As a Life Design and Health Coach and the founder of a company called Healthy Happy and Hip, I think about ways to help my clients feel healthier and happier on a daily basis.
Many people think that they’ll only be happy when they get the promotion, take an exotic vacation, or lose 10 pounds, but the truth is that finding happiness long-term is more about the little things than the big things. Sure those great events will give you a short term happiness buzz but it’s all the things that we do on a daily basis to take care of ourselves that lead us to find more long-term consistent happiness. Here are a few of the things I have observed in my practice:
1. The Food/Mood Connection
The number one thing that I see impacting people‘s happiness is the food they put in their mouth. In my mind, sugar is the biggest culprit when it comes to sadness and worry, but many foods can have an impact on how we feel and eating a healthy non-inflammatory diet can give a big happiness boost.
Movement of any kind makes us feel happier. It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym or be a long-distance runner — even dancing around in your boxer shorts to your favorite tunes will boost your happiness.
Sleep is a no brainer. Is it any wonder that sleep-deprived mothers feel overwhelmed and sad? Well, it’s true for the rest of us as well. If we don’t sleep, we struggle to make it through the day and then reach for unhealthy foods which only make us feel sadder.
Meditation is a biggie when it comes to happiness and not in the way you might think. You don’t have to sit for hours to get happiness benefits. Meditation is a tool to help bring us back to the present moment. It’s been said that when we dwell in the past, we get sad and we focus on the future we can anxious. Coming back to the NOW, where everything is OK, is a way to boost happiness quickly.
5. Life Purpose and Work Worth Doing
These are very important to feeling happy. This doesn’t mean that you have to save the planet but, rather, when you wake up in the morning you have something to do that feels meaningful. This can be anything from taking care of your loved ones to helping others to simply feeling proud of your work.
6. Adding Joy, Fun, and Pleasure
Adding these in your life can make us really happy. Often times it’s the little things like sitting by the fireplace with a cup of tea, hanging out with a friend, doing something crafty, riding a bike, or other things we did as a kid that make us really happy and don’t cost much at all.
7. Surrounding Yourself with Inspiring Supportive People
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of community. Despite thinking that we are so connected via social media, we are lonelier than ever. We need real conversations with real people about our struggles and challenges and a safe space to be who we really are without judgment.
8. Focus on Other People’s Happiness
Do this to feel happier yourself. Frankly, there has been so much written about happiness that we think we are supposed to be happy all the time. This is just not possible! Try to appreciate the ebbs and flows of our emotions — it’s like the ocean coming in and out. By helping others feel happier, you will stop focusing on yourself, and reap huge benefits!
If you are feeling stressed out, stuck, and overwhelmed there are lots of us out there that can help you feel healthier and happier. Get support. Suffering is not noble!!
Lisa Lewtan is the author of the award-winning book Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed!: Calm Down, Ditch Your Inner-Critic Bitch, and Finally Figure Out What Your Body Needs to Thrive, the host of the popular podcast The Healthy View, and a Life Design and Health Coach. She received her training as a certified Holistic Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and was recently certified as a Designing Your Life Coach, in a new program based on the #1 NY Times bestselling book and class by Stanford University professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.
With private coaching, online courses, workshops, and retreats, Lisa helps highly successful hungry go-getters to slow down, de-stress, develop a better relationship with food, reframe negative self-talk, investigate habits and triggers, and set strategies for success. Lisa’s work has been featured in numerous publications including The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, MindbodyGreen, and Reader’s Digest, and has been a speaker at companies such as Kripalu, Canyon Ranch, WGBH, and Google. She will soon be presenting at the famed Rancho la Puerta in Mexico.