Be Happy. Be Well.
We all know that happiness make us, well….happy. We experience more joy, are more contented, and see things through a more positive lens during the good days and times in our lives.
In equal measure the little things that would normally get us a bit down or annoyed or frustrated just…roll off easier. The small difficulties cease to cause the same amount of discomfort they may have if we were less inclined to happiness.
Happiness makes us better.
Not just better humans, but better in spirit. And better in body.
Our bodies respond to all of that positive emotion. There is growing understanding and evidence that our emotional well-being has a direct effect on our physical health. Our immune systems are stronger, our hormones give our physiological systems all kinds of positive messages, and the part of our nervous system that tells our bodies to relax, renew, and heal is switched on.
But as we all know, we canʼt always be happy. Despite our best intentions, we get stressed and overwhelmed. Life events cause difficulty and hardships, both emotionally and physically. While we often canʼt control the difficult things that come our way, we can do some things to become more resilient in the face of them. And help ourselves move through them with a bit more ease and a bit more grace.
Giving ourselves more resilience and joy in the everyday bolsters our spirits, our emotions, and our bodies. It gives us and our physical bodies greater strength with which to move through the hard times.
Here are a few simple suggestions to create more positive emotion and resilience everyday:
Smile at the Small Stuff
Smiling has been found to be a great mood booster. Even if you fake it. Just the physical act of smiling sends a signal to your brain that releases feel good chemicals. If you donʼt want to just randomly smile during your day, find small joys and let yourself smile at them. A beautiful day, a breeze that hits you just right, the smell of coffee in the morning. Soak in all the little things that make life that much better and just notice them, appreciate them, and if the mood strikes, go ahead and smile.
Indeed we all do it. All day. Everyday. However, paying attention to your breath and purposefully breathing a little deeper can make all the difference. And it doesnʼt have to be something you have to take time out of your day to do. Just making a small effort to pay attention when youʼre at a stoplight, or in line at the store, or when you feel yourself getting frustrated can make all the difference to your nervous system. The affects of purposefully breathing are cumulative and give you a big leg up on stress. Breathing deeply and with some attention signals your parasympathetic nervous system to start the relaxation process. The more you are in that nervous system mode, the more resilient, peaceful, and happy you will be in the face of stressors.
Taking care of ourselves physically is pretty straightforward. Not always easy, but at least understood. Taking care of ourselves emotionally is a bit more nuanced. The most important thing is to begin. To experiment.
Both meditation and mindfulness can a have a big impact on your capacity for joy and your resilience to stress. Make it a point to try one of the many methods and see where it leads you. If you donʼt enjoy it, find a different technique until you find a good fit. It should be enjoyable above all else.
And last, but certainly not least, try a massage. You get it all in one beautiful, blissful hour. Enjoyable as well as relaxing with a very long list of physical AND emotional benefits. In fact, while the physical benefits are significant, the emotional felt sense of well-being and peace are what my clients appreciate and look forward to the most. Especially in the cold winter months, a cozy massage on a heated table can increase your happiness factor in spades.
Try one or try them all! Be Happy and Be Well!