Happiness… Are you Happy?
We all know that one person who is happy, seems like they have their life figured out, that they do not worry about money, they have the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect house and even the perfect pet. You are happy for them as you care about them, but you always try and think how can you get from where you are in life to a state of happiness?
I know that this isn’t directly related to nutrition, but it is health related and I felt like I had to write about it today as I find within my practice that people are having a rough time. When it comes to your health happiness, attitude, and your approach on life it directly relates and has an impact on your health.
This post was inspired by my friend. I was talking to her the other day and I asked how she was, and she said, “I am Great!” I really liked hearing that, then I started to think… I am great! When was the last time I heard someone say that…? Generally speaking you’ll hear good, its going, I am alright, been better and people tend to go into the negative parts of their lives. It has been a while since I’ve heard great. With this friend in particular, she just didn’t have something amazing happen to her that day that made her ‘great’, she is always like this. She loves life, and life loves her back. Always putting the positive energy out there.
So I felt like I needed to write this, to help people to be “great.”
Let’s do an exercise… When was the last time you heard someone say they were great? Was it today? (That’s Awesome), Yesterday? Maybe a Week Ago? For me it has been a while.
What is Happiness?
Happiness according to vocabulary.com means “Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can't help but smile. It's the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness. The "pursuit of happiness" is something this country is based on, and different people feel happiness for different reasons. Whenever doing something causes happiness, people usually want to do more of it. No one ever complained about feeling too much happiness.
Happiness is very Individual!
Everyone will have their own definition of happiness, what makes me happy will not necessarily make my friend happy or their mom happy. It is very much individual!
How to make yourself Happy!
If I knew the answer to this I would probably be very rich. This is a question you are going to have to do some work on. This answer might not come immediately, or next week but it will come and here are some steps to help you along the way.
1. Make a list, well two. I know what is with nutritionists and lists… it is because they work. From food diaries to journals it helps get everything on paper in plain form right in front of you.
a. Make a list (might want to do this on the computer so you can add more to it later) of everything that you are unhappy with in your life. Everything that is going wrong, everything that makes you uncomfortable or not feeling the best you. If you hate you job put it down, your mom drives you nuts, put it down. Anything that doesn’t make you happy put it down.
b. Make a second list of everything that makes you happy. Everything that is going right in your life. You kids, your beautiful home, your pets, camping, listening to loud music and dancing like no one is watching. Whatever makes you happy put it down.
2. Then take your lists.
a. Your first list, everything that makes you not your best self. Take it and break it down. What are you going to do about each component on this list. It sounds simple but some of it will take some work, and some time.
i. If you put “I hate my job!” What aspects do you hate? Maybe talk to your manager to see if some of the areas can be improved? Start a committee to help with improvements. If nothing approves or cannot improve dust out that resume and start looking for another job. You are at your job 40 hours plus a week, 2080 hours a year. That is a huge amount of time doing something you don’t love, and that doesn’t make you happy. Follow your passion! (I would highly suggest finding another job prior to quitting the current one – might add other stresses if you don’t).
ii. Money – this is a big one for a lot of people. I don’t make enough. Lower your expectations. These days we are bombarded by social media, and advertisements and beautiful vacations online – it is just stuff. Yes it is nice to have stuff but it isn’t what is important these days. You can find another job that makes more money, set a budget and work towards your goals, get another part time job or scale back your living.
iii. Health – Another big one. Be your own health advocate. I have no clue where I would be if I didn’t fight for my health, and fight for answers… Doctors are amazing, but they are human, sometimes make mistakes, only have a bit of time with you and they can’t/don’t know everything! I always had an upset stomach (and everything that goes along with it) as a kid, but on paper I was healthy, so nothing ever happened I just had to deal with it. If I didn’t find my own answers and listened to I am fine and there is nothing wrong… I would still be sick, I would have had dozens more x-rays (radiation), many rounds of antibiotics that would impact my intestinal flora, and I would be missing a gallbladder, etc… No one knows your body like you do, listen to it, fight for it. Your body wants to heal you just need to give it the tools to heal.
iv. Each problem you have in your life as an answer to fix it, or a change of perspective that can improve it dramatically.
b. Your second list! These are the things that currently make you happy! Focus on the positive and enjoy these things. Treasure the time with your kids (yes even if they talk back sometimes – it is only a phase), treasure learning new things, or camping or whatever makes you happy. Try to do them as much as you can.
This one is huge! You need to love yourself and believe in yourself in order to be happy and to be kind to yourself. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, concern, and support you’d show to a good friend. When faced with difficult life struggles, or confronting personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than harsh self-judgment, recognizing that imperfection is part of the shared human experience.” (Neff & Dahm, 2015).
You need to love yourself, and show yourself the same compassion you would show those around you. How you view yourself can affect everything in your life. Have you ever gone through a rough patch in your life and you attract people who are messes? Or are insecure and then you attract insecure people? Like attracts like. According to psychology today: Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts. Forgive yourself, self care, live intentionally, protect yourself by bringing the right people in your life and set
boundaries. When you love yourself, you stop doubting yourself, you forgive yourself and you start living in the moment instead of dwelling on the past.
