How to Be Happier in 2018

how to be happierIt’s a new year and you have almost an entire calendar of new opportunities in front of you! Whether your New Year’s Resolutions involve losing weight, saving more money, quitting smoking, or whatever, the one thing most of us would love in 2018 is…

MORE HAPPINESS!

Increased happiness has a positive impact on not only your personal and professional relationships, but also your health! And, the good news – you’re in control of your happiness! As the old adage goes –

The only person who can make you happy is yourself.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can be happier in 2018 and make this year the best one yet!

  1. Challenge Negative Thinking – We all have negative thoughts occasionally. The trick is to recognize these negative thoughts – acknowledge them – then ask yourself challenging questions about the thought, to get a more realistic perspective on the situation – then take positive actions. EXAMPLE: Despite a goal to lose weight, you put off going to the gym all week, and ate a pint of ice cream for breakfast. Negative thought – I have no willpower, and I’ll never lose weight. Acknowledge that this is a negative thought and not necessarily true. Ask yourself Is this really true? Do I really have NO willpower? Then think about it – No, you’ve had willpower in the past. In fact, maybe you lost some weight in the past, proving you CAN do it. Now, take actions to correct the issue that is causing the negative thinking. Get up and go to the gym. Start tracking your food. Have a healthy lunch and dinner. Most importantly – when you take those positive actions, pat yourself mentally on the back! Remind yourself – See! I CAN do it, when I put my mind to it!
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  2. Get Moving – Even if it’s just a 30-minute easy stroll in the evening after dinner – take some time to go out and do something every, single day. Studies have shown people are happier when they are up and moving around than when they’re simply sitting or lying down. PLUS, you get the added happy bonus of getting in sunshine (proven to improve mood)!
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  3. Start Your Day with Positive Affirmations – The SNL skit of Stuart Smalley and his, “I’m good enough; I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!” was funny – BUT has a lot of merit! When you get up in the morning, head to the bathroom and look yourself in the eye in the mirror. Tell yourself 3 positive things about yourself. You’ve now started your day off on a positive note! Now, list 3 things in your life you’re grateful for, and you’ve started your day with positivity AND gratitude!
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  4. Volunteer – There is nothing better to remind yourself how blessed you are than by helping those less fortunate. There are so many opportunities to volunteer – there truly is something for everyone! From delivering meals for Meals on Wheels, driving patients to doctor appointments for the American Cancer Society, helping out with Special Olympics, being a patient advocate for a local abuse shelter, assisting with a local animal rescue, serving meals at a homeless shelter, and SO MUCH MORE! Not only will volunteering help you realize the blessings you have in your life, but you’ll also be helping others in need! Win-Win!
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  5. Nourish Your Body & Get Sleep – If you want to be happier – start eating better. High carbohydrate (especially junk food and fast food) lead to blood sugar spikes and the inevitable crashes, which can cause you to be “hangry.” Start adding more lean protein into your diet, skip the bread and potatoes, and fill half your plate with veggies and fruit at mealtime.  Plus, make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep – going to bed just a 1/2-hour earlier can make a world of difference the next morning on your  mood!
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  6. Let it Go – Anger – Like Elsa on Frozen – let it go, when it comes to anger. If you find yourself becoming irritated by little things, take a moment and ask yourself, “Is this really worth getting upset about? Is my anger/irritation going to change the situation?” If the answer is no – LET IT GO! Remove yourself from the situation. Take a break and do something else until you no longer feel angry.
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  7. Be Happy with Good Enough – Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Here’s wishing you the HAPPIEST 2018!

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