Today’s blog has been inspired by three things: the start of a new year, a Meetup talk on happiness with Sarah Perrit from the Happiness Gap, and a New Scientist magazine article I read recently. They’ve all inspired me to think about what I love in my life, and to build on the steps I implemented last year for a happier and healthier lifestyle. In no particular order then, here are my new 10 ways to help you start living a happier life.
#01 Stop being so hard on yourself
New Year is traditionally the time we set our goals for the year ahead but I’ve found that goal setting can occasionally have an adverse effect. When I don’t achieve what I set out to do, I feel down and a sense of failure can creep in. It’s important to remember that the goals you set are just that, goals. The only person who’s going to judge you for what you may or may not achieve is you. Remember to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they are. As a pick me up and a reminder that I’m doing OK, I use doTERRA's Frankincense oil and Wild Orange oil (combined in a roller bottle with fractionated coconut oils as a perfume) and Rose Touch.
#02 Set Clear Personal Boundaries
It’s very easy to take on too much, particularly when you run your own business. But that can lead to burnout, disillusionment, and overwhelm. You need to recognise the warning signs, the consequences, and learn to say NO. Taking responsibility for your feelings and putting yourself first is important. Self-care is not selfish. Try to have some ‘me’ time every day – a chance to take stock and give your brain a rest – meditation, a short walk, listening to a piece of music, or reading a chapter of a book.
#03 Dark times aren’t always bad
Sometimes good things can come from the dark times. Sarah says emotions are our guidance system and if you can make peace with wherever you are, you will be able to accept that everything is right for you right now. When I’m feeling down, I use doTERRA's Console Blend or Neroli Touch to help me get back on track and be grateful for the lesson learned.
#04 Lower your expectations
Sometimes things won’t go the way you want them to but you can’t argue with reality. Think about dropping “should” and “shouldn’t” and change to what you “could” do. Drama can become addictive but the pressure it brings is not what you need for a happy and healthy lifestyle. Wild Orange and Peppermint essential oils combined can work wonders for focus and motivations.
#05 Drop the comparisons
It’s also important to stop comparing yourself with others. Everyone is different and we are not all in the same place in our life journeys. Comparison is the thief of joy, as the saying goes, so please don’t let another’s apparent success cloud your own light. Bergamot essential oil is wonderful for self-acceptance and confidence.
#06 Live with more gratitude and appreciation
One of my favourite things to do is keep a daily (OK, sometimes weekly!) gratitude journal. It’s nothing very fancy but I like to keep track of things that make me happy and that I’m grateful for. In times of stress or doubt, looking back on the things that I love or those who have shown appreciation for something I’ve done gives me the motivational boost I need. Those of you who subscribe to my newsletters will have noticed that I always sign off “With love and gratitude”; it’s something I really do live by.
#07 Live with more tenderness
This is straight from Sarah’s Happiness talk and it really resonated with me: drop the fight to be right. Think about whether it’s better to be right, or to be kind and happy. Incidentally, someone gave my husband this excellent piece of advice just before we got married! Something to ask yourself, particularly in times of stress, is how can you be more loving and kind?
And leading on from that, how can you start helping others and “paying it forward”? Simple acts like making a cup of tea, cooking their favourite meal, or even a pampering AromaTouch massage, are all ways of showing tenderness to your loved ones.
#08 Stop your gym membership and start embracing nature
Have you ever started a gym membership or similar in January? Only to lapse within a short space of time and never go again? How much nicer (and cheaper!) would it be to go for a walk or run in your local park instead? Studies have shown that getting outside in nature is a way of reconnecting with ourselves as, well as all the fresh air benefits. Running has become a way of life for me and my family, no matter what the weather is like. Deep Blue rub is my favourite for sore muscles after exercise.
#09 Start learning a new language
This is something I want to try to make time for this year. Learning a new language has so many benefits including brain growth, boosting memory, improving attention and more. I’m hoping to have some trips to Spain in the near future so I will be looking at brushing up on my Spanish.
#10 Make your bed every day
This is another of Sarah’s ideas and I couldn’t not include it! Far from just a fun tip, making your bed every day has so many benefits, as Former Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Admiral Bill McRaven says:
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made.”
I hope these 10 ways to start living a happier life are food for thought. I would love to hear which ones are your favourites, how you get on if you implement any of them, or any other ideas you have for how to live a happier life. And in the meantime, please remember, even the smallest accomplishments are still worthwhile, so don’t take that act of bed making for granted!
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Happy and healthy living!