Do you love your life? Do you enjoy every moment of every day? Do you look around you and feel how blessed or lucky you are? If not, why not?
Conversely, do you wish the days and weeks away until the weekend, or the vacation, or the summer? Do you find you have more things to complain about than to be thankful for? Do you have a negative self image?
What happens if life hands you lemons? Do you make lemonade?
Being a strong and healthy person involves much more than diet and exercise. In order to live your best healthiest life and to be your best and healthiest self you have to ask yourself a few important questions:
- What are the things in my life that really make me happy?
- What are the things in my life that make me unhappy or cause me stress?
- What changes can I make in my life that will make me happier?
Answering these three questions will help you start to find the path towards a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life.
There might be some things in your life that don’t make you happy but that you can’t change, so the alternative is to try to adjust them in such a way that they become less stressful and more tolerable. Increasing the positive aspects of your life will inevitably help to decrease the negatives. Also adjusting your mindset, or the way you think about something can go a long way toward helping adjust a negative situation into a more positive one. Back to the saying ‘if life gives you lemons, make lemonade’.
If I made a list of the things that make me happy it would be a very long one! Over time I have adjusted things in my life to the point that I really love my everyday life, and there are very few negatives.
In order to live your best, happiest, healthiest and most fulfilled life you have to be able to say ‘no’. Say ‘no’ to those things that will cause you stress and take time away from those things that you truly enjoy and love.
Here is a little formula to get you started:
First, list the things that you may either love about your life, and the things that make you feel good and happy. Here are a few examples:
- Your children/grandchildren
- Your spouse/partner
- Specific hobbies ie. Tennis, scrapbooking, cooking.
- Workouts at the gym
- Eating healthy foods
- Losing weight
- Feeling stronger
- Specific friends who make you feel positive
Second, list the things in your life that cause you unhappiness or stress or that you don’t like. Here are a few examples:
- Work – be specific if it’s something at work or the whole job itself
- People – who in your life has a negative influence, causes stress
- Juggling too many things – be specific (volunteering, other commitments)
- Cleaning/washing/yard work
- Your hair style
- Negative body image
- Family relationships
- Lack of close friends, community
- Unhealthy eating
- Lack of time for yourself
- Lack of exercise
- Negative self image
- Lack of sleep
Third, make a list of things you can change for the better realistically. Here are a few examples:
- Plan more exercise into my week
- Buy healthier foods and work on eating better and less
- Go to bed earlier
- Get a new hair do, get a facial
- Join a church or a community group
- Make time for myself
- Hire a cleaner or Gardner
- Get rid of excess volunteering that takes time from family & increases stress
- Assign meals to different family members to reduce burden on me
- Actively work to improve negative family relationships
- Job – can I change jobs or improve my current situation
- People – spend more time with the people who encourage you and make you feel good about yourself and your life. Or those who give you good advice and are always in your corner. Conversely, if there are people in your life who cause you stress, then perhaps it’s time to let them go. Surrounding ourselves with negative people will tend to make us feel more negative ourselves
Forth, make a list of the things that you cannot change but can improve upon. For example:
- My job. Think of ways to improve your time at work if you can’t change jobs. Perhaps go part time, or think of other ways to improve your work day.
- If you have small children (which can be stressful), perhaps you can hire a sitter to take some time for yourself to exercise, go out with friends or your husband, or go get a massage. Try to make it a weekly occasion.
- People. If the people who cause you stress are family members or work colleagues, perhaps try to lessen your contact with them where possible, or actively work on influencing them in a positive way rather than allowing their negativity to rub off on you.
- Daily responsibilities. If you hate cleaning but cannot afford to hire a cleaner then maybe spread out the responsibilities to other family members, or try to make cleaning day a fun experience.
Fifth, take steps toward making the changes you have listed. Do it slowly and step by step you will find yourself feeling better, healthier and happier. The test is to ask yourself a few simple questions:
- When you wake up in the morning, are you looking forward to your day?
- Are you thinking good and positive thoughts throughout the day?
- Are you spreading positivity to those around you?
- When you go to bed at night do you feel good about your day?
- Do you sleep well?
- Do you feel overall healthier and happier?
Of course there are going to be those things that occur in daily life to cause us stress, aggravation and sadness. These types of feelings come and go, and if your overall daily life is a healthy and happy one, you will more quickly recover from the temporary setbacks that life often brings. I find that our perspective has a lot to do with how we deal with life’s unexpected stresses. Knowing that we are still so much better off than others in the world can often help us adjust our attitude, and make lemonade out of those annoying lemons.
I do feel that in every difficult situation there is something positive to be learned, even if it just helps us to grow and become stronger as a person.
In conclusion, I challenge you to take a close look at every aspect of your life. Make the changes necessary to allow you to be your healthiest and happiest self. We are only here for a short time, and we shouldn’t take any of it for granted. Spread positivity to those around you, and live and love every day to the max.