You have most likely heard the saying of how happy people tend to smile more. Even though this seems like an obvious statement, there have been numerous studies conducted proving that there are true scientific reasoning's supporting this claim. With the backing of science, we are able to safely say that even though smiling is such a simple act, it contains tremendous benefits to overall well-being and happiness.
You may be wondering how it is even possible that smiling can lead to happier lives. It seems a bit backwards, since the majority of the time people smile because they are happy, not the other way around. Let’s take a closer look on how this form of expression holds the secret to becoming happier.
How Smiling Effects Your Brain
Believe it or not, smiling can actually trick your brain into becoming happy. The very act of smiling makes your brain think that there is something positive going on or something funny is happening. The reason for this is that when you smile, you release certain hormones such as dopamine and serotonin which create an extremely powerful chemical reaction in your brain that results in you feeling cheerier. Dopamine is what increases our feelings of happiness and serotonin is directly linked with stress reduction. Your brain does not care whether you are fake smiling or if it is genuine; it will still release those feel-good chemicals.
Tips on How to Smile More
You do not need any tips or practice on how to smile when something naturally funny or enjoyable happens to you. This section is dedicated in guiding you on how to remember to smile for those boring and mundane situations when you typically would not be smiling.
Time to Smile!
I know how hard it can be to be smiling and cheery all the time, especially if it is forced. However, by proactively making it a priority in your life, you will find that your entire well-being will benefit from it. The very act of smiling alone can lift your mood, lower your stress levels and even boost your immune system. No matter what you are doing during your busy days, try to smile more in order to become a happier person. It really is that simple.
It is no secret that energy is everywhere, both positive and negative. It influences our daily lives from who we are associated with to what we read, watch and listen to. In a perfect world, everyone would be happy, but that is sadly not the typical case in today’s stressful society. Some people may feel trapped with their negative thoughts, like this is the only way they know how to think and react to situations. But that is far from the truth. Anyone can walk away from negatively with a bit of desire, willpower and determination. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to achieve it.
Negative thinking is not just being a Debbie Downer. It can actually harm you in more than one way. This way of thinking is very unhealthy both mentally and physically. For example, reoccurring unhappiness and the feeling of hopelessness can lead to chronic stress. Stress is known for causing high blood pressure, immune system issues, hormone imbalances and depleting your brain of chemicals used for feeling happy. Not to mention, chronic stress can actually lower a person’s lifespan.
In addition to the personal bad side effects, negativity can actually harm other people. Ways of thinking and outlooks on life are highly contagious amongst the people you hang around with. If you are the negative person in the group, it could rub off onto others and vice versa. These facts alone should motivate you to want to walk away from negativity. If you are a negative person who wants to change for the better, here are some ways to lead a more positive life and gain the benefits of walking away from that toxic mindset.
Stay Away from Negative Influences
You cannot thrive and change if your environment is holding you back. The people you associate with and the environment you are in can drastically influence your overall perceptions of the world. It can be easy to fall into a negative space, especially if everything around you is wired that way. As mentioned before, negative and positive outlooks on life have been considered contagious emotions. It is very easy to adapt to the people you hang out with and the environment you live in. The more negatively you are around, the more likely it will be that you will be pessimistic. This is why in order to get rid of negativity in your life, cleaning up your surroundings and getting rid of toxic things (like music, movies or books) and people who will bring you down is essential to becoming a more positive person overall.
Practicing gratitude is a key ingredient for combating negativity. Being able to acknowledge and appreciate the good aspects of life is extremely powerful for overall emotional wellbeing. Sometimes the negative thoughts can take over, making it hard to see any good in your life. But if you can find the bad, you can surely find the good as well. For every negative thought you think, actively search for three positive things in your life. You can rehearse this in your mind, but it may be more helpful to write it down on paper so you can have a visual representation to review. This practice helps people become much more thankful, motivated and happier with life.
