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These tips, co-written with Angie Pagán, have been instrumental in helping me be a happier dude. I hope they help you find happiness, or at least motivate you to seek out more information and wisdom from those who have devoted their lives to helping others be happier.
Write down at least 1 gratitude per day.
Having thoughts on what you are grateful for is one thing, but physically writing them down is what can take things to the next level. Just the act of acknowledging positive things in your life can keep a positive momentum going and this is something consistent Pockitudes™ users take to heart. Just one Pockitude a day has the ability to change your whole mindset.
Meditate, even if it's just for one minute. It gets easier the more you do it.
Meditation doesn't require a fancy cushion or special equipment. Anyone has the ability to meditate, anywhere, anytime. There may be a misconception that meditation takes quite a bit of work, but in reality, meditation comes down to observing your own thoughts. If you take a moment to sit quietly and observe your thoughts from the inside, you will be in the drivers seat. You will find a sense of stillness and calm that you have the ability to access anytime, which greatly reduces stress. The more you meditate, the more likely your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) will kick in when you experience stress.
Take ten deep breaths when fear and anxiety start to overwhelm you.
Hand in hand with mediation, comes the simple act of breathing. The breath is the action that can bring both your body and mind to the present moment. A lot of the time, people find their minds wandering through the past or the present, and never quite in the moment. Taking ten deep breaths may seem like it takes forever at first, but the mental refresher and boost it will give you is better than any cup of coffee out there. This is a way to clear your mind, open your chest, and relax the nervous system. Also, it's completely free! Taking ten deep breaths in times of fear and anxiety will train your mind to associate those stressful things with relaxation, ultimately making it a less stressful situation.
Fear is here to stay so feel it, dance with it and keep on keepin' on.
Dancing with fear might seem counterintuitive at first, because most of us have the opposite reaction due to years of habit. Instead of dreading the day fear rears its ugly head in your life, understand that this is simply a part of life. Keep in mind that fear usually creeps up when life is trying to teach you something new. Instead of being paralyzed, withdrawn, or defeated, let fear be the catalyst that you dance with to bring out a stronger, better you.
You can't control the past or the future, so be mindful of the present.
One of the hardest things to do in our busy world is to be mindful of the present. However, if you make an effort to do so, it will yield great results. It is possible that living too much in the past can lead to depression, and living too much in the future can lead to anxiety. With this in mind, it only makes sense that the healthiest mental state to be in is the present! See tips 2 and 3 for specific techniques on how to implement this into your daily life.
Be with friends, play games and laugh.
Spending time doing activities with your comrades is a great way to engage and be present. When you are with your community, laughter can be downright contagious, and laugher promotes a strong sense of well-being. Whether it's music, art, or sports, sharing these things and creating a network is grounding. Don't have a community? Visit @pockitudes on social media to get engaged and start your own community!
When Fear hits you hard, go for a walk outside and change your scenery.
Often, the things that can unravel us happen with momentum. Something small may go wrong, and before we know it, the whole day has gone off the rails! Stop the snowball effect and change up what you are doing. Whether it's going for a 15 minute walk, bike ride, playing with a pet, watching a sunset, or jotting down a Pockitude, going outdoors can hit the mental re-set button you need to continue through the waves of the day. Some days, they are rougher than others, but a change of scenery is sometimes much better than trying to tough out some seriously negative feelings. After all, we are meant to be outside!
Chase a ball, run, hike, jog, swim, skip or hop. move your body!
A body in motion can help quiet the mind. Let your heart rate go up and the blood flow through your veins. We need rest and recovery, of course, but an overly-sedentary lifestyle can leave the door wide open for fear and negativity to waltz right in and make itself at home. There are so many different ways to move, there is undoubtedly one or two out there that you might connect with. Whether it's a competitive sport, or going for a walk, the most important thing is that it is a habit and hobby that has a foothold in your day to day. Instead of making you tired, you might find that your activity actually gives you energy!
Focus on what you do have and not on what you don't have.
Sometimes, life can seem like a competition. It is normal to want to keep up and have all the things life has to offer. However, focusing too much on the absence of things can start you down an unhealthy road. It can lead to an endless race to gather that next big thing, instead of enjoying all that is already here. We aren't just talking about the consumer-centric items and gear sold in stores, we mean all things, from family, friends, and joy, to health and stability. This gets down to the heart of Pockitudes™, the acknowledgement of what we have is far more powerful than that little voice that tells you what you don't have.
For many of us, happiness is a choice. Sometimes, it seems like the hardest one to make. We have a hunch that the more often you choose happiness, the more second-nature it will become. Choosing happiness can open more doors to accomplish your endeavors, and you just might bring happiness to others along the way.