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How to feel better: 10 Simple Ways to Find Inner Peace

1.     Choose to stay positive – We’ve all herd the saying “fake it ‘til you make it,” well it turns out there’s actually something to that. How you think and what words you say can actually change how you feel. So even if you don’t feel like being positive telling yourself to do it anyway, through practice, does work.  By not allowing yourself to be negative or harsh, you will in turn make yourself feel good.  Force yourself to find the silver lining and eventually the glass-half-full attitude will come naturally to you. Research has proven that we do have the power to re-wire our brain and change how we feel. “feeling joy affects us on a cellular level” – Karolyn Gazella
2. You are what you eat – Ok maybe not, but you do feel what you eat. Researchers have been studying the food-mood connection for some time now. Certain foods can significantly affect your mood, some positively and some negatively. “In recent years, researchers have noted that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts) may help protect against depression” – Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

 

Preliminary research has found a link between trans-fatty acid intake and biological changes that lead to depression and refined carbs make your blood sugar spike and drop quickly, not leaving you balanced throughout the day.

 

3. Stretch in the mornings – Touch your toes, extend your arms, or do whatever feels comfortable for your body, but get that blood flowing first thing in the morning.  Stretching is a great way to get our bodies active, from your heart and blood, to your mind and your overall metabolism. It increases blood circulation and blood flow to the muscles. And this is important because it helps us to be more flexible, preventing injury, and helps us to perform everyday activities with more ease and keeps us more mobile as we age.  So take a few minutes every morning to get off on the right foot.

 
4. Know who you are – It seems somewhat silly that we would have to get to know ourselves, but it is true.  I’m not just talking about your favorite color, or who you like to hang out with, or your ideal pet. I mean taking a look inside yourself, respecting your values, your beliefs, your priorities, and your body.  Finding out your strengths and weaknesses, fears and passions and being ok with them. It’s ok to want to grow and get better, but having self-compassion along the way will allow you stay in a happy state of mind. Knowing yourself is an ongoing process, we are constantly changing. But take the time to know you and you will find inner confidence in doing so.  This confidence will transcend into your everyday life and allow you to be the best you instead of comparing yourself to others. Having a therapist with a positive outlook on life is extremely helpful; I see this in my work almost every day.

 
5. Meditate – take a deep breath and relax, let the tension fade from your muscles and forget about all your worries if only for a few minutes. Mediation has been shown to increase immunity, balance emotions, and lower blood pressure, along with many other benefits. Researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered that in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practiced no form of relaxation. We have so much noise going on in our worlds today, you owe it to yourself to take a few moments of quiet relaxation to refuel, refocus and relax.

 

6. Give – You can give your time, love, attention, help or a smile, just to name a few. Cultivating the spirit of giving will begin to open your heart to the world around you.  If you need proof, just look at little kids.  Generosity is not something that comes naturally to us. This is a lesson we need to come back to as adults. Human happiness comes from giving away rather that holding on. Selfishness isolates, kindness connects. It feels better to be connected. Being generous will also help you feel better about yourself and the world around you. It is something you do for yourself and not for somebody else. It’s about having a generous heart.
7. Smile – Happiness makes us smile, but can smiling make us happy?  According to many experts, smiling may not only be an outward manifestation of a happy feeling. It may actually be able to cause a happy feeling.  There is evidence that emotions in­volve more than just the brain. The face, in particular, appears to play a big role. Our faces help to reinforce the feelings which we are having, so by putting on a smile no matter how fake it seems, it can actually give a signal to our brain. So when a situation has you feeling stressed or flustered, even the most forced of smiles can genuinely decrease your stress and make you happier. According to a psychologist from 1989 named Dr. Zajonc, his research found that “facial changes involved in smiling have direct effects on certain brain activities associated with happiness” – Julia Layton

 

8. Learn new things - Your mind is like a muscle, we need to give it exercise and challenge it. Learning new things is a great way to do this. When you are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, your well-being and happiness can flourish. As we grow older it is easy to get into our routines and comfort zones, but in doing so we can be missing out on so many new experiences. This life has so much to offer and there is always something new to uncover, you don’t want to miss it. Education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. Education doesn’t just mean school. Yes you can take a new language class or study a new subject, but you can also try our hiking, find a yoga, cooking, or dance class. Discover a new author or travel. The list is endless, but the point is that the world we live in is constantly changing and moving and we should be too.

 

9. Practice gratefulness –Gratefulness or to feel gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive.  It’s a shifting of your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that you already have. Start practicing gratefulness today. Maybe keep a gratitude journal or share the best parts of your day with a loved one or just make a little extra time to find the good in each moment. Psychologist, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of enthusiasm, optimism, and energy, among other feelings. In addition, those who practiced daily gratitude also experienced less depression and stress, were more likely to help others, exercised more regularly, and made greater progress toward achieving personal goals.

 

10. Make a plan – A common source of stress is the perception that you’ve got too much to do.  And it is easy just to stick to this notion and let it wear us down all day. Instead, create an organized written plan. List out all that you have to do and make some priorities. Pick an item or a few items that must be done today and take action. Once finished allow yourself to feel the sense of accomplishment for the completion. This will keep you on track and bring clarity to the decisions you make throughout your life.

 

This advice will help you.  You will feel better and enjoy life more.  Come back to this article once in a while to remember.  Smile more, and love life.

Referenced articles: The Healing Factor & How Food Affects Your Moods

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