One of the traits that negative people have is holding onto grudges. They hold onto something and do not let it go, which feeds their negative mindset. Grudges do nothing but cause stress and unnecessary negativity. If someone did something to you that upsets you, the best thing to do is forgive them. Forgiveness does not mean you agree with their actions or want to be best friends again. It simply means that you forgive them because it lifts that anger and/or sadness from you and allows you to move on with your life. Forgiveness has also been linked to lowered blood sugar and improved immune functions. Being able to accept situations and circumstances for what they are and move on instead of dwell is a great step in walking away from negativity and live a healthier life.
Laugh and Smile More
Laughing and smiling have been considered the best medicine. Doing this tends to lighten the mood during hard situations. When you smile and laugh, especially at yourself, is can cause physiological changes which help improve your mood and increase positive energy. This is a way of taking live a little less seriously and realizing that you are only human and mistakes happen. Life can be stressful and hectic, but laughing it off and making sure to actively smile through it all combats the negative emotions that could arise.
Picture Yourself Walking Away
This is where your imagination comes into play. It may sound silly, but actually picturing yourself walking away from your old self and ways of thinking is very effective and enlightening. Visualizing yourself leaving all that negativity behind and move forward can be very helpful for personal growth. Sometimes people do this during meditation or during personal therapy sessions. But feel free to do this at your own time in your own comfortable space. Just make sure that there are no distractions so you can absorb the full experience and feel completely refreshed when you are done. This technique may not be for everyone, but it is a great way to feel more powerful and in control of your emotions.
Anyone can be positive, just like anyone can be negative. Both take the same amount of energy, so why not choose the option that is the most beneficial for you and others around you? If you are so ingrained to a negative way of thinking, there is still hope for change. It may not happen overnight. It will take time to train your brain to become more positive and leave negatively behind. Remember, bad things in life will happen. It is how you decide to face and tackle them that matter the most.
I'm starting to do more video blogging so in this video I talk about positive thinking.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone dies from taking their own life every 40 seconds globally -- which is 1.6 percent of all deaths worldwide. The WHO also believes that for every person who dies through suicide, a further 20 attempt it. Although there are many reasons people commit suicide, in the vast majority of cases, the individual was suffering from an untreated psychiatric disorder. Here are the primary risk factors to look out for.
Previous suicide attempt
Overall, people who have previously attempted suicide are 38.4 times more likely to commit suicide than people who have never attempted suicide. One study suggested that as many as 80 percent of people who attempt suicide will do so again within a year. However, the risk can be higher or lower depending on the potential lethality of the previous attempt, and how many previous attempts there have been.
People with eating disorders oftentimes have suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts. Eating disorders are characterized by distorted thinking, and striving for an unattainable ideal. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness -- two things that are common among people who attempt suicide. There are differences between eating disorders, too -- people with anorexia tend to have more planned suicide attempts, while people with bulimia tend to make more impulsive suicide attempts.
Suicide occurs 20.4 times more commonly in people who suffer from depression than in people who don’t. In most cases, suicides are triggered by a flood of difficult, painful emotions from which people see no escape. Some compare the experience to that of people who jump from burning buildings -- in both cases the fear of falling, pain, and death is real -- but the jumpers anticipate more pain on one side of the window than the other. There is an escape from depression, however, and most people see improvements within weeks of starting their treatment.
Substance Abuse Disorder
People with drug abuse disorders are 19.2 times more likely to commit suicide than those who don’t -- although with alcohol abuse it’s a little lower at 6 times more likely. As with depression (the two often go hand-in-hand), substance abuse impairs rational thinking and stops people from seeing and seeking solutions to their problems. These solutions exist, however, and substance abuse can be effectively managed through methods such as therapy and inpatient treatment centers. Many insurance plans cover counseling, and some may cover inpatient treatment as well. Seniors who have a Medicare Advantage plan from companies like United Healthcare may also have access to counseling for alcohol-related issues.
