People often ask me why I’m always so happy. I usually shrug and say, “Why not?” Maybe it’s my nature or maybe I was raised this way. My dad used to tell me, “There is no time in life for bad moods,” and, “There is no reason to get so upset about something that won’t matter in five years.” He’s right.
I sat down to think what I do in my life to help keep my glass half full. I’ve come up with a list which may seem obvious to many of you, but enough people have asked me so I figured I may as well share:
- Get plenty of sleep. – I know this fact is child’s play, but it’s always easier for me to have a marvelous day if my body is rested and my mind is clear. No matter how uncool, try to hit the sack early and get at least 7 straight hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise & Eat Right– Our bodies and minds need to be challenged, squeezed, pushed and relaxed. Don’t deny yourself this necessity. Also, try to stay away from sugar (I’m terrible at doing that).
- Choose your attitude – When each day begins, make a little promise to yourself that you will try your best to make it a great one. Then allow yourself to accept your best effort, no matter how much life/people might challenge you over the course of the day.
- Soak up the good times – Simple things bring me joy; like smelling my kids’ morning breath, seeing a bird balance on a stop sign or feeling warm August wind. Try to take a minute to notice seemingly mundane moments and gratefully soak ‘em up in your soul like a savings account of goodness.
- Laugh a lot – Finding the humor in things is life’s little trick. Plus, laughing is good for your abs.
- Literally display the characteristics you want to convey to world – It’s cheesy, but I have notes posted in different places of my bedroom and bathroom to remind me how I want to be regarded. Even if it’s just one word, let it serve as a guide for yourself of what you want to be. I guarantee, if you see it posted every day and really take a moment to look at it each morning, your mind will help your soul stay on track. (For instance, one of my notes says: Be Patient.)
- Lower your expectations – Keep in mind that the universe can’t possibly deliver 100% satisfaction 100% of the time. If you can stay flexible and forgiving, the world will seem less disappointing.
- Remember nobody can read your mind – Try to make your intentions clear. Let people know what you expect and how you like to be treated. You can do this by following the golden rule, leading by example or literally coming out and saying it. I often remind my kids how I expect them to talk to me, because it’s easy for them to get caught up in sarcastic and disrespectful tones with their friends. I gently remind them that they don’t talk to me that way.
- Don’t take things personally – Everybody you encounter is fighting their own battle to be all they can be. Often the way they treat you is a result of how their day is going and has nothing to do with you. Try to let nasty comments roll off your back and move on.
- Require minimal expense – The less maintenance & money required on your outward appearance and lifestyle, the less stress you will feel on keeping up with the Joneses. Believe me, the Joneses’ have issues, too, no matter how together they seem.
- Always try to notice the best part – In any situation, person or outcome we should be able to find a silver lining. No matter how small, try to find one thing you enjoy. For instance, when forced to spend time with someone who is always negative, I try to notice, “At least they are consistent. I never have to wonder what his mood will be.”
- Have time alone, say no – I am not afraid to pass on invitations. There’s nothing wrong with saying no and staying under-committed. Katharine Hepburn said, “If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” Life is too short to live it for everyone else. Make sure your family obligations are met and say no to plenty of other things.
- Sing, whistle, smile & dance – As long as your body is able and you aren’t distracting others, there’s nothing to feel but joy if you do one or all of these things. Most people around you will find it refreshing. Trust me.
- Cry, Vent & Cleanse – Find someone you trust who will allow you to come undone now and then. Obviously we can’t be happy all the time. There are times I need to release my emotions and frustration. I have a very best friend who catches the brunt of my venting, gossiping, crying and complaining. Unfortunately, I lose it at home with my kids and ex-husband, too. These same people can hopefully bring you back up and remind you how great life truly is.
Wow, that list ended up being longer than I thought! As I mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to do all of these things every day. Bad days come. Circumstances arise. But all we can do is try our best each day and never give up. Allow each sunset to be a reset button and start each day anew with good intentions.