It’s easy to get caught up in the dramas of our life and forget that we actually have it pretty good. We’re surrounded by happy snaps on social media that make us question the reality and fulfilment of our own lives, forgetting that these are just the happiest moments of another person’s life and not their full life story.
We need to stop every once in awhile and take a bit of reality check. Being happy begins in the present moment, and has nothing to do with your Instragram followers or the thousands of friends on your Facebook profile. It begins and ends with you.
Here’s a list of 5 things you can start doing now to live the life you love:
Write down 3 things that you are grateful before bed every night
Research shows that writing 3 new things for which you are grateful before bed increases your dopamine levels which is responsible for pleasurable feelings. An attitude of gratitude in your life is a great vibration to function from, as you tend to attract more for which to be grateful for when you are already grateful for what you do have.
Practice kindness towards others
Being kind towards others gives us a natural high. Other than the fact that it’s an awesome act of humanity to do something nice for another person, there are also biological benefits to kindness including releasing dopamine which gives you a natural high. Acts of kindness towards others also releases oxytocin which is known as a cardioprotective hormone (it protects the heart by lowering your blood pressure).
There are many benefits to mindfulness and this practice can be done anywhere at anytime. All it takes is 2 to 5 minutes of being presently aware, without judgement. You can use any trigger, such as your phone ringing, to take a moment to be more aware. Next time your phone rings, take a few deep breaths and come back into your body’s awareness before answering the phone. Mindfulness helps with increasing your creativity and learning, it decreases anxiety, depression and irritability, it can help improve your memory and can also increase feelings of inner peace, happiness and contentment.
Gentle exercise brings you back into present moment awareness too, but it also increases the endorphins in your body which helps regulate your get a natural high. You can combine mindfulness meditation with gentle exercise such as walking meditations, or you can go for a simple walk around the block. Yoga and tai chi are also great exercises which bring you fully back into your body and out of patterns of thought that might be causing you more anxiety. It also helps reduce the risk of chronic disease and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
Research is showing that access to the natural environment increases health and well-being, and not only helps prevent disease but also helps people recover from illnesses. There are increasing links between mental health and well-being and the availability of green spaces. Studies even show that reconnecting with nature can help alleviate depression and improve energy levels.