Strategies to Keep Your Spirits High
We all have our "To-do" lists. How much of your list includes ways to keep your spirit up? Often, the demands of work, family and household upkeep means our needs get shifted to the backburner. When this happens, frustration builds and we can spiral into mental abyss. But, by incorporating little things into your routine, you can increase your happiness factor. So, make "YOU" a priority and use the tips below to improve your overall sense of happiness and wellbeing.
1.Be Present. Studies show that the practice of Mindfulness increases ability to regulate stress and improve immune system function. Mindfulness is the act of engaging your senses in the present moment. Practicing Mindfulness 10 minutes a day will improve your state of mind and outlook on life. So, take some time every day to focus your mind on what you are experiencing in that very moment.
2. Monitor Self Talk. Ok, so I'm not asking to evoke your inner Stuart Smalley (...and Doggone It, People Like Me) but we are often our own worst critic. Listen to the automatic narrative playing in your mind's background. What kind of messages are you sending yourself? Avoid these common types of negative self talk that erode self esteem:
- Mindreading - Assumptions of another's motive and/or feelings behind their behavior.
- Imperatives - Flexibility limiters that are signaled by I "should, ought, or must" statements about yourself or others behavior.
- Filtering - You only pay attention to the negative in the situation.
- Castastrophizing - "What if" statements
3. Take Care of Your Body. There's little question these days that there is a body/mind connection. When we feel bad physically, we suffer emotionally and vice versa. Exercise, diet and rest are often the very things that fall of the priority list when we need it the most. So, when things get tough - resist the urge to curl up in a ball with a bag of Cheetos. Instead incorporate these feel good practices:
- Get enough rest - To have good mental and emotional health, its important get enough sleep. If you're not sleeping, you will become more irritable and less able to manage stress.
- Eat healthy - We tend to crave sugars and carbohydrates when we are stressed. These foods give us a temporary "high" and relief from the daily grind. However, the honeymoon is cut short by the inevitable energy crash that leaves us feeling even worse. Choose healthier alternatives with longer lasting benefits.
- Exercise - Exercise relieves stress and lifts your mood. Find ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine. Carry your groceries; take the stairs or sign up for that Zumba class you've been hearing about.
4. Connect. According to researchers, the best guarantee of a long and healthy life may be the connections you have with other people. Loneliness negatively affects stress hormone levels, immune function, and cardiovascular function. As human beings, our brains are hard-wired with the need for positive emotional connections with other people. So, make time to talk face-to-face with people you like who are good listeners. People with strong family and/or social connections are emotionally healthier and happier that those without a strong support system.
5. Ask for Help. Often, we hold back from reaching out because we get a sense of pride from handling things on our own. We don't want to be perceived as being week or incapable. Truth is, we all need assistance from time to time. It's not a bad thing. Reaching out to others for help is a way to advocate for our needs. It's proactive and build stronger relationships.