Why is it when we say no to plans, they think we are selfish? In truth, we’re no good to others, if we’re not good to ourselves.
Let’s face it. Sometimes we are what’s making us miserable. We just can’t stop thinking about how so-and-so wronged us, or how our life didn’t turn out as we hoped. Negative thought processes —such as worrying, self-judgment, and fear of rejection —only keep us more miserable.
On my search for authenticity, I realized rather quickly that, instead of jumping head first, answering deep questions of self-identity, it’s actually best to start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and eating foods that have always been food. Science backs this up. These two factors have a huge impact on happiness. The thing is, other day-to-day circumstances also play a role in our mood.
And if these factors can make us miserable, there have to be others that will make us happy, right? Yes. So here are five self-care tips that can help you make it without faking it.
Are you ready? Hell yes.
1. Take a break from social media.
Most people won’t admit how much social media actually means, or has meant, to them. Except, social media tends to have a negative impact on our happiness. By choosing to take a break from yours —or simply changing the way you use it —you can actually boost your mood.
“After six years of heavy social media use, nearly every waking hour of every single day, it was time for a break,” recalls, Online Entrepreneur, Jason Zook. In short, he was fed up because he lost control. “I was upset with my diminishing social reach due to networks bursting at the seams with users. I also started to become cynical and jealous of people.”
So for 30 days, he quit social media cold turkey and implemented a self-imposed detox. What do you think the end result was? Zook’s productivity, attention span and clarity of thought all increased greatly. “I felt like I broke bad habits (refreshing feeds and checking notifications) in a very short period of time,” he explains. “If all of that can be done in just 30 days? It’s well worth trying.”
2. Change it up.
How are you supposed to improve your life by doing the same things you’ve always done? It’s hard AF. But if you can push yourself to overcome fear, you can approach life with enthusiasm. Because your perspective is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure, which I can attest to too.
So try doing the opposite to see how it feels. This will make your brain more flexible. And if a friend invites you out, pick a date and time that work for you.
3. Build meaningful connections.
Did you know we enjoy just about everything more when we do it with others? This is why one of the best things you can do for your happiness is to build meaningful relationships and social connections. To strengthen these bonds, practice kindness and gratitude towards the people you care about. And tell them if something is bothering you. I bet they care if you’re unhappy.
4. Find your purpose.
Who doesn’t want to feel like we’ve made some sort of positive influence in this world? I know I do. Sometimes we’re just uncertain of the type of impact we want to make. So why not explore exactly what gives you a sense of purpose and how you want to pursue this purpose to give your life a greater sense of meaning.
For example, to boost your baseline-level happiness, you can try changing your body’s biology through nutrition and exercise. To maintain your happiness, you have to get out of the house by adding variety to your happiness plan. So instead of breaking out your yoga mat alone, go to a class. You may even make a friend.
5. Stay mindful.
Sometimes we want to escape. I know I do. At times, the world seems dark and scary, but by practicing mindfulness, you can experience more fully, both the positive and the negative. As a result, you’ll feel more engaged.
If you’re running through life, anticipating what’s coming next, you miss what’s happening right now. Slow down. Instead of jumping, roll with the punches. Try starting your day with meditation. You may be surprised that this small change can actually alter how you go about the rest of your day.
When everything is said and done, it’s all about perspective —your attitude changes everything. Happiness is really just a state of mind. It’s all about small attainable goals that add up big time. Cut yourself some slack. It’s okay to sleep in and say no to an invitation every once in a while. But I’m challenging you to accept the next one. Because we can only grow when we leave our comfort zones.