Create happiness and better days with these 5 simple tips

Create happiness and better days with these 5 simple tips

Check out this nice article from the Huffington Post

by Polly Campbell

Life is going to throw us some challenges, no doubt about it. My mom used to call them character-building experiences. Apparently, I don't have enough character because this stuff keeps coming my way, but I have a kind of first-aid kit now, a spiritual salve I can lather on every day that makes it easier to cope with the difficult times and amps up the good feelings when everything going easy.

Best thing is, this salve is easy to apply and can be used right smack-dab in the middle of your day.

The Five Ingredients to Make a Better Day

1. Gratitude. This spiritual practice is a fan favorite. Why? Because it is so easy to do and it is transformative. Research by Robert Emmons and other psychologists also indicates that a regular gratitude practice helps us manage stress, make good on our goals and feel better.

To begin your gratitude practice, set a time (I like to do this first thing in the a.m., at lunchtime and before bed) to name five things you are grateful for. I do it aloud in the morning and then make a list on paper before I go to bed.

After saying or writing each item, take a deep breath, allow the feelings of gratitude to well up, then then say "thank you."

That's it.

Another way to fire up your gratitude during the day is to stop and notice those who help you — the teller at the bank, the bus driver, school secretary, hairstylist, kids, partner, whoever. Pause, look in their eyes and offer a sincere "thank you." Not only will you feel good, but you will change their day, too.

2. Cultivate grounded optimism. Even if you are prone toward more pessimistic thinking, you can behave optimistically. Grounded optimists are willing to adapt and change their goals as needed to overcome challenges. They aren't delusional — they know trouble is going to come — but they are willing to work to offset the difficulty. This helps them to bounce back and persist even after setbacks. The belief that they can make a positive difference in the situation and their willingness to work hard to do so is motivating and often leads to creative solutions, innovation and even positive moods. So, next time you're feeling down, take one teeny-tiny optimistic action and see if it doesn't inspire some movement through the muck.

3. Move it. Exercise has long been shown to ease stress and leave you feeling better, but posture and physiological shifts can also change your biochemistry and improve your mood.

So, smile, even if you have to fake it. Several studies — by researchers including Robert Zajonc in the '80s and '90s and another published in the journal Psychological Science last year — indicate that a smile (even a fake, contrived one) can actually induce happiness and reduce stress. Give yourself a grin or simply repeat the long "e" sound, which will move your facial muscles into smile formation, and you'll feel better…

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