25 November 2021
What makes life interesting is that we are each unique. Different things make us happy and satisfied. Habits become ingrained, both good and bad. Here are some suggestions about how to move toward a positive attitude. Not all will work for you or even get you to where you want to be. Pick and choose what you like and see if it improves your attitude and lifestyle. If not, move on to something else.
Smile – Even if you don’t really feel it, try to create an honest smile and use it on the barista when you order your morning coffee. When you take a final look at yourself in the mirror before you leave home, smile at yourself in the mirror. Smiling will let the brain release dopamine, which leads to a happier feeling.
Exercise – Even a small amount of activity can make a difference. You don’t need to buy a lot of gear, just take the long way back from the restroom to your desk. Stroll around the block after dinner. Don’t overexert or overwhelm yourself. It isn’t worth it. Resurrect a hobby you used to enjoy or take an introductory class at a community center.
Food Choices – Carbohydrates release serotonin, a hormone that makes you feel good. Try complex carbs like vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Lean meat, poultry, and dairy release dopamine and norepinephrine for energy and concentration. Deep-fried and highly processed foods can leave you feeling glum.
Acknowledge Unhappiness – You are not always going to be at the top of your game. Allow yourself to be unhappy but try to avoid wallowing. Give yourself some time to process and then move forward.
Declutter – Set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes and use that time to tidy up a room or space. If you watch live tv, use the commercial time to take the laundry to the washer and sort it for the next load. Pull out the junk drawer and see what you can do to organize it even a little.
Explore Mindfulness – Unplug your phone and focus on the world around you. Listen to the birds or watch the wind move through the trees. Take a walk. Volunteer at a pet shelter. Take five minutes or an hour.
Self Care – Find a ritual. For some it is a Friday night bubble bath. Maybe it is sitting on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn and binge watching a guilty pleasure. Whatever, just try to make it a routine.
Treat Yourself – Just because you don’t have a pal to go out with, do it solo.
Lists – Instead of a to-do list, make a “done” list. Or, write out happy memories.
Reflect – If you are still down in the dumps, think about speaking with your primary care physician. Find the accomplishments, even if it is only surviving the year.
Goals – Whether it is the world around us, family issues, or your own attitude, goals will change over time. Let go of what you don’t want or need and replace them with positives.
There are many more steps you can take toward a happier life. Find what is right for you and move forward.