Friday, May 8, 2015

Making Life Easier Hacks: Creating a Habitat of Happiness/Contentment When Affected by a Chronic Condition

While it’s difficult to judge someone’s level of contentment/happiness, there are now well understood conditions that promote these feelings, which for many affected by chronic conditions, can seem elusive. Keep in mind that it’s healthier to have steady levels of contentment versus bursts of extreme happiness.

Today’s “Making Life Easier Hacks” is about what you can do to create an environment (habitat) that promotes feelings of well being, happiness and contentment.  Additional Making Life Easier Hacks appears at the end of this post.

• Take care of the basic three: Exercise (15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, gardening, walking the dog, dancing, Qigong etc.); Sufficient sleep for you  (more than 8 seems to be too much and less than six is too little, however, individuals vary in this need);  healthy diet (plant slant diet with five servings of fruits and veg a day).
• Put down your cellphone. Excessive use of cellphones is associated with higher anxiety and reduced happiness. Same goes for social media and sites like Facebook.

• Laugh and smile. Even if you don’t feel like it. The act of doing either triggers lots of good things in the brain and helps to cut short negative thoughts

• Socialize: We’re social animals, so spending at least three hours daily engaging in meaningful ways with others can do wonders for your levels of contentment.

• Spend time outdoors: Spending as little as 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosts mood but also broadens thinking and improves working memory.

• Help others: Make yourself available to help someone that needs it. A minimum of two hours a week has been shown to improve mood. Basically, spending about 15 minutes a day helping someone else has a big pay off.

• Conscious act of kindness: Send a short e-mail or text praising or thanking someone each morning. Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good.

• Recognize What You Are Grateful For: Set aside time each day to recognize and be thankful for three things that you experienced in the previous 24 hours. A good cup of coffee, amazing sunset, hearing from a friend, a complement, the aroma of dinner in the oven, all count. Write these down as well as journal about positive experiences for two minutes. Keep in mind that Contentment is the appreciation for what we have.

• Scan for the positives in life

• Install happiness triggers in your home, office, car and anywhere you spend a lot of time: Pictures of loved ones, collection of thank you notes, good reading books scattered around, musical instrument out of its case and ready for you to play, even a freshly made bed can do wonders. This coming Wednesday’s Take a Break will be all about creating happiness triggers.

• Practice Your Spirituality or Faith

Concentrated breathing -Take a Break and Breath. Some call it meditation, but just 2 minutes a day where you stop and concentrate on breathing will help you feel calmer. If

• Check out the Science of Happiness Infographic for more ideas. 

Other “Hacks” in this Series
• Food

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