All of us have sad days, but if we’re careless, these can quickly turn into sad weeks and then months. We need to do all we can to help ourselves cope during these times. If you wish to transform your feeling and be happy now, we have the perfect prescription for you. Following are 10 steps that will help you bounce back from your sad days and feel happy and powerful again.
10 steps to be happy now
1. Put yourself first
Are you a busy parent, running around after your children and/or partner, ensuring everyone is happy, while neglecting your needs? Are you working tirelessly to earn more money, yet isolating yourself and giving up on your hobbies? Many place others first, thinking this is unselfish. However, this is the fast track to frustration, anger and resentment, especially on challenging days. Happy and successful parents, partners and workers, ensure they have a balanced life, including fun pursuits, socialising, rest and work. Be kind to yourself by doing what makes you happy every day. It is your life… so do not put yourself last. What do you feel like doing right now?
2. Be grateful
Although it’s hard to look at the wonderful things in life when you are feeling low, it is necessary. List the things you are grateful for and watch how your mood changes; it is all about transforming your mindset. Make it your new habit to list five things you are grateful for, every day, from small to large. By the law of attraction, you will attract more good into your life, improve your circumstances, and opportunities, when you spend the majority of your time focussed on the positive. Have you made your “grateful list” today?
3. Plan fun moments
It is essential to remain focussed on the present moment, but if your life is currently challenging, traumatic or filled with grief, you may need a break from this moment by creating wonderful future moments. You could plan a family holiday, a weekend getaway, a romantic dinner or a night out to a concert. Be kind to your future self and plan exciting adventures, fun days and opportunities to create wonderful memories. What wonderful experiences are you currently looking forward to?
4. Change your thoughts to positive
Are many of your thoughts negative? Automatic thoughts are commonly triggered by belief systems in your subconscious about yourself, circumstances and relationships. These core beliefs may be negative, causing your thoughts to be self-defeating. Be prepared to listen to your thoughts and argue with yourself. Does this thought need challenging? Am I jumping to conclusion? Is this black and white thinking? [i.e. something is either all wrong or all right] Negative thinking is simply a habit. Think of your mind as a television remote control, and then keep switching from the negative thoughts channel to the positive thoughts channel. You may use self-affirming statements such as: I will feel better tomorrow. This situation is temporary. By using thought swapping strategies, and self-affirming statements, you positively influence your thoughts, core beliefs and mood. You cannot stop your thoughts, but you can swap your thoughts. Have you been listening to your thoughts today?
5. Improve brain chemistry
Antidepressants often improve depression by changing the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. Did you know that you can help your body improve these same neurotransmitters? Avoiding processed foods, and instead, eating whole foods such as quality carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vegetables and raw nuts is thought to increase serotonin levels, reducing your risk of depression. Exercise releases endorphins, which elevate mood and increase your emotional resilience. Exercise often decreases the stress hormone, cortisol. High cortisol levels are believed to be a contributing factor in ill health, mood swings, weight gain, and depression. Therefore, exercise and healthy eating can assist you in the fight against depression, sickness, and the dreaded sad days. Have you scheduled healthy eating and regular exercise into your routine?
6 Reward yourself
What do you love doing? Do you love sitting in the sun reading magazines? How about a long drive to a hill station? Perhaps you love going on picnics, enjoying long bubble baths, or watching a movie. Is time in the garden your escape from life? Or do you prefer sitting with friends, eating takeaway foods, while watching the sun set? Whatever you love doing, do it; don’t deprive yourself. It is essential to reward yourself, especially on those sad days. What are your three favourite ways to reward yourself?
7. Sit in the sun
Sitting in the sun, even for a few minutes per day, can improve mood, positive brain chemistry, and vitamin D levels. When you feel unhappy, stressed, agitated, or even depressed, spend 15 minutes in the sun, and enjoy all the benefits of nature’s vitamin tablet. Relax, feel rejuvenated, and feel more grounded again, after some time in the sun… ready to face even the most complex of issues. Do you have a special place where you like to sit in the sun and relax?
8. Listen to music
Next time you wish to escape your troubles, grab your headphones, turn your favourite music on, and have a mini party. Music has the magical ability to transport your emotions to another place, making music a natural healer. So, if you want to forget your troubles dance or sing to your favourite songs. If you are grieving, and may need to cry, put the sad songs on, and give yourself permission to grieve. Tears that are “stuck” magnify your emotions, so allow the tears to flow. Bring a little magic to your day, or experience some of your deepest feelings, by allowing music to guide you. How have you incorporated music into your daily routine?
Calm the mind, re-focus the thoughts, and feel peaceful again, with some guided meditation, using a CD or download. Regular meditation has been shown to improve brain function and health of the body. Scientific research suggests that long-term meditation thickens grey matter, and the number of folds in the cortex of the brain. This area is believed to play a role in thought, attention and memory. Accordingly, we can assume that to feel more in control of our mind, emotions, and health, we need to meditate regularly. Can you image how your life would improve with regular meditation?
10. Take a break
Sad or low energy days give us the chance to stand back from the frantic pace of life, and reflect on our goals. When we become fatigued, saddened or ill, we may find ourselves working less, yet having more time to reflect. Ask yourself: What is working in my life? What is not? Most of us do not stop enough and actively plan the life we want; we can find ourselves re-acting to life, instead of being pro-active. Have a daily break and remain rested and focussed. Give yourself permission to stop your usual activities, and ponder. Have you incorporated daily breaks into your schedule?
You have the ability to help yourself through these challenging days, with these ten steps. Put the power back in your hands. Keep asking yourself: What do I feel like doing right now? Change your day; change your life… start by changing this moment and be happy now. And if your sad days persist, you may have depression, unresolved grief, or anxiety; if so, please consult a doctor, psychologist or counsellor.
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