Tag Archives: authentic self
If you’ve never tried meditating, I can’t recommend it enough! The lasting effects on your personal well being are just so massive, and this is something you can do in your own home – without spending a dime or even going out of your way to prepare or set up.
Meditation encompasses a rather large portion of different, more specific practices, but at its root, meditating is about relaxation, controlling your mind and body, and clearing away the cluttered thoughts that cause so much tension in all of our lives.
And people have long understood the benefits that meditation can bring in terms of an overall sense of calm, better sleep, relieving physical tension in the body, and a lasting sense of peace – but studies have shown that meditation actually helps the brain reduce stress reactions and increases brain activity in areas associated with compassion, self-awareness, and happiness!
Meditating even one single time makes these positive effects all the more apparent – the good vibes and calm sensations stick with you throughout the day, and as it becomes a part of your normal routine, these feelings of calm acceptance and harmony with the world around you only last longer.
The same sensations of relaxation and oneness actually prime our brains for increased empathy, which means we have an easier time connecting with others (another important element of happiness). Not only does this happen in the first few minutes after meditating, regular meditation can also change your brain chemistry in a long-term way, rewiring your brain for increased happiness!
You don’t even have to take my word for it. Try it out and see!
There are plenty of great meditation aids available out there, that will walk you through steps to relaxation and controlled breathing, and once you’ve got a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to do it all on your own.
Just give it a shot, and I promise that you’ll immediately see the benefits!
You’re your own person, right? Everything you say, do, feel, or think – it’s all going on with you and no one else. No matter how we might be influenced, our experiences and actions are not shared with others.
When you really think about it, everything that goes on inside our heads is untouched territory – as individuals, we are the only people who have any say about what goes on in there. At first thought, this might feel a little isolating, but instead, let this realization make you feel empowered! You’re in control! At the end of the day, you’re running the show, no matter what anyone else has to say about it.
And with this in mind, here’s a tip to help you maintain your happiness and optimism, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it:
Don’t give away your power to control your actions and emotions.
If something stressful happens, or someone tries to put you down, don’t give away your power!
If someone makes a snide remark, intentionally (or accidentally) does something that upsets you, or tries directly to make you feel bad, that is ON THEM. If you let these kinds of things get under your skin and dictate your reactions, your mood, etc., you have given away your power to control your own happiness.
Since you are your own master, shouldn’t that mean that you get to choose whether or not you let something upset you?
If someone’s foolish actions are starting to bother you, remember the role that your own choices play before you get upset. You have to acknowledge their behavior, and choose to let it affect the mood that you have control over.
When you can learn to hold on to that power over your own moods and actions, you gain a new sense of calm. You start to understand that you can deal with a situation or respond to a problem without letting yourself get out of control, that recognizing something that could make you angry and getting angry are two very different things.
Holding onto this power over your own mood is essential living a happy life. There will always be stressful situations and people who bother you – that you cannot control – but you can control how you react to them. Don’t let outside forces strip you of your power to be happy – your happiness is up to you and you alone!
In the pursuit of happiness, many people hold the opinion that an improved body image would make them happier. With this for motivation, people hit the gym, start dieting, and look to make other lifestyle changes that will help them achieve the ideal body they desire.
While this is usually just fine, it’s worth noting that healthy and “fit” are not always the same thing, and focusing too much on a desired body image (instead just focusing on having a healthy body) can be quite damaging.
We all have different body types – different shapes, sizes, needs, deficiencies, etc. – and that means that while there might be an “ideal” version of your unique body, setting your sights on certain appearance may actually be counterproductive to your health and happiness.
To maximize looking and feeling good, it’s important to make it about YOU and your individual needs. Choose the diet that is right for you and your own chemistry, choose a workout regimen that fits with your life, and make sure your point of comparison is yourself!
Look for improvements in your own progress instead of comparing yourself to someone who isn’t you!
Making your efforts to slim down or get in shape about the desirable image of someone else’s body is not only unrealistic, it can also lead to unhealthy diets, overexertion, and in the long-term, disappointment when this ideal is unreachable – no matter how much progress you make.