Those who suffer from bipolar disorder are 15 times more likely to commit suicide than those who don’t. With bipolar disorder, people experience periods of both depression and elevated mood, and a key risk factor is when the two states occur at the same time. Like depression, bipolar disorder can cause heart-wrenching emotional pain, and can stop people from thinking clearly. But if this occurs at the same time as a manic state, this gives people the energy to do something about it, which might lead to a suicide attempt.
However, treatment for bipolar disorder is effective, particularly in terms of reducing suicide attempts. Lithium, a drug rarely given for major depression disorder, can dramatically reduce suicide attempts and completions in people with bipolar disorder, as can certain stress-reduction therapies.
As you can see, the risk of suicide is much higher in people who have other mental issues -- often, people possess several risk factors. Although these problems have known treatments with good success rates, as many as 80 percent of people who attempted suicide were not being treated for their additional mental disorder. If you yourself have had thoughts about suicide, call a suicide hotline or speak to your doctor about it -- there are people out there who can help and who want to listen to you.
Do you want to change your life but don’t know how to start? I will be talking about four simple steps you can do today to change your life. Changing your life will not be as hard as you are thinking. Changing your life will be fun and easy.
Step one, get clear about what you want your life to be. If you don’t like your job, get clear on what type of job you want. For me, I wanted to help people, so I have my life coaching business. When I was starting out, and even to this day, I would say, “Yes, I am a successful life coach.” This is a wonderful affirmation because I was living as if I was a great life coach. At the time, I had just started and did not even have a client, but I kept saying the affirmation, and I knew it would be true for me. It doesn't matter what type of job you want; just get clear about it and make an affirmation about it. If I wanted to become a teacher, I would say, “Yes, I am a great teacher, and I love what I do.”
Step two, now that you have gotten clear on what you want your life to become, start telling people. For example, when someone asked me what I do for a living, I would tell them, “I’m a life coach.” Not only does it make you feel good because you are going after your goals, but it will let people know what you’re doing.
Step three is very easy. You have no doubts that you will do it. Sometimes, when people come to me and say, “Well, I’ve been doing the affirmation, but nothing has happened,” I remind them that it’s a process, and it takes time, but you can’t give up. You must not give up, and you must keep moving forward. Our example above about becoming a teacher is a process. You have to have your degree, and then you must get your teaching credential. So, the whole time you are saying the affirmation, “Yes, I am a great teacher, and I love what I do,” you are going to school to make this a reality.
Step four is have faith in yourself that you will do it. This is a little different than not having doubts. You must totally believe you will become the thing you want to become. I know, when I was going to school, I did not do well in math, so I had a teacher tell me I should give up. He knew I was having problems, and he thought, in his own way, he was helping me by telling me to give up. I did not give up. I got a few tutors, and I finished the class, and I ended up with my degree.
I had faith, and I had no doubts whatsoever that I would finish school. I was working full time and going to school part time. It took me a long time, but I ended up with my degree, and that’s all that matters. The main point is I had faith, and I understood deep down that I could do it, even when people around me said I should not do it because it was hard or because I did not understand a math class I was in.
You can do and be anything if you just think you can. The problem is so many people are focused on what they don’t really want. If you really want to change your life, focus on what you really want and never have doubts that you will get it. Keep moving forward and don’t look back.
Image via Unsplash
Guest post by Dana Brown
Living on a tight budget shouldn’t mean you can’t afford to treat yourself. Self-care is an important part of maintaining your physical and mental health, and sometimes you need an extra push to accomplish your self-care goals. If you want help reaching your wellness goals this year but don’t have a lot to spend, try one of these budget-friendly self-care gifts.
Many of us keep journals when we’re young, but we tend to stop as we grow up and adult responsibilities take center stage. However, journaling has big benefits for adults too: Writing helps you process emotions, reflect on experiences, and set and pursue goals. In fact, the stress-busting benefits of journaling are so great that it even improves immunity and overall health. A nice journal is a great motivation to write — check out Barnes & Noble’s selection of journals to find one that fits your style and your budget.
