8 Healthy Habits That Create Happiness!
I think of myself as an active, fit, and healthy person. Still, sometimes – especially in winter – I can’t seem to peel myself off the couch. There is an immense inner weight inside of myself, my soul, my heart, that I cannot seem to lose. “It’s too cold” I hear myself say. “It gets dark so early, better do it tomorrow”. Day by day the same excuses. I feel constantly tired, sad, and without energy.
You know, most of these things aren’t really obstacles. Only your brain is one! And you can trick your brain into believing anything you want. True story!
They say that it takes us 21 days to form or change a habit. Here are a few tricks that I found are totally working for me to live a more conscious, healthy and happy life. Show the winter blues who’s the boss!!
If you believe in it or not – give yourself 21 days – three weeks – and see if you feel a difference. I definitely did!
1. Talk to yourself!
Sounds funny – but I do it all the time! You finally got off your butt and ran those 5k? Congrats! And you know it felt good, right? Every time I come back from a nightly run I look into the mirror & see my cheeks glow, my eyes sparkle, and my brain explode with ideas! And then I say to myself “Running was a great idea!” or “I feel so amazing, I have to remember that the next time when I hesitate!” Sounds silly, but your brain remembers the words you *hear* way more than the words you *think*. Because your brain handles a lot of information on a daily basis, but if you connect an amazing feeling with spoken words, your brain will remember the next time you can’t seem to get off the couch that “running is a great idea!”
2. Talk to your friends
It’s always good to talk to your friends if you have a downer, or feel unmotivated. But try to now rely on their opinion or help alone – did you know that you have already the answers to everything inside yourself? Totally true! Maybe it’s not the magical answer to all questions in the universe, but that little voice inside you knows which way to go! Just listen to it! How?
Listen to yourself when you talk. What is it that you talk about mostly when you’re down? What is it that you can’t seem to stop thinking about? Whatever it is – this is what you need to be working on. If you complain that you need a vacation, book one! Or do a road trip. Or that weekend in Portland. Complain about your job a lot? Change it! Search for new opportunities, get better education, take night classes, there is so much you can do! The first step is knowing what it is that makes you unhappy – then you alone have the power to change it!
3. Be grateful & smile
A friend of mine told me this idea and it helped me to live every day as consciously as possible. Every morning, write on a piece of paper what you’re grateful for. That can be one thing, or ten. That can be the same than yesterday, or something new. Then read it out aloud (see paragraph 1). Think about it and smile for ten seconds. Even if it’s a fake smile, but the muscles in your face will simulate happiness in your brain and after 10 seconds it will get the actual feeling, and connect it to the reason you’re grateful. So much happiness! Try it!!
4. Be with nature
This one is a no brainer. Every time I feel down, or trapped in a job or a situation, I go outside. Road trip, running, a hike in the woods, anything works. The fresh air in your lungs and on your skin will make you release tension and that oxygen clears out your blood. Take some deep breaths! If you don’t have much opportunity to go into the wild, get some plants for your desk. Collect little rocks and pile them onto a tray. Fir cones work as well. Anything natural surrounding you will help you to find a balance to the hectic life with technology, computers, and other electronics. I have a little buddhist pine tree on my desk which I named Baloo.
5. Listen to music
Big thing on my list! I believe that the right music can make everything better. Dance to it. Yell the lyrics! Throw your arms into the air! Look silly! Sometimes, I turn it up full volume so the neighbors don’t hear me sing to it. I just found out they still do (sorry Andrew lol), but oh well. Music relieves. This can be your angry punkrock song, the happy ska tune, some classic rock for more power, or actual classic music – whatever makes you feel good. Sometimes it’s good to just get emotions out. Make yourself some playlist in iTunes for each mood: uplifting music, calm sounds, and happy tunes. Then play it while making dinner, working out, or just doing simple house work. It’s the best thing ever!!!
6. Make lists
If you’re like me and you’re constantly thinking – and worrying – about any little detail of your life, make lists so you don’t have to carry those thoughts around with you anymore. Once they are written on a piece of paper set a realistic deadline to it, so it’s out of your mind for right now. Tomorrow, or next week, you can get back to it and take some time to resolve the problems, tackle those issues, or run those errands. Important is that you set a goal and a timeline, then you have your thoughts and worries sorted & can sleep, work, or relax better.
6. Eat well
Everyone knows how great pizza tastes. And there’s nothing wrong with a little pizza here and there. Just when you think you’d like to lose those 10 pounds, or feel a bit fitter, go and surround yourself with as much fruit and vegetables as you can. Instead of white rice, buy brown rice, whole wheat pasta and bread. Carbs aren’t bad, you just have to eat the right ones. Make at least 1/2 of your meal veggies, then protein. Carbs are last, but they aren’t totally bad for you.
Eat at least 3 meals per day, start with a big breakfast with lots of protein and less sugar. I fry kale in a table spoon full of coconut oil every morning, some cottage cheese, maybe an egg or two. One slice of pumpernickel bread, hemp seeds and a piece of fruit with yogurt. You’ll feel amazing!!!
7. Get rid of clutter
I’m not a clean freak, but a clutter-free house makes me relaxed and happy. I always make my bed in the morning, so it looks super fluffy and inviting when I’m dead tired in the evening. I always wash my dishes before I go to bed, so in the morning my kitchen is clean & clutter-free. Believe me, the coffee tastes twice as good with the countertops free and sparkly clean, just the right condition to make the best breakfast ever!
A plant or flower on your desk (see paragraph 4) with lots of space to work – perfect!
8. Night time rituals
I admit it, as a workaholic I am having a hard time going to bed, and falling asleep. A few routines helped me intensely to get back to my healthy sleep pattern, which makes me wake up relaxed and well rested:
Turn off your cell phone! Or, my boyfriend turns his cell phone into airplane mode – it saves battery and you won’t get any notifications or calls during the night or early morning. But seriously, just turn it off!
Do some relaxing yoga. It is an amazing feeling to stretch the entire body after a long work day. You’ll feel the weight of the day lift off your body! You will feel the blood running through your veins and each muscle will relax, as will your mind. I’ll post my favorite routine here soon. I never had a better sleep!
Open a window. Breathing crisp night time air throughout the night will make you wake up fresh and rejuvenated. Have you ever gone camping? How amazing does it feel to wake up surrounded by nature, fresh air, and the smell of morning dew?!
Read a book the last 30-60 minutes before you go to bed. No phone & no computer! The bright artificial light from the screens will make your brain think it’s still daytime. Rather light a nice scented candle or switch on a little dim lamp. My reading sessions only last 10 minutes recently, and I drift peacefully to sleep!
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These are my top eight favorite ways to trick my brain into happiness, which will result in sincere happiness. Give it a try, I bet you will be surprised how well it works! Remember, give it some time, especially if it’s a drastic change to your current habits. Why don’t you give it 21 days? And always keep in mind: you are strong enough to choose happiness over the darn winter blues! Good luck!