Blue Monday (considered the “Most Depressing Day of the Year”) was last Monday. Most of our New Year’s resolutions have run dry, and we find ourselves back to square one. Many also experience the holiday spending hangover – the visa bill is now in. We are smack in the middle of winter, with its end nowhere in sight. People are walking around in a rut.
This morning on this week’s Global TV segment, I shared some happiness boosters to incorporate into your life. Our segment was cut short due to an interview afterward with Canada’s beloved golfer Graham DeLaet, so I have given you more below.
1. Stick To A Routine – You might think happiness comes from the spontaneous, but the newest science-based evidence suggests that man likes routine. Researchers believe that we experience calm by practicing repetitive behavior. Our daily rituals and habits serve strategies for us to manage our stress. When our world feels fast-paced and overwhelming, sometimes sticking with the old routine is a good way to maintain happiness.
2. Decrease Time On Social Media, Increase Your Time Nurturing REAL Relationships – Or as us bloggers like to call it IRL – In Real Life relationships Psychologists today are calling it Facebook Depression and Social Media Depression- seeing all your friends posting all their “wonderful” activities they are doing often leave us feeling depressed or sad about our own life. There has been a correlated link between social media and depression. So nurture your REAL LIFE relationships as a happiness booster. And cut down on social media.
3. Create your bucket list – One of my favorite exercises. To this date, my Bucket List blog post is one of our most popular, and I even encouraged Brooke Burke to write her own which she spoke about in her book and on Oprah!. http://www.modernmom.com/d2367dd4-4d59-11e3-afe0-bc764e0546c6.html Just putting the pen to paper on everything you want to accomplish in your life will send your brain positive messages. American psychologists did studies on writing about our dreams for the future, and the studies are in: writing about our dreams can actually make us happier! After writing about their dreams 20 minutes a day, after 4 days, the subjects felt immediately happier and this effect lasted for several weeks.
4. Adventurous / Risqué Activities! In every major city, there are many great places to go where you can boost your serotonin levels, your happiness hormone! Take a pole dancing class! Just trust me! Beside the benefit of this amazing workout on your body and the stimulation of serotonin production, every woman should try this. I dare you not to leave happy! Here was my pole dancing teacher and here is my experience http://womenonthefence.com/2012/08/30/jewish-girls-cant-pole-dance/. Others are boxing classes, Soul Cycle and open dance nights!
5. Move Closer To Work – Our commute to the office can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we do this twice a day, five days a week, can build up over time and have a lasting effect on our happiness. According to the research, having a long commute can leave us unhappy. We tend to try to compensate for this by having a better job or bigger house, but these compensations just don’t work. These long commutes leave little time for us to do the things we love, and the effects of traffic can dampen our happiness.
6. Get A Life! And here I mean, your OWN life – separate from your partner and your kids. Take time to discover your passion and have the courage to chase it. Here’s why: Every woman no matter her race, age, social status needs to find something to call her own to boost her happiness and self esteem. It could mean a new hobby, a new part time job, volunteering, something just for her separate from her family.
7. The 85% Rule –Most of us are stressed and unhappy simply because we are overwhelmed: we take on too much. I practice the 85% rule – I make sure 85% of my commitments are NECESSARY COMMITMENTS. That means, I have started eliminating unnecessary commitments from my schedule. It’s practicing the art of saying “no” to the things that don’t BOOST YOUR HAPPINESS.
8. Volunteer – 100 hours per year is the magical number (or two hours per week). Doing something for others and seeing results is an instant happiness booster. I just did this a few weeks ago, and it was an instant happiness booster: http://womenonthefence.com/2013/12/18/wordless-wednesday-cold/
9. Practice LIVING IN THE MOMENT – It’s a simple but powerful concept. Robin Roberts from GMA said something so powerful: “If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” That’s the way to fully live happiness.
10. Letting go of grudges – There is a great saying, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It’s a new year, time to let go of those grudges. Studies show that holding a grudge is actually bad for your health. Grudges only hold YOU back, while the other person just goes on living their life. Forgiveness is your better option for happiness.
11. Buy a full spectrum lamp and consider a Vitamin B Complex supplement to boost mood and serotonin levels (the happiness hormone). Also, remember foods like simple sugars decrease your serotonin levels – they do nothing to stimulate the ongoing production of serotonin.
12. Drink a cup of banana tea! Simply boil the banana skin in water for about 15 minutes, let it cool and then sip the water. After a two-year study, researchers from Taiwan found banana peel contains several ingredients that increase levels of serotonin, the happiness hormone.
13. This is an easy and obvious one: TAKE A DAILY WALK – But here is why I’m talking about it: the proof is in the pudding. Ladies, may I challenge you to just 20 minutes a day. Look at your brain neurons firing after just a 10 minute walk!
14. Meditate. I am grateful to have found meditation 2 years ago. Here is how: http://womenonthefence.com/2012/08/24/the-secret-to-fighting-stress-anxiety-and-overwhelm/ I challenge you to give it a try, and not to laugh. Again, more proof in the pudding.
And finally I’d love to know, what makes YOU happy? What are YOUR happiness boosters?