10 Steps to Happiness
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Happiness isn't about leading an obstacle-free life -- your life will always have obstacles -- instead, it's about learning how to change what you focus on and how you react to circumstances, regardless of whether they're good or bad. Happiness is a mental state of well-being that comes from focusing more often on the behaviours, people, and things that will enrich and inspire your positive physical, mental, and emotional growth. Here are 10 steps to begin living a happier life:
Step One: Exercise.
Yes, you've heard it before, but exercise is one small change that yields really big, life-changing benefits. For starters, it is a fantastic energizer, invigorating your mind and body. Exercise improves your sleep, and it's a natural anti-depressant that will help your attitude and outlook. As time passes, you'll gain the added bonus of being happier with your physical appearance as well. If working out is already a part of your life, great. If it isn't, commit to walking just twenty minutes every other day to start out. You don't have to join a gym, sign up for exhausting classes, and completely reorder your life to reap the benefits of this investment.
Step Two: Take Charge of Your Mind.
If you want your thoughts and attitudes to be positive, you must fill your brain with encouraging ideas. For this reason, you may consider making motivational books and audio recordings part of your daily ritual, too. It sounds incredibly hokey, but listening to a motivational CD during your morning commute or reading motivational messages for fifteen minutes can put you in a positive place all day.
Step Three: Celebrate Success.
Most people tend to focus a lot of mental energy on the things that went wrong rather than the things that went well. Instead of beating yourself up, start celebrating your many successes. Relax about the things that don't go perfectly, and celebrate everything that does. The cycle of negativity that focuses on failures will keep you from becoming a truly relaxed, content, and happy person.
Step Four: Eliminate Excess Stress.
Stress prevents you from living in and enjoying life. It can also cause negative long-term effects ranging from high blood pressure and insomnia to depression and anxiety. If you can't eliminate or change a stressor, such as a job you hate but can't afford to quit, challenge yourself to handle it differently. Decide beforehand how you will react in a more enlightened way when certain stressful situations occur. Having a game plan in place beforehand can reduce your negative reactions to stressors big time.
Step Five: Live in the Present.
If you're ruminating on what's already happened or fretting about what might come to pass, you're not enjoying the moment. You're exacerbating your anxiety and unhappiness by choosing to dwell on things you can't change or control. Forgive others (and yourself) for any wrongs you might be holding on to and stop dreading the future. Over time, you'll start to live the adventurous, wonderful life in the present you were always meant to.
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