I stumbled across a blog on Mom.me called ‘7 Habits of Happy Women’. After reading it I have to agree that these habits do help promote happiness. I had learned to practice these seven habits on a regular basis. They have attributed to a fuller, happier and more satisfying life. This is how I feel I have benefited from them
1. Claiming Time for Me
As stated in Mom.me, “The point is carving out small pockets of time where it’s all about you, your thoughts and feelings.” This is absolutely necessary if you want to continue to care for others and meet all the demands of life. In order to put out the energy required you have to replenish that energy by giving to yourself. Self-care is a must! When I was a young mom I used to believe setting time aside for myself away from my family was selfish. Of course, being older and much wiser I see it is imperative to do so in order to be a better mother, wife and all around human being. As my husband states: “Happy wife, happy life!” I don’t need much to get a lot out of it. It can simply be sitting alone on the patio watching the birds in my yard, a candle-lit bath or a stroll around the neighborhood that gives me the time I need for peace and reflection. Being alone allows my mind to tell me all the things that I am usually to distracted and busy to think about such as happy memories, fabulous ideas or creative solutions. I love my me-time!
2. Being Creative
“Regularly engaging in an activity that allows you to feel in-the-flow is relaxing and uplifting”. I am naturally creative and always excited to think about or start a new project. When I hit a creative flow or zone everything seems to pour out effortlessly. It is very invigorating to me. Whether you are a chef, singer, photographer, crafter, dancer or a living-room reorganizer having the ability to envision a completed project or work of art can be very exciting. It boosts your mood, fires up your senses, and increases your motivation and energy. And the best part about being creative is looking at your finished product and appreciating your results! I love working this part of my brain. A happy brain, a happy me!
3. Learning Good Lessons From Bad Decisions
“Instead of beating ourselves up over every single thing we ever did wrong and feel bitter about, learning from our mistakes helps us raise our self-esteem and advance our personal growth.” I couldn’t agree more! We all have made a blunder or two and wish we had thought out something before we forged ahead. Quite often our mistakes put us in awkward messes but usually can be undone or corrected. They don’t often cause life-changing consequences. However, facing our mistakes does take courage and humbleness from us. Mistakes can actually increase our confidence and help us discover who we really are when we take responsibility for them. They help us grow and evolve into the person we are today and will be tomorrow. They also teach us tolerance, compassion and forgiveness of others. I no longer try to play it safe or fear making mistakes like I did when I was younger. I now believe I would have more regrets worrying about screwing up and not trying something than stumbling and fumbling through new experiences, hopes and dreams.
4. Feeling Gratitude
“When life is not going as expected, focusing on the small things can help you make it through the day.” I practice gratitude daily, if not ten times a day. It can be easy enough being that we are constantly bombarded by horrific news on the media. I always finding myself saying, “I am so lucky that is not my life.” We all hit some obstacles or get disappointing news that can affect our lives but it is seeking out that silver lining in the dark cloud that can make all the difference. My husband and I have a ritual where we make a toast at every supper meal about something that is positive in our life, even after a rough day. We try to put a positive spin on things which can be challenging but if you practice this regularly it comes more easily. People who are grateful tend to bounce back faster than those who focus on setbacks and losses. By shifting your thinking and feelings from inadequacy to thankfulness it can ease stress and boost your mood. Grateful people are more resilient, positive, happy and healthy.
5. Staying Active
“You don’t have to be a jock, simply engage in some kind of physical activity.” Our bodies are created to move and have a great need to move. Today, due to our sedentary lifestyles and on-going stress, our bodies are under-worked which is not only affecting our physical health but mental health as well. Exercise is becoming recognized for its psychological benefits as much as physical ones. Dr. Smits and Dr. Otto have written many articles on how exercise can boost your mood and re-establish positive behaviors. Their book, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, tells readers how exercise can cause the body to produce endorphins, boost energy, improve health, stabilize mood, release stress and increase self-esteem. I stay active for these reasons and not for weight-loss or calorie-burning. I understand how exercise can fire up those happy brain circuits therefore look forward to after work when I can get off my butt and get my heart-rate pumping!
6. Writing or Journaling
“Journaling daily, weekly or even monthly can help you sort out your feelings.” I write all the time but started begrudgingly at first. It seemed like a lot of work, however, once I got into it and found how really helpful it was I look forward to it. What I find really interesting is when you look back at old journals you can see your growth. Also how doom and gloom things seemed to be a couple years ago resolve itself. This is helpful when you are currently going through some rough patches. It gives you hope and confidence in dealing and managing with whatever life obstacle you are faced with today. Another important point is you may recognize your patterns of behavior that don’t seem to be working for you. It will give you good reasons to make some changes. You may not feel that writing a journal today has any significance but it certainly may have some down the road. Don’t be afraid to jot down some thoughts when you are faced with a stressful situation. Who knows, maybe someday it can turn into a good book that can help others.
“Even if all you do is sit quietly and listen to Gregorian chants or focus on an object or sound, it will quiet your mind.” I used to think meditation was a fluffy New Age thing that involved sitting in a particular upright cross-legged position and ‘finding your vibration’. I eventually realized that you can do it wherever, whenever and however as long as you were able to quiet your mind. It did take some practice and effort to stop my thoughts from fluttering from one thought to another. But once I was able to find my spot where I could really relax and forget about all the external stuff it started to only take seconds for all my mechanics to slow down. It is a personal practice and what works for one person may not work for another. I enjoy the peacefulness of it. It is like having a mini-brain vacation. I tend to use meditation when I feel wired up or anxious about something. Meditation helps me put things in perspective and gives me better ways to respond to stressful situations.
You may practice a couple of these habits without even really realizing how much they improve your outlook in life. I hope you will consider incorporating all of these little rituals into your daily life. The only one who is in the best position to look after yourself is you. I have a strong understanding that my happiness is connected to my thoughts and behavior other than the circumstances that fall upon me. These habits continue to remind me of that.