. Take a bath
OK, so not everyone loves taking a bath, but for me it’s a weekly must. No matter how stressful the week has been or how exhausted I am, having a bath helps me recharge and refocus my energies. You can take a good book in with you if like, you can meditate, or you can just relax and think things over. Add a few drops of your favourite oils, dim the lights or light some candles, lock the door grab a cup of relaxing tea (or a glass of wine!) and you’re good to go. Lie back and just relax.
6. Write a gratitude journal
It’s important to appreciate the good things we already have in life. There is always someone out there that is worse than us, so spending some time each day reflecting on what we do have can make you realise just how lucky you are. Just having a roof over your head protecting you from the outdoor elements is something to be grateful for, but I’m sure there are many more things if you really look. Your loving partner, kids or pet. Your warm bed or your friends. Your job that helps to pay the bills and feed you. Sometimes we need to just open our eyes at what we have to appreciate it all.
7. Use aromatherapy
I love essential oils and I have for as long as I can remember. Not only do they wonders on our skin, but the emotional benefits are far too great to list in this article alone. The key is to find one that you like and then have it around. You can diffuse it through the air, make a spray or possibly even wear it as a perfume. Smell is strongly linked to memory so try to find an oil that brings back happy memories.
8. Play games with the kids or just do some good old fashion colouring
There’s nothing better than having a good laugh. And let’s face it, kids are non-judgemental and just loving acting silly and having fun. If you have kids or can borrow some from a friend, play some games with them. Watch their face light up at the simplest things. If you can’t find any kids to play with, try colouring in or drawing. I’ve recently heard of adult colouring books available on the internet (no, not the X rated ones!!!) colour and art are a great way to help us get in touch with our inner child and happiness.
9. Turn off all electronics by 7pm
Not only is the light from tablets, phones and computers not conducive to a good night’s sleep, it can also make us feel agitated if we were to read something online before bed. Seeing something on social media that upsets you or reading an email that stresses you out is the last thing you need just before going to be… so turn off all electronics!
10. See a Kinesiologist
It would be remise of me not to mention kinesiology as I am a Kinesiologist. But I also know the powerful techniques a Kinesiologist can use to help you figure out why you are feeling sad. Sometimes it’s not the obvious and through muscle monitoring we can figure out together what the underlying issues are.
This means forgiving yourself for all the negative emotions, and forgiving others. People around you don’t always know what you are going through, or how to deal with your moods. Forgive them and yourself! Holding onto blame and anger only makes the depression last longer. Let it all go.
Be true to yourself. Be the person you really want to be and hang out with the people you really want to hang out with. Don’t pretend for anyone. Once we get in touch with who we truly are, the skies the limit!
Which of these 12 tips do you already do, and which ones are you going to try out this week, now that you’ve read this?! I want to hear what’s holding you back or your plan for happiness in the comments below.
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This article is part of the 2015 ‘Spring Into Wellbeing’ Hub: Check it out for expert health and wellbeing tips, guides and advice from Australia’s leading wellbeing experts – inspiring and empowering you to unlock the path to true wellness this Spring.