10 Feel-Good Ways To Improve Your Own Happiness, Even When You're Stressed Out

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10 Ways To Feel Happy And Good About Yourself, Even If You're Stressed

Self-care is critical to stress management, but it often feels like one more "should" on your already overloaded to-do list. And "should's" motivate your brain as effectively as asking a teenager to clean up his room for the sake of world order.

So how can you sneak more self-care under the resistance radar and feel happier and better without it adding to your stress?

By making tiny, tiny tweaks in your daily life. Learning how to be happy by incorporating daily self-care includes any thought or behavior shift that adds physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual energy to your day.

Weave these little recharging habits into your workday and home life to replenish your energy, reboot your brainpower, and build your stress resilience.

Start with a strategy meeting (with yourself or your team) to brainstorm the possibilities of various ways on how to have a good day. Get creative. There are almost infinite choices.

RELATED: 10 Ways Smart Women Choose To Be Really, Truly, Simply Happy

To get started, try a few of these strategies that will help you feel happy — even when you're totally stressed out:

1. Breathe.

Before you even drag out of bed, take 5 long slow deep breaths — less than a minute!

2. Figure out your "win for the day".

While you are breathing, decide what you would like your "win for the day" to be.

What one thing — no matter how small — will you do today that deserves an "atta girl" tonight? (Still under a minute!)

3. Stretch!

Think of sending oxygen to each and every cell of your body from tops of your toes to hair follicles — it’s an instant reboot.

Extra credit if you learn to do 1-3 at the same time! Extra-Extra credit if you repeat the breathing and stretching techniques 3 times a day!

4. Have a Sunday self-care strategy meeting.

Take 15 minutes to look at your week’s calendar and to-do list and add yourself to both–class. You’ll be surprised how powerful this proactive approach is.

Create backup plans for the inevitable schedule changes.

5. Commit to one physical change for the week.

You can take 5 days of healthy snacks to work on Mondays, or down your water bottle 3 times a day, or take the stairs to your daily meeting. Make it something easy to measure and conquer — a no-brainer!

RELATED: 4 Research-Backed Strategies That Will Help You Feel Happier

6. Check-in with your energy levels midday.

Set an alarm or make cleaning up lunch your cue. How are you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (connection and purpose)?

What do you need to ride out the afternoon and evening? More water? Two minutes to close the door and stretch? Two minutes to dial back out to the big picture?

7. Connect with someone.

Commit to connecting with someone important in your life this week. I know, you should have called weeks ago, but why not Tuesday on the way home?

Connection is energizing and critical to resilience.

8. Plan a vacation! 

Your brain greatly appreciates knowing there is a respite on your calendar.

9. Close your day. 

Take 5 minutes before you stop work to capture loose ends, update your to-do’s and calendar, and let your mind know it doesn't have to stay up tonight worrying that you dropped the ball on something.

10. Celebrate your wins! 

I know… you have so much more to do, but it is clever, not indulgent, to take a moment to recognize your wins. This wires your brain for more. Success!

What are you going to try this week? Get curious and play with ideas that don’t trigger that "should" resistance. Brainstorm with your family, friends, and your team. Find the tiny, easy choices that energize you for brilliance and resilience!

RELATED: 20 Ways To Be Good To Yourself Today

Cynthia Ackrill leads stress and leadership workshops in many settings from coaching and leadership programs to women's conferences. Want to learn more strategies to tackle your stress and put more YOU in your future? Contact her or visit her courses and resources on her website.