Happiness is an Inside Job: 4 Tips for a Stress-Free Life

Everyone feels stressed out and down periodically; it’s part of being human. We’re designed to feel a range of deep emotions, including ones we don’t like. However, no matter how stressful life seems to get, there are ways to pull yourself up and rediscover the magic of being alive.

When you’re feeling stressed, here are some ideas to help you relax and feel like yourself again.

1. Choose to be happy before getting out of bed

Choosing to be happy before getting out of bed sets the tone for your entire day. Before you get out of bed to tend to your daily obligations, close your eyes and say to yourself, “today I choose to be happy.” Although our moods are largely influenced by outer circumstances, happiness can be a choice in the midst of any circumstance.

Choosing happiness impacts other people

Maintaining a positive attitude regardless of what you meet in the external world will make you (and those you interact with) feel better. Being conscious of your mood will leave others feeling good after interacting with you. This is especially important in business where negative customer interactions have the potential to harm your reputation.

Say you’re a business owner and a customer requests a refund while you’re feeling depressed. If you allow your mood to color your interaction, you’ll be more likely to come across as uncaring or indifferent. Your customer will then share their negative experience all over the internet.

2. Meditate first thing when you wake up

How you wake up is how your day will go. If you jump up out of bed in a frantic state of mind, your day will be chaos.

Take a few minutes to meditate before pulling off your covers and venturing out into the world. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and alleviate depression along with a host of related symptoms. If you’re not sure how to meditate, it’s actually quite easy.

Practice simple meditation in bed

If you’ve never meditated, you’re probably familiar with the concept of guided meditations and other complex forms of meditation. However, benefiting from meditation doesn’t require complexity. In fact, simple meditation is often superior.

To begin a simple meditation, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and relax as deeply as possible. Repeat this process until you’ve released all the tension in your body and you feel relaxed. Take a slow, deep, controlled breath and keep your focus on that breath. When your lungs are full, exhale slowly until your lungs are empty. Continue to breathe deeply while focusing on your breath for about five minutes. If any thoughts or images arise (they will), return your focus to your breathing.

When you’re done and you get out of bed, you’ll feel pleasantly calm and peaceful.

3. Meditate before going to sleep

Have you ever woken up in the same bad mood you went to sleep with? If you meditate before you go to sleep, you’ll be more likely to wake up in a neutral mood.

Meditating before bed also helps with sleep problems. Whether you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or are chronically sleep-deprived, meditation will help. Your mood will drastically improve once you’re able to get high-quality, deep sleep every night.

4. Linger on your positive experiences

There’s a natural tendency to focus on negative experiences, so it might take some practice to start focusing on the positive. However, it’s not impossible. Opportunities to focus on positive experiences are everywhere.

According to Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of Hardwiring Happiness, told the Huffington Post, “people don’t recognize the hidden power of everyday experiences. We’re surrounded by opportunities – 10 seconds here or 20 seconds there – to just register useful experiences and learn from them.”

Focus on as many positive experiences as you can. Those experiences could be as simple as smelling a fragrant flower or spending time with your kids. Place your attention on whatever makes you smile.

Check in with yourself throughout the day

As you go through your day, check in with yourself. If you’re starting to feel stressed out or anxious, take three deep breaths and bring your attention to the present moment. You don’t have to allow yourself to be influenced by your circumstances in a negative way.

We don’t choose all of the circumstances in our lives, but we can always choose how we respond to those circumstances.

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