Have you heard of the medieval practice of torturing people by being “drawn and quartered”?
This outdated technique, which was intended to inflict great amounts of pain on its victims by pulling their bodies in different directions, has long since been put to rest in dusty museums and the occasional medieval fantasy epic.
Yet, here I am.
A woman, wife, mother, and professional, who at times, feels like I am being pulled in multiple directions at once. As I juggle all the demands of life, I often find myself feeling rather overwhelmed at times.
And I am sure I am not alone.
Studies worldwide are showing a disturbing trend of growing unhappiness and depression in people. If fact, the World Health Organization now considers depression a worldwide epidemic.
While true depression needs help from a medical professional, there are obviously going to be some periods in our lives where we all feel the blues or just aren’t happy.
Here are ten tips to help you get back to your happy place
Laughter is great medicine and can boost our moods while reducing stress. Take time to laugh by talking with friends, watching funny movies, streaming a comedian’s act, or tuning into a favorite sitcom to find a few laughs. Even “forced” laughter can be beneficial.
Take a cue from Olivia Newton-John and turn up the romance in your life. You don’t need some stylin’ 1980’s fashion to make this a reality, just a little affection and cuddling. According to researchers, this is the perfect combo to score some greater feelings of happiness. So, turn the lights down low and cuddle up to your partner.
Contrary to popular belief, exercise can make us happy. Science has found people who get up and move tend to be happier than when they are still. And, you don’t have to run marathons to see this positive side effect. Gently walking and other simple movements are enough exercise to boost a person’s happiness.
Indulge in self-care
Stress and exhaustion is all work and no play. This can make us less productive, emotionally depleted, and on the verge of emotional collapse. It can also lead to insomnia, anxiety, depression, and heart disease. Set aside time to practice self-care with small daily breaks, soaking in a hot bath, driving with the windows down, listening to your favorite song, journaling, calling your mom, or doing a quick meditation so you can stay healthy and regain your mojo.
Tap into some flower power
Studies have found that being in green spaces can improve your level of happiness and there is also a strong correlation between viewing flowers and improved moods. Pick up a bouquet today or head to your local park for a little green therapy.
Surround yourself with others who are positive and optimistic
Happiness is contagious and being around others who smile at life will naturally boost your own levels of joy. Studies found a person’s group of friends can affect their happiness levels. Find friends that laugh, smile, and enjoy life.
Live in the moment
It’s no secret that life gets busy. When you are feeling overwhelmed make a conscious decision to focus solely on the moment. Don’t worry about your to-do list or what you are going to make for dinner. Enjoy the sound of your child’s laughter, feel the warmth of the sunlight on your skin, and relish this time.
Look for the silver linings
Take a little inspiration from this quote, “Every day might not be good, but there is good in every day.” Instead of getting down when things don’t go right, turn around your thoughts and look for a positive or silver lining every day. Learn how to tame negative thoughts. Practice gratitude. Surprisingly, you might start to notice there is a lot of good in your life and this will eventually lead to more positive thinking. Research has found this strategy helps with the ability to cope with stress and build resilience.
Cut the cord to social media
While social media is a great way to reconnect with friends and family, too much of a good thing can have negative effects on our happiness. Give yourself permission to step away or limit your time online to boost your happiness. Sometimes you have to disconnect to connect.
There is a wide misconception that happiness is a trait we are born with. While there is some genetic disposition to our personalities, we can control at least 40 percent of our happiness. Instead of being a victim, make a choice to be happy. Do one thing every day that makes you happy or works toward a goal. By actively pursuing happiness, you can make it a reality.
What steps have you tried from the above list?
Did they work for you?
Further reading: My friend Lauren Kinghorn of Inspiring Mompreneurs shares 7 ways to beat the housewife blues – I found it resonated with me as I work from home!