Spread the Joy: Happiness Tips
1. Find a church that you connect with.
My journey of faith has been long with some ups and downs, but recently I found a church that is the essence of everything I could hope for in a church. The worship music is amazing and the people seem to be young, open, and faith-filled. I ENJOY going every week. It doesn't bother me to wake up early on Sunday morning to attend the service. I love the class I am taking through the church about getting to know your strengths (more on this to come). I just finally found a place where I can grow in my spirituality without dealing with some of the politics and pressures that some churches are known for.
NOTE: This tip is one that I found worked for me. However, if you aren't religious, this can be just as easily worked into your happiness project with finding a gym, yoga class, art studio, chair to sit in, room to be in, it doesn't have to be a place or worship, but just a place that you can escape to that you connect with.
2. Write in a journal.
I don't always write, but when I do, I feel so much better. Sometimes we have ideas, thoughts, feelings that we don't feel comfortable sharing with those we are close to. I know that I deal with some thoughts that no one wants to hear about. Some are just silly, some are things I find sad, and sometimes I am not ready to share them with anyone. So I carry a small notebook with me and write things when the mood strikes. This isn't every day, but I do it often. I find it's easier to share how I am feeling when I just empty my brain about it, I write and write and write. Then I can finally see the forest through the trees. There are people who write every single day, and that just isn't me. I like to give myself the freedom to write when I am moved to.
It doesn't matter what you read. It just matters that you do it. I know there are some people out there who hate reading books, they only look at magazines. That's fine. What I find more important about this tip is to simply unplug. Give your brain and eyes a rest from the television, your phone, iPad, tablet, computer, and allow yourself that time without technology. I have yet to jump on the e-reader band wagon, so I still go to the library and spend hours picking out books. I love the smell and feel of a real book in my hands. It's important to me to have that weight in my hands and feel the accomplishment as I turn the page. I have started doing this before bed and it has made a world of difference. I sleep better, I wake up feeling more rested. There is a lot to be said about relaxing before sleeping.
Speaking of sleeping, I love to sleep. I love to read and I love to sleep. So whenever I get a free afternoon on a Saturday, I will lay in my bed on top of the covers and allow myself to rest. It is one of my favorite things to do. I have read that ever since the light bulb was invented, humans have been sleep deprived. I find this interesting, because I can't remember a time when I wasn't a little bit tired. However, I also have this gift. One of those stupid super powers people have, like always being able to find a great parking spot, or cooking eggs perfectly, every time without fail. Mine is that I can fall asleep almost instantly: anywhere, any time of day. I could sleep for twelve hours, wake up and fall asleep for a nap later in the day. It's a gift, and I like to take full advantage. Plus, after a nap, I always feel so much better, rested, revived, and I feel more ready for whatever comes next.
5. Challenge yourself.
I know that we all set up challenges for ourselves. And with the New Year having just passed, there is a lot to be said about New Years Resolutions. However, I think that sometimes, in the spirit of a Fresh Year and a Fresh Start, we all get a little ambitious with our resolutions. We think that a New Year means we can start anything and everything. I say 'we' because I am exactly the same way! I find it so hard to do any large changes when it isn't a New Year, New Month, or New Week. It seems so strange to me to start a challenge on a Thursday. However, I think that whenever we need to make a change, or want to make a change, we should do it. Something that makes me so happy is challenging myself and succeeding. It makes you feel so accomplished. So I like to challenge myself to not eat any candy for a week. And when I make it through the challenge, I reward myself with a little something. And that can make you feel so happy. When we look are large goals, it seems like it is so hard to see the little successes in between. "I want to lose 30 pounds." That can seem a little intimidating, so make it smaller challenges and you will be so happy with the results. An example would be: for the first 5 pounds lost, I will reward myself with a pedicure, when I love half of that, I will reward myself with new shoes, when I lose all of it, I will reward myself with a full body massage. Its the little success that make me happy, but they can't be success without a little challenge.