Seems like everyone is struggling right now. So much negativity in the world. And if you’re hormonally challenged than you’re super sensitive to the energy around you and the emotions of others.
Happiness is a state of mind, yet how to get there? Research shows that Gratitude promotes Happiness.
This spring I challenged the members of my Hormone Healing Circle to a Happiness Challenge. We followed five simple research proven practices to increase our level of happiness for a month. Of course I took the challenge with them. I always do because how can lead if not by example? .Well, I must admit that within three weeks I felt a noticeable shift in my level of happiness.
Day 21 of Happiness Challenge
It must be working. I really do feel happier. Although nothing external has changed. Business still slow. Family drama still erupting. Bad news…crazy politics…Yet…
Something within has shifted. I’m becoming more and more aware of joy. I am feeling grateful for the little things – sunshine, birdsong, smiles from strangers, stopping to chat with neighbors…nothing important yet the connection is precious. Perhaps it’s a reconnection – to my own soul.
Yesterday, I spent five hours taking my Dad to a doctor’s appointment then he had a small shopping list so we went to the pharmacy, Trader Joe’s, Target, the 99cent Store…all his favorite places. I never checked my phone. He had all my attention. We chatted and laughed and held hands. Precious.
Perhaps happiness is a perception. Joy is a greater awareness of what is right in front of us.
Here’s five things you can do every day to increase your level of happiness.
- Enhance your sense of Hope – Hopeful people are happier people. Practice being thankful for who you are and what you have to increase your hopefulness. Plus research shows that people who are more hopeful are also physically healthier. I tend to be naturally hopeful…so helping others perceive the glass as half full usually means I’m pointing out the good in a situation. Rather than waiting for the other shoe to drop, I find expecting the best to emerge from the trenches helps me feel happier.
What do you do to be hopeful?
- Reduce your Hypothalamic stress response – Thankfulness arouses your hypothalamus which as you know controls your stress response. Plus gratitude revs up the part of your brain which produces the sense of pleasure. Stress is such a big deterrent to happiness. So besides feeding my hypothalamus with my happy green drink AKA Genesis Gold®, I do whatever it takes to reduce my stress response. When I am stressed, I’m sure as heck not feeling grateful. So it makes sense that the practice of gratitude would help reverse my knee jerk stress reflex. Gotta work on this one!
What do you do to reverse your negative stress response?
- Raise your self esteem– Confidence promotes happiness. And practicing gratitude increases your sense of self esteem. I find that when I’m grateful for me – aspects of my physicality, how I handle a situation, when I don’t fall into fear based reactions – then I get braver, more confident, and happier.
What do you do to raise your self confidence?
- Keep a gratitude journal – Keeping a gratitude journal can help you experience an improved sense of wellbeing, more positive moods, and increase your resilience when bad stuff happens. I find that writing down what I’m grateful for cements the feeling into my being.
Do you record what you’re grateful for? Everyday?
- Increase your positive social behavior – Being social increases your state of happiness. Depressed people often isolate themselves. Practicing gratitude will help motivate you to display compassion and concern for others which will get you out of yourself and into positive social interactions. What I finds works really well is practicing smiling at people. Try it. Just smile at strangers. The grocery clerk. The driver next to you. Smiles are contagious!
What did you do today to have fun with others?
So, my friend, want to take the happiness challenge?