If you want to be happy about your body, focus on your health first, and the “fit” version of your body will emerge. Some people are thin but terribly unhealthy, others are less thin, but in excellent health and the best shape of their lives. No two bodies will be exactly the same, so worry about your own.
If you want to be more muscular, thinner, etc., work toward that goal, but not with the image of a particular athlete, model, or celebrity in mind. Create the body you want out of the body you have, and do so with your health at the top of the priority list.
You may think that it’s about looks, but feeling good because of your healthy body will bring so much more happiness than an appearance.
Did you know the act of smiling is good for you? The simple gesture, one that most of us think of as showing other people how we feel, can actually affect our own happiness as well!
In fact, smiling has a way of working like a feedback loop: when something pleasant happens, and the muscles in your face make you smile, the act of smiling actually reinforces those positive feelings by sending more “feel good” sensations to your brain, which in turn make you smile even more!
And because smiling tells your brain that you feel good, even a manufactured smile can help bring about sensations of happiness! Thinking of a pleasant memory (to make yourself smile), or even just practicing the motions of your genuine smile, will actually make you feel happier!
These smiles stack up too! Smiling leads to more smiling, of course, but also reduces stress, can help foster improved social interactions and relationships, and even lead to a more successful career and a longer life!
A pair of studies, one focused on success and happiness in women, the other on longevity in men, both looked at the sincerity and quality of smiles in photographs for correlation to a long and/or happy life.
Both the “yearbook study” (focused on women) and the “baseball card study” (focused on men) found a strong correlation between those showing full, genuine smiles and longer, happier, more successful lives!
Smiles reinforce happiness and confidence, help maintain relationships, and help others connect with you, so why not make a point to smile as often as possible?
Flashing a smile has so much impact, but most of us never consider it as a way to actually grow our levels of happiness. We assume that we smile when we’re happy, but never that smiling can make us happy!
Now that you know, get to putting it into practice! Smile as often as you can, even when you have to do it consciously – it’s such a simple little thing, but makes a world of difference.
Romantic relationships can be some of the most rewarding and fulfilling things we ever experience, and they can also be some of the most painful, stressful, gut-wrenching experiences we ever endure. Human beings are terribly complex, with all of our hangups and emotional responses, our needs and wants, our selfishness…
There’s an awful lot going with every last one of us.
This stuff gets even muddier when we try to mix two people together. Suddenly, all of those shortcomings and personality traits have to coexist with another person – who is just as full of individuality as you are.
So how can you possibly make it work?
It’s simple really: if you want to be in a happy relationship, you have to be happy with YOU first.
Part of coming together and sharing yourself with another person is about what you can do to mutually improve each other’s lives. It’s about growing together and creating a sum that is greater than the parts. But if one (or both) of the people involved are unhappy with themselves, their station in life, their notion of self-worth, then the opposite is likely to happen, and people will drag each other down.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with an unhappy person you know this is true. Unhappy people (though it isn’t necessarily their fault) probably won’t want to seek out new experiences to share, or be supportive when you need it most, or even be able to enjoy your company because of the shroud they live beneath.
To be able to contribute the happiness of another person, you first have to be able to own your own happiness. If you aren’t happy with your body or personality, how will you feel about another person being attracted to it? Will you even be able to believe the compliments they give you?
I’m not suggesting that you have to be perfect, or that you need to exorcise all of your demons before you even think about a relationship. I’m saying that if you want to find joy with another person, you first have to know how to find joy on your own – or at least be on the lookout.
Positivity tends to breed positivity, and vice versa. A person with an optimistic worldview is going to help others, support others, and look to the world with open arms. People struggling with unhappiness, however, tend to close themselves off, to feel distrusting of the world, to find the bad in everything. Which seems like a more capable partner?
Happiness doesn’t come from other people. It has to start within first, and only when that inner happiness begins to grow, can we effectively share it with someone else.
Even if you’re already in a relationship, look to build your own happiness first. The happier you are as an individual, the greater your contributions will be to the relationship. Problems are easier to solve, setbacks are less stressful, and you’ll both be able to lift each other up, not drag each other down.