Thursday, March 28, 2013

Put On A Happy Face: 5 Tips for Daily Contentment!

There are some things you can't control - like when you completely miss your train even though you ran after it with passionate flailing arms, or when your hair wakes up on the wrong side of the bed without asking you, or when the sky decides to open up and rain a tsunami on you the second you forget your umbrella at the office. But while you may not be able to control the weather, you can control your happiness. Happiness is not something that exists in direct proportion to the size of your wallet or your entourage. It doesn't depend on the weather, and it sure as hell doesn't depend on the train schedule. It comes from within. 

Today I'd like to leave you with 5 simple tips to get you in the habit of being happy regardless of your circumstances...

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'P' IS FOR PERSPECTIVE - Nine times out of 10, that major problem you are dealing with is a 'first world' problem. To clarify, when the barista adds regular milk to your coffee instead of soy, and you can't possibly wrap your head around his incompetency, you've got yourself a whoppin' first world problem. Now I'm not saying your little pickle at the coffee shop isn't super frustrating, but if it doesn't affect your basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), it just might be a first world problem. Are we on the same page? Happy people choose to rise above lactose debacles at their local Starbuck's.

DISCONNECT FROM THE TECH - My phone travels to the bathroom with me (too much information?). But speaking from experience, disconnecting from technology is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. In 2010, I spent three glorious months living in Costa Rica without a cell phone. I learned to wake up by my internal body clock, I ate when I was hungry, I made concrete plans with friends and didn't break them, and most importantly, I had privacy and a calm mind. You may not be able to disconnect for months at a time, but you could start by turning off all your contraptions for a few hours each day. Happy people have no problem disconnecting.

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ENJOY THE PRESENT - If you're like me, you spend a lot of time thinking (and fantasizing) about the future. I blame my favorite childhood game MASH. According to my MASH fortune, I was supposed to be living in a mansion by now with my strikingly handsome husband (Brad Pitt, obviously) and my two genius children. What gives? But the more you live in the future (or dwell on the past), the more time slips through your fingers. You forget to notice all the wonderful things you have right in front of you in the here and now. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so frankly, it only makes sense to live for today. Happy people realize that life is a gift and cherish each moment.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT - If this statement is true, then I am just one big bottle of hot sauce (potential Halloween costume for next year?). Seriously though, the food you put in your mouth becomes the fuel for your whole body, including your mind. It's nutritional value (or lack thereof) has a direct effect on your hormonal balance, and we all know that when hormones are out of whack, ain't nobody happy! Happy people treat their bodies as a temple, allowing it the nourishment it needs to grow and flourish.

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LEARN TO LIVE WITH LESS - Back to Costa Rica. Sorry, it's just so perfect for this post! Before going down, I moved out of my apartment, returned the keys to the landlord and stuffed all my personal belongings inside HALF of a 12'x12' storage space. What I didn't need, I left on the sidewalk, and I gave massive amounts of clothing to Goodwill. I've never felt so free in my whole life! Society continually sends us the message that we need more, more, more! But people, I'm here to tell you, I was happiest when I had less. It's about time for some spring cleaning, don't you think? Happy people realize that true happiness is not based on 'things'.

So as we head into the weekend, take some time to make a deposit into your 'happiness bank'. Let the first world problems roll off your shoulders and concentrate on cherishing the 'here and now'. You control your happiness, and don't let anyone tell you differently!

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