Our society often tells us that happiness comes from outside of ourselves…marrying Mr. or Miss Right, landing the promotion, affording a dream vacation, getting chosen for the lead in the school play or winning the championship.
However, “happiness is an inside job,” meaning that our level of happiness is more often in direct relationship to how we think about our life rather than our circumstances.
When we take charge of managing both how we think and how we take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, we will have a more positive outlook on life and better overall energy.
Below are nine tips from several Pine Rest clinicians on how to boost your outlook.
1. Start with a good night’s sleep.
Practicing good sleep hygiene causes you to awake with a brighter outlook on the day, keeps you healthy and improves your productivity.
2. Take time for yourself.
Me Time is important for your physical health as well as the health of your significant relationships, mental health and self-esteem. If you care for everyone else and fail to care for yourself, you’re headed for burn out. However you define your Me Time, it only works when you are intentional and attentive to the idea of taking time for yourself.
3. Stay connected.
Being a part of a social network provides a sense of belonging. Face-to-face interactions, such as volunteering, participating in church or community groups or getting together with a friend help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
4. Get moving.
Active exercise can improve your mood and outlook. Go for a walk or jog if you are able. Swing the golf clubs. Do whatever activities you enjoy that get you moving.
5. Reframe your day.
I used to ask my kids how their day was when they got home from school. However, I noticed that they would often only tell me negative things about their day. I now ask them, “What was the best part of your day?” This forces them to look for the highlights in their day that were previously overlooked. The more we look for positives in our lives, the more we find!
6. Remember, money buys things, not happiness.
7. Practice Forgiveness.
When we hold on to bitterness and resentments, we are only hurting ourselves. We don’t deny that we’ve been hurt and wronged, but we decide we no longer want to be bound to it. Forgiving frees us.
8. Give to Others.
Studies have shown that when we give, the reward circuit of our brains is activated leading to happier and more satisfied feelings. Studies have also shown that altruistic behaviors are associated with our ability to experience positive emotions. Therefore, giving is associated with happiness, which increases our overall well-being.
9. Remember, You Don’t Have to Do “It” Perfectly.
Instead of focusing on failed resolutions, pay attention to that wonderful deeper impulse to change. The big annual resolution is fine as a fresh start. But, give yourself the grace to start fresh each day.