Everyone wants to be healthy, and most people would like to be happy.
But does being happy make you healthier or does being healthy make you happier?
While this question may be difficult to answer, the two do seem to go hand in hand.
Power in positive thinking
Happy people have a positive outlook on life. Even when faced with difficult obstacles such as divorce or job loss, optimistic individuals always see the bright side. Having a positive attitude certainly makes it easier to move forward in the face of adversity, but it’s also believed to have an effect on physical wellness, as optimists seem to become ill less often than pessimists.
Food for your mood
It’s no secret that what you eat can affect your health. Consuming too many processed foods that are full of saturated fat, salt and sugar can lead to chronic problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. An unhealthy diet can also impact your energy levels and ability to focus. It’s hard to be in a good mood when you’re feeling tired and having trouble concentrating.
However, some foods can have a positive effect. Eating a balanced diet full of fresh, unprocessed foods can help you get the healthy fats, vitamins and minerals you need. This will also help keep your energy levels more stable throughout the day, making drastic mood swings less likely.
Sleep it off
It may seem obvious that not getting enough sleep could impact your mood. But many people don’t get adequate rest on a regular basis. While missing a few hours here and there may not have dire consequences, not getting enough sleep for an extended period of time can also affect your health.
Slow things down
We’re all guilty of it. We zip through life, trying to check things off of our “to do” lists that only seem to get longer every day. Repeating this behavior on a daily basis simply leads to frustration and dissatisfaction. For an instant boost in happiness, slow down and appreciate the little things life has to offer.
The good kind of contagious
A little kindness can go a long way when it comes to making someone else’s day. But it can actually make you feel happier too. The next time you go out for your coffee, let that person that looks a little frazzled go ahead of you in line or put a little extra in the tip jar on the counter. When you get to work, offer a friendly greeting to the first person you see, and maybe compliment a coworker on their new shoes or haircut. But don’t be surprised when you suddenly find yourself in a good mood.
Getting to a state of happiness and contentment can prove to be challenging for some people. Remaining in that state for any length of time sometimes feels near impossible. While many people happily cite that they are content with themselves and their stations in life, a vast number of us are seemingly on a never ending journey to do better, be better and have more.
There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement and being the best you can be. But by always focusing on obtaining and acquiring more, we are unable to truly appreciate what we already have; and let’s face it: keeping up with the Joneses is exhausting. I think it’s important for our well-being that we appreciate who we are and where we are in life right now.
While some of the responsibility of wanting bigger and better resides within us, we aren’t solely to blame. In a time where the media outlets constantly and aggressively shower us with celebrities who have mega-million dollar mansions, model like partners and ridiculously toned physiques, unless you don’t own a television, ever turn on the radio or submit to not looking at any magazine cover, you are subjected to a daily dose of ‘perfection’ whether you like it or not.
Couple that with the social media and stigmas attached to it and the words “epic fail” will inevitably come to mind from time to time. We constantly subject ourselves to a barrage of friends, family and co-workers’ status updates which include engagements, job promotions and Caribbean getaways (complete with magical pictures)all of which may cause us to step back and examine our own lives. Then the questioning begins. Am I in a good place? Is my job good enough? Will I ever get that promotion? How does he or she stay so thin? When will I find the perfect partner?
Soon enough the panic can set in and the inferiority complex begins. This is damaging not only to one’s physical health but also influences our emotional states. It promotes depression and stress not to mention it may elicit an unhealthy and unnatural need to engage in unhealthy behaviors and unrealistic expectations.
What we need to be focusing on and developing is the fine art of self-worth and reframe the entire idea of the pursuit of happiness. Set aside for a moment the idea of the “American dream” and let go of any and all preconceptions of what brings us happiness. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to improve in areas of one’s life, balance must occur. After all, in order to achieve more, you first have to be content with what you already have.
Stop the Comparisons
The first exercise anyone will need to practice to be happier with themselves and appreciate what they have is to stop negative behaviors. One of those behaviors is stacking yourself and your assets up to those around you. There will always be someone better looking. There will always be someone wealthier. This is a fact of life. Trying to change this will only bring about exhaustion and frustration. This is especially true when we compare our lives to those of celebrities.
Believe it or not, celebrities do not wake up looking any more fabulous than you do. However, they do have a lot of resources to help them look amazing. Surrounding themselves with a flurry of nutritionists, trainers, beauticians and stylists, it may appear that they step on to the red carpet in a flawless manner. The truth is, they spend a lot of money and time to attain that ‘flawless perfection.’ This is time and money the general population doesn’t have.
The time spent comparing what you look like or how much you have to others should be spent focusing on what you have and how you can possibly improve or build upon your individual foundation. If you aren’t happy with your weight, work towards changing it. Join a San Jose health club, or consider joining our boot camps in Campbell, San Jose and Los Gatos. Write your own script and amass your own goals that are not based on anyone else.
Choosing to concentrate on the abundance in your life will help shift your focus and make you happier. Keep in mind that it also comes in many forms–it’s not just about money or good looks. Abundance takes many forms. What are you grateful for in your life? Write down what you are thankful for. Perhaps it’s friends, your children, your job, your health or your significant other. There’s YOUR abundance right there.
Work on Yourself from the Inside Out
A solid foundation is key to happiness. Instead of focusing on others, focus on yourself. Take whatever talents you have and emphasize them or use them in a different capacity than you are currently using them. Using your talents to benefit or help others is one of the best ways to increase your happiness. Most of us get joy out of helping others.
Are you a great dancer? Volunteer to teach the elderly a few steps or work in an impoverished community. Perhaps you have artistic skills? Volunteer those skills and a few hours of your time to others who wish to learn how to draw. While you are teaching others, you are also empowering yourself and this is important when beginning your journey in the pursuit of happiness.
Feeling happier and more fulfilled in your life is within your reach!