Women's Health Mandy Kloppers

Surprisingly easy ways to feel happier

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We live in a harsh world but you’ll be pleased to know that you can still find easy ways to improve your mood. You can choose what you want to focus on and when you tune in to things that inspire you and motivate you, your actions will directly influence your levels of happiness and fulfilment.

Listen to uplifting lyrics to rewire your brain

Listen to inspiring and positive song lyrics repeatedly. This contributes to strengthening neural pathways in your brain. Experts call this “priming” and repetition affect neural pathways in a positive way when you listen to positive inspiring lyrics. One of my faves is – Barbed wire by Tom Grennan. Positive words that remind me to let go of the ‘noise’ that can bring us down – other people’s judgements etc. Avoiding the low-level nonsensical noise of the world – social media, trolling, squabbles, egos helps your brain build the right connections.

Move your body

Move your body. Dance. When I have a jig around the room I immediately feel better. Moving your body shifts chemicals in your brain and can induce a temporary state of euphoria. It might be just what you need to shake off the old cobwebs of monotony.

Have a dance in the kitchen when you are cooking or try yoga. Moving your body (exercise helps too) is a great way to feed your body with the right hormones, such as endorphins.

Focus on what you can control

When you say to yourself, “What if?” you start a process of putting your body into threat mode. Too much anxiety activates your stress alarm (the amygdala) and your body will go into flight/fight/freeze mode. What if thoughts focus on the future and there is little we can do about something that is only a possibility. Learning to separate reality from your negative thoughts is a key skill. There are two types of worry – real and hypothetical. Real worry can be dealt with (for example – your washing machine breaking down) but hypothetical worry might not happen. Even though it might not happen, you can spend hours feeling anxious over something that isn’t real. Every minute spent anxious is a lost minute when you could feel calmer.

Distinguishing between real and hypothetical worries will save you a lot of stress.

Balance: Be aware of negative and positive energy

BALANCE – extremes suggest an imbalance. Too much work or too much exercise is not healthy and usually suggests an effort to escape from underlying fears. Ask yourself what are you trying to escape from? Escaping won’t maintain a good feeling in the long-term and you will soon be right back where you started. Instead…make sure your values are interspersed in your life.

Example: if you love nature…get out the house. go for walks.. listen to the birds…it’s non-negotiable if you want to feel calmer and contented. If money is just a means to more freedom and choice – you only need enough to get by and have a holiday once a year (as an example).  When you think like this,  you will create healthy boundaries that help you avoid being a slave to your work.

Focus on what lifts you up and what drains you – do you have enough in life to fill you up or is the largest part of your life draining you?

It’s to easily to get side tracked by what we think we should be doing. Think “could” not “should”.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Be silly…have fun. See the funny side – it waters down the stress in life. You don’t have to believe that everything is life and death. A sense of humour is a wonderful protective factor that can help you manage stress and anxiety. Watch comedies and be aware of what you are focusing on. Avoid watching the news for a while – all of these behaviors will help you to feel lighter and happier.

Take time out/detox

Take time out – go into your bubble intermittently to recharge – avoid social media, avoid the news and toxic people…just you and the good stuff – self-care, get enough sleep, eat well and do things that make you smile. We are all under so much pressure to get things done and work through never-ending to-do lists.

Step off the treadmill regularly and take time to reset yourself. I would go crazy if I didn’t take time out to be by myself and have selfish me-time. Do some “mesearch” – finding out about things that you could do – try learning a musical instrument, take horse riding lessons or book a trip to somewhere new. Give back, spend time with your favourite people at times, volunteer, or just spend time meditating and refocusing.

Feeling happy is possible even when life is stressful. You control what you want to focus on, think about so ask yourself whether your focus is on the stuff that aggravates you or whether you make the effort to think about things that make you feel happy and inspired. All we have true control over is what we think about and what we do. Focus inwards to help yourself build good solid foundation from which to go forth and manage the tricky life stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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