Are you constantly waking up because you’re too hot, too cold, or your blankets have become a tangled mess? Sleep disruptions affect your entire well-being, from your energy to your moods, so it’s important to take even minor bedroom discomforts seriously. A plush comforter, soft sheets, or a weighted blanket could be just what you need to take your sleep to the next level. And you don’t have to spend hundreds on this self-care gift: Kohl’s is full of great deals on new bedding, and when you use Kohl’s promo codes to shop, you can score cash back.
A White Noise Machine
If it’s noise, not uncomfortable bedding, that keeps you up, try adding a white noise machine to the bedroom. White noise masks background sounds that interrupt your sleep, and unlike a TV or radio, white noise doesn’t stimulate your mind to keep you awake.
A Meditation App
Regular meditation reduces stress and anxiety, improves moods and focus, and decreases pain and inflammation in the body. Those are big claims for such a simple practice, but research backs them up. For most people, the biggest hurdle to meditation is getting started, but meditation apps can help. Headspace is the most highly recommended meditation app. Try it out for free; if you like it, you can subscribe for as little as $7.99 a month.
Did you love art as a kid but rarely pick up a sketchpad as an adult? Art has therapeutic value no matter your age. Even if you’re not artistically talented, putting pen or paintbrush to paper relieves stress, builds self-esteem, and promotes creative thinking. Drawing and painting are the most budget-friendly ways to create art, but you can also get into sculpting, jewelry-making, dancing, creating music, or another art form. Secondhand stores are a great source of supplies, or you can look for deals at stores like Michael’s.
An Electric Toothbrush
Self-care isn’t just for mental health. Good self-care also means tending to your physical health needs like oral hygiene. If you’re still brushing with a manual toothbrush, do your mouth a favor and switch to electric. Electric toothbrushes make it easier to reach every part of your mouth and encourage you to brush for the full two minutes that dentists recommend. Visit Philips’ website for discounts and price comparisons for the leading Sonicare toothbrushes.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself as long as it fits your budget. However, be careful not to spend money you don’t have on self-care gifts! A gift to yourself is a great pick-me-up, but the financial stress of going over budget outweighs any self-care benefits. When you balance your need for self-care with your finances, your health and your wallet benefit.
More often than not, people tend to think happiness can only be found in either material things or by attaching ourselves to someone else. Most people out there only know how to be happy from external things but never internally which is actually the true way one can become a happier person.
Sometimes when we feel sad due to a certain incident, we tend to forget that our happiness is right in the palm of our hands and only us can truly make ourselves happy, but only if we want to. If you have never considered this, then this article is most definitely for you as you are about to dive into a new world and discover how you can achieve a higher level of happiness the natural way.
Meditation is a concept that is widely overlooked by most people mainly because they don’t understand what it is about and what it actually does for us internally. Meditation is an act in which your body and mind becomes in tune with one another. A natural state in which every bit of noise and disturbance within you leaves and you become totally at peace with yourself. After a period of meditation, your mind soon learns to enter a relaxed state in which any form of stress gets blocked out thereby leading you to a relaxed happier state. An easy way to start is just to sit in a room and concentrate on your breathing. Just breath in and out and count your breaths. Start with about five minutes and work your way up to more time.
When I say exercising, it doesn’t always have to be the intensive type that leaves you totally drained. Little activities in your daily life could count as exercising. This method is especially useful for people facing various overweight related issues and depression. Now, even though you aren’t depressed or facing overweight issues, you could still benefit a great deal from exercising. This is basically a win-win situation if you ask me.
