Health

20 Lessons for Happiness

After having a roof over their heads and food in their belly, happiness is usually the goal that most people aspire to reach. It may sound simple enough however many things can get in the way. If you are looking for ways to feel happier in your own life here are some things to remember.

  1. Stop caring about what others think. (Especially strangers) Embrace the quote: “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch  
  2. Learn how to deal with endings. Endings happen ALL the time, you move, a friend moves, you change job, a relationship finishes. Ideally we should be able to learn from all of our experiences (even the hard ones) and move onto something better.
  3. Find a physical activity that you enjoy. Staying fit doesn’t have to be about looking a certain way, it will help make you feel better emotionally as well. If the gym isn’t your thing, try running, yoga or join a team near you so you can make friends as well as breaking a sweat.
  4. Notice how food affects your mood. Serotonin is the brains natural mood regulator, depending on what foods you eat it can increase or decrease. Food also affects our energy levels, food high in sugar will give you a boost followed by a crash. Once you become aware of the impact of your diet it will be easier to choose food that keeps you on an even keel. 
  5. Let go of people who bring you down. Having a negative person around can make the world seem like a pretty bad place. Try to limit the amount of time spent with that kind of personality. If that’s not possible then try to be around in body but not in mind. 
  6. Find friends who you can have real conversations with. There are so many facets to life, make sure you have people who you can debate the big questions with, it will make you feel less alone.
  7. Don’t believe everything you read/see/hear in the media. Often you are being sold to, be critical.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others. Like you, everyone is just trying to get through each day. You can’t know the journey of another at first glance so don’t make assumptions.
  9. Start speaking to yourself like a friend. If that sounds too difficult try speaking to yourself like an acquaintance who you would like to get to know better. Therefore it would not be in your best interest to constantly put them down.
  10. Everyone feels like they are a little crazy. And in truth we all are, I am convinced there is no such thing as ‘normal’.
  11. Just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. 
  12. Don’t judge your feelings. Our emotions don’t have to be good or bad, they just are. Telling yourself that you should feel any different then you do isn’t helpful. If a friend came to you upset would you tell them they are being stupid? I doubt it and remember, you are talking to yourself like a friend now.
  13. Be comfortable with your own company. Who do you spend more time with but yourself? 
  14. Embrace change. Change is constant, the better you can adapt to it the less overwhelmed you will feel.
  15. Be positive. You’ll live longer.
  16. Be aware of your ‘baggage’. We all have our own emotional issues, that’s okay. Knowing what yours is will make it easy to connect.
  17. Find your passion. 
  18. Let go of ‘should’ and ‘should not’. Why shouldn’t you be exactly where you are, doing exactly what you are doing?
  19. It’s never to late to change. If you don’t like your life/relationship/job etc. then change it. Yes it may be difficult but if you don’t want to be in this same place in 5 years time then change has to happen.
  20. Fear is a liar. Fear will gain your trust and make you think it knows best, it doesn’t. Be hopeful and excited about things to come.

“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” – Ayn Rand

 

Course Information

Empowerment Through Self Care

Far too many of us focus on the day to day in our lives. Forgetting to mind ourselves amidst all the hustle and bustle. We are busy with jobs, children, friends and family. In all that busyness do you ever take time for yourself? Can you, without feeling guilty?

I have always loved the analogy of oxygen masks on an airplane. We are told to put our masks on before helping anyone else. Why is that? Because if you need that mask to breathe but focus on everyone else you could suffocate. Are you going through your life making sure everyone else can breathe without asking if you can?

If so, why not take two hours a week, for eight weeks, just for you. Giving you the chance to better get to know yourself. Through this self development you can learn how to better care for yourself. We will cover subjects such as: guilt, motivation, self esteem, trust and more.

CEQFYjW

Past participants of the course have had this to say:

“This course has been a real help to me, to understand me! For the first time I am in tune with me.”

“I would highly recommend this course, it gives you an inside view of yourself. It seems to cover a lot of issues and it’s an introduction to yourself, to see who you really are.’

“It gives you insights into your behaviour and habits and how to make improvements in emotional well being.”

Further Information:

  • When: Beginning September 24th and running for 8 weeks, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
  • Where: Siochan Counselling, 9 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2.
  • Cost: €15 a week. Pay in full to get one week free > €105
  • All supplies including tea, coffee and snacks will be provided.

If you are interested in joining please contact me at: 085 133 6644, or by email: adastratherapy@gmail.com

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Depression

With the recent suspected suicide of Robin Williams a limelight has been shone on what could have led him to do this. Which has brought attention to depression, and how without help it mentally chips away at those who suffer from it.

It’s a shame it takes the death of someone in Hollywood to draw attention to a disease in which hundreds of millions of people suffer from.

It can make you feel isolated and alone, forcing you to wear a mask. A brave face to show the world unable to share the pain that is really being felt.

There seem to be many comedians who suffer from depression themselves. Perhaps that’s because those who battle depression experience a flat affect, no emotional responses to situations or experiences. Seeing that they can make others experience joy and laughter gives them purpose. However, at the end of the day if you don’t have love for yourself the love of others means nothing.

depression

If you are suffering from depression, get help. Although you feel alone in the darkness, you don’t have to be. Those feelings are a symptom of the disease. I had done a previous post with a focus on talking to someone when you are feeling down, you can read that here. It’s never too late to reach out, to ask for help, it could save your life.

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” -Laurell K. Hamilton

Weight, what?

