Its the age of virtual living; you could easily feel defeated and depressed by just watching some pictures of your friends holidaying in an exotic location.
Sometimes, our motivation to do something could be just to post that selfie on Facebook. Some days, our self-worth plummets because nobody commented on our status, or worse; the status update burgeoned into a war of words in the virtual world. Even though it is the virtual world, the effects can be very real.
It doesn’t take much to go down the rabbit hole in a spiraling combination of self-doubt and low self-esteem. In this day and age, how do we safeguard our levels of happiness and motivation? Turns out, it can be done through a series of small, incremental changes in your life.
Here are 9 ways to reclaim your happiness:
1. Being aware of physical triggers
Start by paying attention to your body. Many health experts suggest that your mood and motivation levels are in direct correlation with how your body feels. If your stomach is heavy, or you have a nagging backache, its unlikely that you will be highly motivated to go out of your comfort zone and try something radical. So, first step, fix the physical.
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” – Marilyn Monroe
2. Being aware of emotional triggers
Take time to understand yourself. You might be a person who derives energy from moving, or thinking or simply cooking. No one thing is better than the other, so throw comparison out of the window. Avoid things that make you annoyed with yourself. For example, if you feel good after ticking off everything on your to-do list, you should take care not to over-schedule yourself. Try to get all important things in your to-do schedule list- like “dinner with family”, “30 minutes of long walk”, “time with children”.
3. Being aware of your reactions
Develop the mindset to look for fixing the problem rather than fixing the blame. Most things do not go 100% as planned, factor that skewness in your plan as well. And once they go wrong, don’t go back to “if only”, ” Why didn’t you?” Focus on the problem at hand and fix it, not the blame.
4. Following a ritual
Science shows that following a ritual can provide an immense amount of stability and grounding. Also, surprisingly, following rituals increase your chances at good health and more happiness. Families that follow certain rituals are found to have higher self-esteem and better bonding. The best part is, there is no one prescribed ritual. Any ritual that you make and keep will give you the same effects.
5. Smiling more
Annoyed? Smile it off! Depressed? Smile it off! Unhappy? Smile it away! But, we smile when we feel we are in the right mood, right? Well, here’s something we should know. Studies have shown that frowning less makes you less anxious. Smiling more makes you happier. In short, your external expression feeds your internal feelings. Which is why, most happy people seek the company of kids, or music or comics or dancing when they feel the blues. Its hard to frown when you are with a 3-year old or dancing away to glory!
“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles.” – Laurie Anderson
6. Dressing the part
No matter how you feel, dressing well makes a huge impact on making it better. Dressing well also does about half the job of getting your audience’s attention. Wearing well-fitted clothes makes you feel more in control – almost instantly. So, take time to groom well.
7. Keeping in touch with people who matter
Most people overlook this, but the importance of keeping in touch with people from your past cannot be emphasized enough. It’s easy to let life take over and lost touch, or just limit interactions to “likes” on Facebook. Studies have shown that friendships increase resilience and can go a long way in countering feelings of depression and disconnectedness.
8. Being kinder
Kindness makes better relationships. Kindness obviously makes the recipient happier. That’s pretty obvious! However, scientists have studied the effects of kindness on the brain of the perpetrator and it is shown to increase happiness and a feeling of connectedness and belonging. The good thing is, it doesn’t even have to be material exchange. A gentle email, a call to check on somebody will all leave you feeling happier.
9. Making that decision
If you are on the brink of a major decision, putting off that decision can be a major impediment to your happiness. Decision-making is an important skill and the earlier you make that decision, the more enthusiasm you will have to carry out the idea. Most successful people will testify to the fact that making informed decisions require significant will-power and sometimes it’s the most important part of anything- both in personal and professional lives.
“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows” – Ralph Marston
Being aware of these seemingly small things can have a huge cumulative effect on your sense of well-being and self-esteem. The secret to motivation is increased mindfulness and the art of knowing yourself begins with you today.