“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard
A friend recently called me out on my positive outlook and approach to life. He told me I inspired him. While that totally rocked and I’m touched to hear words like that, the truth is I’m no different than anyone else. My attitude is a choice and something I work at. He suggested that I share my tips that keep me happy. I think that’s a great idea.
When life is going our way, not much work is needed. We just roll with it. When the challenges are presented, that’s when we’re tested. We don’t always have control of what comes our way, but we do have control in how we react. To keep from heading down the downer path, I say douse yourself with self-love. If you’re filled with love, there’s no room for anger. Happiness and anger cannot simultaneously coexist.
Having a morning routine that puts you first is key. How you treat yourself first thing in the morning will transcend throughout the rest of the day. Take control of what thoughts you put in your head. This means staying clear of other peoples’ thoughts. By grabbing your phone, checking email, popping on social media, or turning on the news, you automatically hand over your control to someone else. None of these habits will enhance who you are. They are just noise that takes up space. I say no electronic devices for the first hour, minimum.
Instead put all that stuff aside and get outside. Being outdoors is what grounds us, keeps us in tuned with who we are. It can be a walk, jog, ride, hike, or just standing in the garden. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is being with nature. This planet gives us life. Be part of it.
Right now some of you are saying “well, yeah, that’s great in the summer but when it’s freezing or raining….no way.” Yes, way. Put on the proper attire and make it happen. It doesn’t need to be long. Poor weather is part of life. Face it. Embrace it. LIVE IT.
No matter how hard we try to avoid it, we are constantly bombarded with information and stimulation. All this “stuff” coming at us creates clutter in our heads. When our head get too full, we loose control. De-cluttering first thing will help keep you happy and be more productive. Meditation is a way of clearing out all that goop in your head.
Many people have told me that they can’t meditate because their mind won’t stop. Ummm…that’s why we meditate. It might not be easy for you at first. It is a practice. Everyone is a beginner when first starting out.
If meditation is new to you, I have a simple approach that works well with my yoga students. Get yourself into a comfortable, seated position. On the floor, in a chair…doesn’t matter. Close your eyes and take nice steady breaths in and out your nose. Then just listen. Let your mind focus on the sounds around you, including silence. When your mind starts to wonder, find another sound. Focus on listening. Do this for 3 – 5 minutes then open your eyes. Ta-dah. You just meditated.
For a two for one, meditate outside.
Breakfast is important, but before you eat start your day with a glass of water with lemon. This will help burn calories, eliminates toxins, clear your skin, boost your immune system and improves the function of your digestive system. So much goodness and so easy to do. Don’t have lemon? That’s OK. You’ll still get amazing benefits with plain water.
You wouldn’t start a road trip with an empty gas tank, so don’t start your day with an empty tummy. Fill yourself up with happy, healthy foods so you have the nutrients and fuel to keep you energized and focused. Stay clear of processed foods and GMO’s. They are full of chemicals and lack what we need. Chemicals are not good for you: that’s why they have all the weird warnings. There’s truth in the saying “you are what you eat.” Eat well and be well.
The last bit of advice I have is my favorite: hug and dance. There are scientific studies that show our bodies have an amazing positive reaction when we hug someone and when we dance. Our brains actually shoot out happy vibes. I hug my dog. I dance while brushing my teeth. It’s easy to weave these two actions into our day and the benefits rock.
These every day practices are easy to do. Sometimes it’s tricky to do them. They are part of a discipline: there will be days when you’ll want to skip them. Those are the days when you need to stick to them most. Keep at it. You are worth the work. The return you get from it is priceless.