No one is perfect. Everyday life is stressful and demanding despite the image everyone’s highlight reel on social media may be painting. Anxiety is invisible, and we carry its silent weight of confusion all on our own. There is no shame in fighting this fight, it’s a journey to a more intentional and fulfilled life, and I believe in taking the daily steps with discipline and persistence. Today I wanted to share (and record for myself) the daily happiness guidelines that help me build and maintain a positive mindset.
Don’t force positivity.
I’m continuously working on allowing myself to be okay with not feeling happy about everything all the time. I tell myself that I don’t need to keep up a perfect image up just to prove something to others. It’s unproductive, and I waste energy fighting my emotions instead of working towards goals and solutions. No one wins in this situation.
It’s okay to be tired, sad, to need comfort, or to not feel like doing stuff sometimes. You don’t need to pretend it’s not happening. Learn to acknowledge the emotions you’re experiencing and allow yourself to be true to the here and now. It lifts the pressure of fitting into an unrealistic “always happy” picture, and prevents the resulting self-blame and anxiety.
Turn to nature.
Living in the city, always being surrounded by people, cars, things to do, schedules and deadlines, it’s hard to find time and space just for myself. I find it incredibly important to connect with nature whenever I get a chance, whether that’s just a morning walk in the park before the crowds of tourists wake up and swarm in, a weekend escape upstate for hiking and small town vibes, or caring for my windowsill plants (last weekend, we got a new green family member, meet Astrid!) Spending time around organic and natural things always reminds me to slow down and enjoy life.
We all know exercising doesn’t just improve our appearance, it also helps us to fight stress and feel happier. That being said, don’t let it become another daily pressure and avenue for self-guilt, internal negotiations and anxiety. Been there, done that. If you really don’t feel like going to the gym today, it’s better to skip it and enjoy the extra morning hours in your warm bed. Feel good about the choices you make! It’s all about WELL-being, don’t push yourself too hard on things that are supposed to be pleasant.
I’ve been pretty consistent with my workout routine in the past year ever since I’ve joined a fitness club. I easily get bored, so I mix things up all the time taking a variety of group classes from weight lifting to hot yoga. Some days, I opt for a quick morning routine at home and briskly walk everywhere instead of taking a train – gotta clock in those daily 10,000 steps! But in trying to push myself to take on this new routine, I’ve also learnt that sometimes sleeping in is more beneficial to my day than forcing myself to get up early and do a workout when I’m really not feeling it.
Shift focus outwards.
Let’s face it, self-care and wellness practices can tend to tilt our focus inwards maybe a little too much. Apparently, it’s equally important for our happiness to include other people into our efforts (surprise!) Prosocial behavior, or any action intended to help others, is powerful in reducing stress and increasing one’s sense of meaning and purpose. It doesn’t necessarily require a huge commitment or time investment to make a positive impact on someone’s life today – think of it as little acts of care and kindness: give up a seat on the subway, give an honest compliment, call someone you’re thinking about, hold the elevator doors, offer a tourist or a couple to take a photo of them… don’t overthink it!
Love the journey.
Keeping your eyes on your North Star is crucial for feeling motivated and focused, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey of getting there! This moment right now: trying, doing, experiencing, struggling, failing, winning – all of the stuff the life itself is made of. I struggle with this one, and I’m continuously learning to appreciate and love the journey and the process so I can find more joy in the everyday.
What helps you feel happier and stronger every day? Let’s talk! You can always write to me here in the comments or simply DM me on Instagram!