Be happy - like this amazing, personable & friendly duck - Piedmont Park - July 2021. Photo courtesy of Charly Caldwell II
Just like the lyrics of a Pharrell Williams’ song, “sunshine she’s here, you can take a break”, I’m “happy because that’s what I wanna do.”
It takes thought and practice but anyone can choose to be happy.
In fact, it takes effort to be unhappy.
People often ask how I can be so happy. I strongly believe that mental health requires just as much attention and concentrated effort as physical health.
The problem is, most people pay very little attention to it.
As with physical health, this neglect will catch up with you eventually, especially in a pandemic.
Here are a few things I practice to keep my mind as healthy and resilient as my body: (Give it a try, you might just find yourself smiling more. 😉)
Every day I meditate for at least 10 minutes, preferably 20.
I started meditating about 5 years ago, and it took time before I incorporated it daily, but it was worth the perseverance.
The immediate effect of meditation is an almost instantly more relaxed mind, as well as the ability to concentrate and focus better.
Feed your brain for 30 minutes every day
This may be the biggest change I’ve made in the past 5 years.
Every day, even if it means getting up 30 mins earlier in a particularly week, I read and/or listen to things that feed my mind.
It’s like nutrition for the brain.
Being around people with low energy, listening to the news, or even reading a rant on social media is like junk food.
A little bit occasionally is OK, but it should not be your daily diet.
I listen to podcasts in my car about personal development and spend time every day reading a book that will help me grow.
The only junk food I feed my mind is some TV, and even then, I consciously choose shows that will relax rather than agitate me.
I also ignore rants on social media: they are other people’s opinions (to which they are entitled), but we don’t have to buy into or agree with them.
Finally, I’m a coach and I meet with a coach (virtually) every 2 weeks.
Support from family and friends is important but they are not always the best to share with or confide in because they give you answers that serve them.
Not because they are being malicious but because it’s the natural thing to do.
Good coaches, like a counselor, are trained to listen and ask questions, triggering you to see things in a different way.
They have no personal vested interest in you, other than helping you decide what is in your own best interest and helping you navigate sometimes sticky situations with integrity and honesty.
Try incorporating just 1 of these techniques for a week and see if you don’t feel better! Here’s to choosing to be happy!
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