Five Simple Steps to a Happier You

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like if every single day was a happy day. No screaming, no feeling overwhelmed, no disrespectful teenager… just laughter and a sense of lightness from morning to night.  Too good to be true?

Actually is isn’t.  And I am about to show you how to make this reality your own.

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before: “If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy”.

Isn’t that the truth! 
If you’ve had a bad night, the dog was barking, or the baby had colic and you couldn’t get a wink of shut eye, then the whole family is in for a bad day…

You know it’s true. Moms do indeed set the emotional tone in the home. It may not be fair, but that is the fact.

When I first came to this realization, I was actually a little ticked off.  How fair is that? Am I not allowed to be in a bad mood EVER?  And what if I’m PMS? Or my daughter vomited all night and I had to change the sheets three times? Doesn’t that give me the right to be just a little irritable?

Well sure it does, but then everyone else around me is going to act the same way, and God knows things will only escalate. Then, before I know it, I’ll be pulling my hair out wondering where it all went wrong.

Then I realized… 
This is actually an amazing gift!  What a privilege!  And ultimately what a responsibility!

So I decided to do a little experiment.

I decided that for one week I would not say a single negative thing to anyone in the family. No complaints. No off the cuff remarks.  No grumbling, because my husband is late but he forgot to call. No nagging about the dirty laundry that ends up on the floor… or the shoes I stumble upon when I walk in the front door.  No I was not going to fall into that ‘old negativity trap.’

Instead I was going to greet every day with a smile.  Look for the good in every situation.  Bite my tongue if something inappropriate was about to come out, and laugh if I wanted to scream.

And you know what?   Everyone responded to my lighter, happier mood! I had an amazing week!

Now I am no saint, and I do have my weaker moments, but I can tell you I now have mostly happy days doing the things I love.

And here is the most important thing that I learned through my little experiment: although we cannot control every situation that happens in the course of a day or night, we can control how we respond to them.

Choosing to live each day with a smile will change the whole world around you. But you do need to put everything in your corner to be able to achieve this.

Here are five simple things you can do to ensure you go to bed with a smile on your face every night:

Choose To Make Each Day A Happy Day

Every day offers a myriad of choices and it starts from the moment we open our eyes. How you respond to these choices will dictate how you feel.

Will you wake up excited for the day ahead?  Or begrudging the new day clinging desperately to another five minute of sleep?

Will you slip out of bed with a skip or drag yourself to the shower?

How will you fill your day? What sort of reading, what sort of TV, what sort of conversation will you have with your loved ones? What sort of friends will you choose to welcome into your home?

How we respond to the many events in our day is entirely up to us. Choose to make it a happy day and it will be.

Hum a happy tune while doing chores and they don’t seem so bad.

Greet your hubby with a warm smile and a kiss when he comes home from a frustrating day at work, and poof his bad mood disappears. Okay he may need a minute or two but rather than feel overwhelmed you’ll both feel like things are much more manageable.

And as we all know, a good mood is contagious.  Even if you’re feeling tired or a little down, if you smile, people around you will smile back… and guess what? With everyone smiling back at you suddenly you’re not quite as tired as you were an hour ago. You’re engaged. You’re energized. You’re back on task.

Schedule Your Day

Do you have an endless “to-do” list that acts more like a reminder of every way in which you’ve failed rather than a way to keep track of all your accomplishments?

Most of us are guilty of trying to stuff too much into our days. We want to make everyone happy and gingerly add one more thing to an already full list.

I have found that putting everything I need to do on a schedule, with an certain amount of time allocated to each task, helps tremendously.  All too often we add tasks without thinking about the time it will take to accomplish that task. Even a simple phone call can easily take a half hour.

By scheduling my day, including my workouts, housekeeping chores, etc, I can easily prioritize and see what just doesn’t fit.

Get Plenty Of Shut Eye

If you have a young baby or a sick child, getting your seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night can be a challenge.

But no matter how strong you are it’s hard to stay optimistic and react positively to a stressful situation if you don’t get adequate sleep. I know that all too well.  I used to pride myself in being able to plow through my day and manage everything I needed to on less than 6 hours of sleep a night.

But when you’re tired, even simple things suddenly seem insurmountable. And before you know it, your family is walking on egg shells around you so as not to disturb the sleeping tiger.

Most of us can rise to the occasion once in a while but if you constantly forget to fill up your tank, you will run on empty.  And just like a rubber band that keeps being pulled tighter and tighter you finally snap.

None of us want that.

So I beg you, get your sleep!  If you can’t get it at night, then take a nap.  I started doing that and I cannot tell you how grateful I am.

Drink Plenty Of Water

What does water have to do with being happy you might ask?

Studies have shown that dehydration in men caused  difficulty in memory and alertness. For women, the studies showed little impact on our cognitive ability, but significant impact on our mood!

Lack of proper hydration leaves us fatigued, tense and anxious. 
So drink plenty of H2O during the day, especially if you exercise or live in a dry and hot climate.  Eight glasses are a bare minimum and tea and coffee don’t count!  In fact for every cup of caffeinated drink you have, you need twice that in water.

Add a slice of lemon or other citrus fruit to your water. Citrus not only gives a pleasant taste but it helps to balance your blood ph, which in turn leaves you feeling happier!

Get Your Fill Of Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard are high in folic acid, a nutrient proven to help reduce fatigue and alleviate depression.

These superfoods contain a wealth of antioxidants, which protect brain cells from free radicals that dampen mood and drain energy.

Dark leafy greens are also packed with magnesium.  Magnesium has been shown to enhance our ability to overcome and manage stress.  It is also a common ingredient in natural sleep aids, due to its calming effects.

Isn’t it liberating to realize you CAN indeed design your mood?

These tricks may seem simple but they are powerful tools and since I’ve begun using them I’ve noticed a big, and positive difference in everyone around me.

I believe that each day is a precious gift to be cherished and relished with my loved ones.  And the last thing I want is to throw that gift away because I’m in a bad mood.   We never know where life is going to take us but we can chose how we respond.

So Carpe Diem and enjoy your Diem while you’re at it too. You’re family will love the new you. I promise.

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