Happier in 3 Steps
BY Lisa Wyckoff October 8, 2019
With the hustle of the world today, it’s easy to get lost in the busyness of everyday life. Unfortunately, the busier we are the less we pay attention to ourselves, our health, and our enjoyment of the world around us. Here are three simple elements to incorporate into your life to feel happier, healthier, more satisfied, and maybe even more sexy!
We all know that exercise is essential. But do you have any idea why it is so important? Exercise helps every part of your body. It helps to reduce stress, regulate mood, and it can even decrease symptoms of depression by increasing endorphins within the brain. Endorphins are hormones associated with happy and positive thoughts. So exercise will not just help you feel happier at the moment; exercise can help you be happier in general. Many people think incorporating an exercise program into their daily lives means spending countless hours sweating away at the gym, but it doesn’t have to be so scary!
Although working up a heavy sweat now and again is important, the Mayo Clinic finds that simple daily changes to your activity level can also induce positive changes in all aspects of your life, with some that may even surprise you:
- Increased mood, self-confidence & self-esteem: Exercise builds muscle, reduces weight, and increases endorphins and other “happy” chemicals in the brain. Put these things together and they all add up to higher self-esteem, a boost in self-confidence, and better moods overall.
- Increased energy level: Adding more movement into your day can improve your muscle strength and endurance level. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, which helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. The more cardiovascular endurance your body has, the more energy you will have. So take the stairs and park in the last row—any extra movement in your day will help!
- Better sleep: Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. Just don’t exercise right before bed!
- Better sex life (woo-hoo!): Better sleep + increased confidence + more energy = better sex life! Regular exercise may even enhance arousal in women and decrease the likelihood of erectile dysfunction in men. If that’s not enough to get you moving, I don’t know what is!
Mindfulness is a fancy word for being focused and present in the moment. We spend so much of our time thinking about what could happen, contemplating the “what ifs,” and being plugged in that often we forget to live in the moment. Believe it or not, scrolling through your Facebook feed, taking selfies, or texting with your best friend is not living in the moment. Mindfulness does not necessarily mean sitting cross-legged and chanting “Om” repeatedly, but it does mean giving full attention to your current thoughts and your breath. It means actually being in and feeling the moment.
Even Pitbull once sang “I just want to feel this moment.” I’m pretty sure he was talking about meditation! By now we have all heard of the numerous benefits of mindfulness, like reducing stress and alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. A study done by a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School found that daily meditation can literally change your brain. These are some of the awesome benefits of daily mindfulness practice:
- Increased body satisfaction: A recent study found that women who participated in self-compassion meditation made significant gains in their overall body appreciation and self-compassion.
- Improved symptoms of illness: Although not a replacement for traditional medical treatment, meditation has been found to decrease symptoms of certain medical conditions—especially conditions worsened by stress. Some of these conditions include depression, tension headaches, and sleep issues.
- Better sex life (whomp, there it is again!): Because of all the other amazing benefits of meditation you will be less stressed, have more confidence, feel happier, be more focused and, in turn, have more (and better) sex!
The idea of gratitude is straightforward. It is taking the time to reflect on and feel thankful for good things in your life. These “things” don’t have to be things at all. They can be people, moments, experiences, objects, accomplishments, the night sky, the morning sun, laughing with friends, a glass of wine, anything! The positive benefits that come with practicing gratitude are endless, but some include:
- Increased life satisfaction: Two psychologists conducted a study that had participants write down things they were grateful for throughout the week, while another group wrote down their irritations. At the end of the study the gratitude group reported feeling more optimistic and better about their lives. They also exercised more and had fewer trips to the doctor than the irritated group.
- Increase in happiness: Having an attitude of gratitude allows people to be more grateful and appreciate for what they already have, and less focused on what they don’t. Gratitude generates positive emotions like contentment, joy, and love, which can override negative emotions like anxiety.
- Better sex life (come on, you knew this was coming!): You remember that feeling you first had with your partner? The feeling where you couldn’t wait to rip each other’s clothes off every time you saw each other? For most couples bills, work, kids, maintaining a household, and a general feeling of taking each other for granted often replaces the feeling of “I want you naked right now.” Taking time each day to write down your gratitude toward your partner is an excellent way to start getting those feelings back. Think about all the things you love about your partner. The ways you still find them attractive or sexy, or how they make you smile or laugh. Daily focus on these positive traits will have you hot and heavy again in no time!
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