The Summer months are fast approaching and even if it weren’t for the change of weather I would know. How? Well the push to make people feel bad about their bodies of course. Cosmopolitan has an entire section of their website dedicate entirely to how to be ‘bikini ready’. It seems to me that a bathing suit ready body is more a state of mind rather than a size but I imagine that doesn’t sell as well.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 16.25.53

I was recently reading a great article from Cracked.com where a woman shared her experience of being in a weight loss commercial. I have seen how before and after pics can be doctored, I know about the camera tricks. However it is amazing when you see some of these transformations and hear the ‘testimonials’. She explains how the individuals involved are never on the same program and how they blatantly lie to tug at insecurities many of us face. I recommend a read as it is eye-opening and a little terrifying

No carbs, no sugar, sleep 8 hours a night, drink 8 glasses of water, exercise 5 days a week. We have all been told over and over again what to do to lose weight. On a very logical level we know that if you eat poorly, you feel poorly and look poorly. That little voice in your head beats you up yet you keep munching. Most of us do so the question is, why?

My hunch is that somewhere along the way we’re taught that unhealthy food is a treat. It’s something that is used to comfort, to make us feel better when we’re down. The problem is that a lot of these treat foods can have very addictive qualities. Our brain can get a high off these foods. We love the way it feels to eat them, no matter the consequences.

enhanced-14878-1398455387-2

If you are hoping to feel better about yourself this Summer I recommend you start with a food journal. This is not about keeping track of your calorie intake, it’s not that type of journal. It is about writing down how you feel when you’re eating. For example:

1:00pm – Had a sandwich for lunch, decided to skip breakfast which felt really good.

2:00pm – Tea break, had low-fat milk and 4 biscuits. Jesus, I feel fat already. What is wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just have one?

5:00pm – Had a take away for dinner. It’s shit food but I had a shit day. Ugh, I feel miserable…

If you have a negative relationship with food that can change. Instead of focusing on a number on a scale take some time to sit with your feelings. As your attitude towards food changes so will your attachment to it. Or maybe you’ll learn it’s how you comfort, numb or grieve. If that’s the case then talking to someone can help, you don’t have to deal with all of life’s stresses on your own.

Starting today don’t beat yourself up for what you’re eating. Take some time to explore why you’re eating. I did an article on body image a few months ago, if you feel like reading more have a look.

“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles.” – Laurie Halse Anderson

Time to Declutter

Welcome to January, the Monday of the year. Step one is to ignore any of the adverts and articles that make you feel bad about yourself. Step two is to do something that makes you feel good.

Decluttering is a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment. Start with 1 cupboard or closet, not the whole house. If you start too big then if you run out of time or energy you’ll be disappointed that you didn’t finish. This website aptly named uncluttered.com has tips for organisation and how to declutter most spaces.  Here you can read on why it’s important to have less clutter in your life and house as well as lots of advice on what to do to get started.

Karen Kingston the author of  Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui writes “When all your available space is filled with clutter, there is no room for anything new to come into your life. Your thoughts tend to dwell in the past, and you feel bogged down with problems that have dogged you for some time. You tend to look back rather than forward in your life, blaming the past for your current situation rather than taking responsibility for creating a better tomorrow.”

Holding onto items of the past which hold emotional meaning for us means we’re stuck in that time. It’s difficult to move forward when everything in your house ties you to the past. In the present your surrounded by stuff that may not have use for you anymore. As a culture we often link our identity to things. ‘Look how successful I am, I have lots of stuff.’

I don’t want my legacy to be a house full of stuff. I want it to be that I was a good person, surrounded by love. That cannot be stuffed in a pantry.

Starting today try to part with the items you haven’t used, the clothes you haven’t worn and the papers you won’t read. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment but you can feel a sense of letting go.

While you start this I recommend listening to some supportive music that allows you to enjoy clearing a space. The chorus of this song is ‘keep your head up, keep your heart strong.’ Words that can prove remarkably beneficial.

Make 2014 the year you work on you for you. Do something you feel good about.

“Freedom…is the act of releasing ourselves from the bondage of that which keeps us from living the life we were meant to live.” – Kelli Wilson

Feeling guilty?

Guilt is one of those emotions that can often make us do things we don’t want too. It’s usually paired with ‘I should be doing this’ or ‘I shouldn’t be doing that’.

Letting ourselves be controlled by guilt can lead to feelings of unhappiness. If you’re doing things out of obligation it’s difficult to enjoy yourself. Or if you’re beating yourself up from something that happened in the past it’s impossible to be in the present.

There are many facets of guilt, you can feel guilty because you:

  • Did something wrong
  • Think you did something wrong
  • Didn’t do something that you should have
  • Were told you did something that hurt someone else

This list goes on.

604102_459713434096187_2003333116_n

You’re feeling the way you’re feeling because guilt is linked to shame. Shame is a very difficult and vulnerable space. It’s defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress, caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. Shame is something we find at a young age which means it’s hard to let go of. However, there are things you can do to help you with your guilty conscience.

Wiki How has some suggestions to help you deal with guilt, including recognising if you should be feeling guilty in the first place.

If you have wronged someone then you need to accept that and try to fix what has happened. If that’s not possible then you need to learn from what you did and make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you aren’t learning from the behaviour then the guilt will stick. If you want to learn about how to deal with your guilt, there are more tips here.

I also recommend looking at the things you do in your life for you and the things you do out of guilt. Start doing more for you and less for guilt. Don’t go visit your angry father because you feel a duty too. You’re just giving the guilt the power and taking power away from yourself. Why do you deserve to be in pain to make someone else feel better?

It’s important to remember that guilt like every other emotion is a choice, a decision made. Not an easy choice but you are the only one that controls how you react in a situation. Decide you won’t let guilt call the shots anymore and untie that knot in your belly.

“There’s no problem so awful, that you can’t add some guilt to it and make it even worse.” – Bill Watterson