Ever heard of Positive Affirmations?
The first step in loving yourself might be positive affirmations. There is a book (click link) for Mirror work by Louise Hay. She is world renown and has helped millions of people. Louise Hay, Mirror Work. It is based on one of her core teachings. You look in the mirror, and say positive items like “I love myself.” I have to admit, I did buy the book and tried it. It sounds like a simple concept, but try looking at yourself in the eye (in the mirror) and tell yourself straight on that you love yourself. It isn’t easy, and the truth is you feel kind of dumb doing it. Trust me it does get easier. We need to love and respect ourselves to make the necessary changes in our lives. It helps us believe that we are worth it and deserve more.
My friend told me about Rachel Hollis as well. Author of Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be.
Apparently, she is pretty big right now with positive affirmations. I haven’t personally read this one but might be on my next to read list!
You are your own person. You will never be your friend, you will never be your sibling, there will always be someone with more money, a faster car, a bigger house, more friends etc… But in the grand scheme of things that isn’t important. You are you, and you are amazing! Learn to self love! Love yourself and stop comparing yourself to others. Appreciate the awesomeness that is you! It would be boring if everyone was the same, each of our strengths and our weaknesses are what makes us truly unique and awesome. There isn’t anyone out there exactly like you! Embrace yourself!
Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition are huge! Food is one thing you can do quite easily to control your mood. Certain foods trigger relaxation, help promote the production of serotonin (the “happy” chemical in your brain) and are nutrient dense to help add your body. Then on the other end of the spectrum there are foods such as sugar (The Day I Gave Up Sugar – Is my post on how sugar affected me), that spike your blood sugar and then make you crash as well as helping you hang on to extra weight. Different foods can also affect your thyroid, and hormone levels as well. Food is powerful, let me teach you how to eat right for your body e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 416-300-8736 to book an appointment.
Ask for Help
Sometimes we need help, and that is okay. Sometimes are issues that are preventing ourselves from being happy go down deeper… Abuse? Childhood trauma? Death? Sometimes we need additional tools to help deal with these issues. Counseling, Friends (be careful with friends, although they mean well and would do anything for you make sure they aren’t giving their opinion/experience but just a listening ear. These are your issues that you need to work through. Even energy practitioners (Reiki or Energy Healers) can help release blockages in your energy (if you believe in energy – it is personal).
See a doctor, a nutritionist, a naturopath, chiropractor, an osteopath and/or a massage therapist to help get your body where it needs to be.
How can we function optimally and be truly happy if we do not take care of ourselves? Self care is very important as we seem to tend to take care of everyone else but ourselves. Self care is looking after yourself, making sure you get adequate amounts of sleep, drinking plenty of fresh clean water, and eating proper nutritious meals. Weather it is exercising, doing crafts, getting a facial, going to the dentist or anything else just to take care of yourself and your needs is very important. Don’t think of it as being selfish, think of it as bringing the best part of you out. When you are at your best then you can function your best, take care of others and be happy.
See our full post about Self Care here.
Re-Evaluate Toxic Relationships
Look at your relationships with everyone in your life. Are they empowering, indifferent or toxic? How do you feel when you leave that person after you hang out with them? Do you feel happier? Stronger? Or do you feel inferior? Frustrated? Sad? Question yourself? These toxic relationships can reek havoc on your happiness and health. You need to evaluate them and see if you need to make some changes. Keep in mind that you cannot change other people, and if you try to do so you might cause resentment. The person must want to change!
The best way to help a person change is to lead by example, if they see positive changes in your life then they might want to make them too. Sometimes people just don’t want to change, or don’t realize that they need too, some people love to be unhappy. You can always talk to them and tell them how they make you feel and that you don’t like it, or you might have to take it one step further and end the toxic relationship until you can work through things and maybe try again. It isn’t an easy thing to do, they could be your family, or friends for years, but you don’t deserve to be spoken down too or made to feel inadequate. Strong people and friends build you up, they do not tear you down!
Everywhere you look someone is trying to sell you something, convince you need this supplement to lose weight, or you need this to be happy. We are taught to want the latest and greatest everything, and it always leaves us wanting more. I believe we are all guilty of this once and a while. When you always want stuff, you never feel fulfilled, the expensive care, the extravagant trips, the designer clothes etc… you are never satisfied with what you get. You will always feel this void, if you can afford this stuff that is amazing, but most people cannot. But nevertheless, weather you can afford it or not STOP! And pay attention to what you need and what you have and be grateful, and thankful.
Be thankful for your wonderful family – stop wishing they were someone else, be proud of that 2.99 tank top from old navy instead of pining for that 100 something shirt from another store, love your family day trips instead of being disappointed that you can’t afford that European cruise right now. Be thankful for what you have, and work towards what you want.
Are you ready to make a change?
You are in charge of your own happiness, no one else is responsible for you but you.
There are people that will add to it but inevitably it is you that needs to change and find out what makes you happy.
Are you Great all the time? What did you do to get there? We would love to hear from you!