Finding Life’s Joys
Sometimes we realize too late that we are neglecting our own needs, and it takes a mini meltdown to get us to take self care seriously.
Take Control of Your Happiness
Life is hectic. We often have to play driver, cleaner, counselor and personal shopper for our families or for those we are closest to. It seems that every day is a race against the clock, and there is no finish line in sight. Sometimes we realize too late that we are neglecting our own needs, and it takes a mini meltdown to get us to take self care seriously. Before you throw in the towel and become a hermit, consider the following four suggestions for staying on track.
1. Take Time to Breathe
Have you ever been going about your day, taking care of business, when you suddenly realize that you have been holding your breath—and you have no idea how long you have been doing it? While it is definitely a good thing that you realized that you aren’t inhaling and exhaling normally, the fact that this is happening is a warning sign that you are not being mindful of your body’s basic needs. Since going without oxygen is not an option, it is important to nip these occurrences in the bud as soon as possible. Try to make a note of when you notice yourself holding your breath and be prepared. Tell your body to relax and focus on inhaling and exhaling. You will soon find that your breathing has become more balanced, and your mind and body are also calmer. When you are calmer, you are more receptive to the positive things in your day such as the birds singing, babies smiling, and the sun shining.
2. Get Your Juices Flowing
Exercise is known for helping to pump blood and oxygen to the muscles, enhancing their performance and development. It is also important to the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin, which is vital to your brain’s wellbeing. Boosting your serotonin levels by engaging in activities such as walking, cycling or even hiking will trigger affirmative responses and happiness. As an added bonus to taking a hike or a leisurely walk, you may see things that you wouldn’t usually notice, like the color of the leaves or the zen-like experience of watching the clouds float above you. Depending on the time of year and your locale, you may even get to stop and smell the roses. When we truly see the beauty around us, we can fully appreciate the amazing world that we live in, which can give us joy in more of the everyday things that we can take for granted.
3. Recharge Your Batteries
Do you get enough sleep? Most studies have reported that very few adults are able to get the number of hours required to repair and rejuvenate the brain and the body. A lack of quality sleep can have a negative impact on your thinking, and will drain your ability to handle stress. If you find that your shuteye time is not helping you to function properly, you may want to reevaluate your routines and your priorities. If at all possible, take advantage of national nap day to test out the sometimes alien concept of midday resting. In order to maximize the benefits, try to avoid any rigorous activity prior to sleeping, and keep the screen time to a minimum. Once you have streamlined your needs, you will notice that your sleep becomes more restful and you will awaken feeling lighter and happier.
4. Remember Your Roots
Getting nostalgic for things that we used to love can be very therapeutic. When we mature, we get so caught up in the details that we often forget what it is like to be a child and to find wonder and magic in life. We might not be able to go to the playground and spend hours on the monkey bars like we used to, but it can help even to just get out old photo albums, listen to favorite songs or to catch up with a childhood friend. Nurturing the child within is a powerful way to keep happy thoughts and a lighthearted outlook at the forefront of your behaviors. Feel young to stay young!