Not only does exercising keeps one fit but during the process, endorphins get released which takes you to a happier state. You can see why I defined this as a win-win situation. Aside from all that, it gets to release built-up tension and gets your blood pumping. You’ll soon begin to see how your life changes for the better from just a little bit of daily exercising.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
There’s just something so pleasant about the great outdoor that leaves you in a total serene state. You may not know this but people who spend more time in natural environments are usually happier than those in urban environments. You might be thinking “I don’t have the time”, but you could always try to create the time with little free moments you have. Think of it this way, It’s the weekend and instead of staying at home, drive up the countryside on that warm afternoon or somewhere close to the sea and see how that outdoor feel improves your present state.
Everyone in life is going through one form of a problem and while you should always try to get through it, it is also advisable not to dwell on these issues for a lengthy period of time especially for things you can’t change. Reason being you’re basically overthinking and that does more harm than good to the body which would thereby lead you to a moody state which I’m sure no one wants. In order to avoid this from happening, keep yourself as active as possible. Pick a hobby, do something fun, read a book. These little distractions will help keep your mind in the present and end up improving your happy state.
Even though everyone is different, we should all learn to see situations from the positive and not let the negative take control of our lives as this could do more harm than good in the long run. We all have the ability within us to make ourselves happy so why not take control of it and use it to the fullest, after which you’ll begin to notice great changes in your life.
BE MORE POSITIVE
Even when you are feeling low it’s best to think in a positive way. Thinking in a positive way will actually create positive results in your life. Being positive can change your outlook.
Guest post by Amanda Noel
Every time humankind has believed that the limit or threshold for how much the brain can do has been reached, we go ahead and break that glass ceiling and leave the threshold feeling obsolete. The mind, as philosophers say, is the most complex place in the world. For our better understanding, we deconstruct our traditional view of what the mind is supposed to look like. Now, let's reconstruct it.
Imagine the mind as a large monument, a building or a structure of your choice. You are the caretaker of this building. As a caretaker, not only do you subconsciously remember every turn and bend on each level of the building, but you also have a rough idea of the capacity that it has in terms of inhabitation. Can two thousand people stay here? Would they be hanging off the balconies due to overcrowding? Are there twenty small doors or just one large door?
The answers are with you, but then again, you might seem to forget the answers every other time.
The people are your thoughts. Sometimes your mind is adept at focusing on and contemplating about only a single thought. Other times you're fully capable of multitasking. The doors are the different prowesses or traits that your mind possesses. Some of us spend our whole lives unaware of so many doors that exist, simply because we lacked the knowledge of how to unlock them.
One of the greatest entrepreneurs of the century, Steve Jobs, said "I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance." And yes, we agree. And it also got us wondering, what about the other half? What is the other side of this coin?
In our opinion, it's all about self-awareness and reflection. If you're not reflecting, you're not learning. If you're not learning, you're not growing. And, without growth, those doors in your mind are most likely going to stay shut, whether it works in your favor or not. Check out this study about the kybalion by Wealth Creation Mastermind for some useful insights about the mind.
Here, we've listed 5 keys to unlocking the true potential of your mind:
1. The will to listen
We’re often too drowned in our own thoughts to be able to give due attention to what others are trying to say. Albeit not everything that others say might be true or useful, but there's always a learning curve that becomes a part of your life when you learn to listen. The potential of being able to listen, understand and analyze can change your perspective, broaden the capacity of your think tank, and yes, this is a simple but extremely effective step towards expanding your mental horizon.
How often are you able to look beyond the obvious, penetrate through the surface and see what's beneath the layers?
Let's break it down. We, as humans, have always been conditioned to finding the easiest way out. Sometimes this is a boon and other times it's an obstacle. You might be staring a successful, million dollar idea in the eye, but your own vision might be too limited to understand it. Hence, when something new or challenging comes your way, learn to observe. Look at things from unusual angles and go beyond the pre-drawn lines. Who knows, what you might really uncover?
3. Letting go of boxes
Yes, we're talking about metaphorical boxes. "Think outside the box" was coined for this very reason because most people are either too lazy or too afraid (or both) to break norms and think beyond. Imagine, if every great mind decided to constrain their ideas within boxes, would we still have the marvelous things that we've created? We're not saying that the box is unnecessary; yes, the box brings order and order is important, but it mustn't become the ultimate boundary for the mind.
