One of my favorite things to do is read. There is nothing better than being submerged in words and the thoughts and feelings that arise from them. Before I started the MMA-MK course I sat aside 30 minutes Monday through Friday mornings and 60 minutes on Saturday and Sunday mornings to read – chapters in a book, scripture, a monthly magazine. I haven’t had much time to do that since October. Sadly, it’s one of the things that I’ve given up, for the time being. I keep telling myself it’s for a greater good.
But this past weekend I saw a little light at the end of the to do tunnel. I spent 2 glorious hours reading on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. I was (and am) a happy girl.
I just had to share one of the articles I came across in Good Housekeeping. The title is “Happiness Boosters – Easy Little Tricks to Energize your Attitude”. It shows practical applications of what we are learning. It’s not an assignment anymore – it truly is a way of living. I’ve italicized the excerpts that, for me, directly relate to our studies.
Aa – Appreciate the Present. Think about something that’s good about your circumstances right now. It’s about shifting your perspective to focus on something positive instead of negative.
Bb – Baking is emotionally therapeutic. Kneading bread dough or watching cookies rise offers a confidence boosting sense of accomplishment. Sharing the treats gives a double punch of good feelings.
Cc – Change your commute. Research shows that walking or biking, even if it takes longer, makes one cheerier and more focused. It that’s not possible listen to an audio book to give your brain a mental getaway.
Dd – Dance. Researchers have found that the moods of depressed patients who took salsa lessons improved. Those who learned tango had less depression and insomnia and greater life satisfaction.
Ee – Experience, especially those shared with others make you feel more connected.
Ff- Flip through photos. People who focus on good things in their past are happier.
Gg- Grinning stimulates smile muscles and sends nerve signals to your brain that you’re happy. Do you smile because you are happy or happy because you smile?
Hh – Hike. Spending time outside makes you feel less tired and more alive. Twenty minutes of exercise is all it takes.
Ii – Inhaling through your nose for 4 counts, holding your breath for 1 and exhaling through your mouth for 5 lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Aim for 3 mindful breaths per hour.
Jj – Jotting down what you feel grateful for can make you feel more optimistic.
Kk – Kissing stirs up positive feelings. Neuroscientists think our earliest experiences with lip stimulation, through nursing, lays down neural pathways in our brains that associate kissing with comfort.
Ll –Light. When people increase their exposure to bright light they argue less and feel happier
Mm – Make your bed – Doing one thing to enhance your sense of order is calming. Create “small wins”. They are really valuable for happiness.
Nn – Nosh on fruits and veggies. Research shows a link between improved mental well-being and eating 5 portions daily.
Oo – Olfactory nerves link directly to your brain’s limbic system, which governs emotion and memory. Science suggests that the aroma of an orange can calm and take away anxiety.
Pp – Pick Up the Tab. Treating a friend offers a big happiness boost. Spending just $5 on another person can make a significant difference in your mood. The amount doesn’t matter – just as long as it benefits someone else.
Qq – Quiet Time. Taking your mind off what you need to focus on can lead you to creative solutions. Your brain needs regular breaks to maintain peak function – 10 to 20 minutes every 2 hours.
Rr – Rub Down. A massage can send you into a state of mental bliss and ease anxiety in as little as 5 minutes.
Ss – Save Up. The clink of coins in a piggy bank is the sound of happiness. You reap pleasure from seeing savings grow. If you save for something special, you’ll also get the satisfaction of anticipation.
Tt- Tune in to upbeat music can really boost your mood.
Uu – Unplug. Staying tethered to your smart phone can interfere with your relationships and sleep – both of which are key to a contented, unstressed outlook.
Vv- Vacation – There’s joy in anticipating a trip, not just in taking it.
Ww – Wine – A Spanish study found that those who drink between 2 to 7 glasses of wine a week are less likely to be depressed.
Xx – Xpressing yourself creatively reduces fatigue and depression.
Yy – Youtube. Indulge yourself in clips that make you roll on the floor laughing.
Zzzzzzz – Sleep plays a huge role in our mental states. Studies show that one is happier on days after they have slept well. Naps deliver a restorative effect that can turn a bad day into a good one.