What is effort? Effort is defined as: to do one’s best, exert oneself, labour, work, toil, apply oneself!
So effort is WORK and the effort you put into becoming happy will equate to the end result which is of course, a happier you!
Now I hear what you’re thinking…’Why do I need to work at being happy, isn’t it just supposed to happen?’ Well the answer is yes and no. As I mentioned in my last post, we all have a happiness set point – this is the automatic base line measure of our happiness. What we are looking to do is to be happier, more bubbly and positive people so of course we want to challenge this set point– hence the effort.
Here is a short list you can jot down in your diary or create a check list on your phone – this allows for momentum to develop and as you get the hang of it you can add more to your list.
Happy Day Checklist:
Morning Thank You – When you open your eyes and before you get out of bed quickly think of three things you’re thankful for and smile LOTS – even if it’s a forced, fake smile – your facial muscles don’t know any different and your brain responds by releasing endorphins which makes you feel happy. If you need to set the alarm five minutes earlier – do it and SMILE!
Perfume! – Spritz away…use your favourite scent to lift your mood and make you happy. There is science in this too I promise. When you inhale your favourite fragrance, you trigger smell receptors in your nose, the chemicals in the scent (whether its natural or synthetic doesn’t matter) enter your lungs and move into your bloodstream, the part of your brain that manages emotions is then stimulated and the body responds by releasing serotonin and norepinephrine – result = happy!!!
Eat Healthy – I’m sure you are more than aware of the countless benefits of eating healthy so I’m keeping this one short. Eating clean = feeling good for making good choices = easy digestion = release of serotonin = Happy You! Need I say more?
Exercise – Whether it’s getting off the bus one stop early, a quick walk during your lunch break, taking the stairs or walking home the long way – a little bit goes a long way! Your body moves, your brain releases dopamine – your stress/depression levels go down – you feel happy!
Breathe! – Another spot of science for you, aim to take a few sets of ten deep breaths a day, start slow and build up over time – even if it means escaping somewhere outside for a few minutes. Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation – when you’re relaxed you’re more calm and able to handle whatever comes your way.
Random Act of Kindness – Do something nice for someone – just because! Hold open a door, say thank you to the bus driver, smile and say thank you to the barista as you get your coffee…. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture – even making a colleague a cup of tea without being asked is great.
Be Nice – Don’t react, be mindful and nice – find your magic word/phrase (see my previous post). In the beginning pick one task that you will CHOOSE not to react to – something you know happens daily and that can be a trigger for you. For me, it used to be people who get on a bus or are stood in line to get in at the tube station then start digging for their oyster when it’s their turn – not before, but right there holding everyone up – I now play a game called Find Something I Like where I look at people around me and find something I like – maybe a bag, cute earrings, nice smile, cool shades…anything really!
And last but not least – End your day with another quick list of thank yous and smile – yep even a fake one – the bigger the better!
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