This particular idea is a complicated one because not all of us can let go of preconceived beliefs. In fact, our beliefs are so deeply rooted that breaking away from them might seem like utter chaos. It's this shift and change of things that charges up the mind to think differently. An idea needs a spark to be born, but the question is, do you have the right tools to attract that spark?
4. The Door of Acceptance
Acceptance requires a lot of self-awareness, and this comes with time and experience. To be able to say "Yes, I accept that I am wrong" or "Yes, I accept that this isn't my best option" is difficult. It's also vital to mental growth.
Self-awareness allows you to take a step back, see the bigger picture and analyze how and when you can do things more effectively. The Door of Acceptance is a rather important one, as it helps not just with developing the mind but also improving on EQ, IQ, and personality. The greatest business leaders have opened up about how their ability to see and accept their mistakes and flaws eventually led to ideas that sculpted their success!
5. Stay curious
"Why?" is undoubtedly one of the most important questions ever asked. Curiosity drives the mind to ask questions, and then further motivates us to find answers. When you close the door of curiosity or even forget about it, you're essentially shutting down your opportunities to grow as well. If something is failing to show you the results you want, ask yourself "Why?". From there on, your mind has the inclination to find the answer and, with that answer, you're most likely to discover a lot more; about the situation and maybe even about your own potential.
Much of what exists in our world today has been ignited purely by curiosity, and that is why this door needs to stay open as often as possible.
The keys to opening these doors are very much within reach of our minds. It's the motivation to use these keys and the knowledge to identifying these doors that can truly pave a path for us. We hope, with this article, that your mind palace has been explained or rather simplified, and the next door you open, you uncover a hidden potential that could change the game for you.
Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com
Guest post by Dana Brown
No matter how busy our schedules might be these days, putting aside time to focus on our health is not just important, it’s a necessity. One can survive without eating well, exercising, and relaxing, but one cannot truly thrive. If you are looking for ways to recommit to your health, both physically and mentally, here is what you need to know.
Often, we eat what is convenient, what tastes good, and what is fast. Without time to invest in cooking healthy meals, what else can we do? However, this can lead to issues such as obesity and depression. Mindful eating is one way to fight this behavior. Eating with intention can transform our relationship with food. Eat because you are hungry, not because you’re looking for a distraction or trying to fill an emotional void. You should choose food you like to eat, but also food that is good for your health. Part of this is learning how to stop eating when your body is satisfied, not when your plate is clean. Remind yourself that no matter how tasty your dish is, this is not your last time to enjoy it. You will eat it again, and there is no pressure to finish every crumb. By all means, eat the food you truly love -- just make sure you don’t overeat it.
No matter what, you should try to set aside time for yourself each day to unwind. Relaxing entails anything you find particularly soothing. It might mean sipping a cup of herbal tea while listening to calming music. Relaxation might mean treating yourself to an at-home spa day. You can get a face mask, or make one yourself since most require what many of us keep in our fridges. Turn off all of your technology; no phones, no tablets, no computers -- just time for yourself. Also, you might even try a hot rock massage. Anything healthy that you enjoy can be indulged as a way to let go of worries and stress.
Unfortunately, most American adults do not get the amount of physical activity we need to support good health. Inactivity can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even issues with mental health. Every week, we should engage in moderate exercise for about 2.5 hours. That’s anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes a day. If you are pressed for time, there are still ways to get your daily allotment in. One fantastic way to get your exercise done quickly is called interval training. It consists of short bursts of activity and giving that exercise 100 percent of yourself. It combines weight work and aerobics, which is great for your heart and health. You can also do more little things throughout your day. Park farther away from your work and do a little extra walking. Find time to do brief stints of exercise, such as squats while your shower heats up, or lunges while your dinner cooks. Every little bit adds up.
Commit to Sleep
Sleep is vital to our well-being, and you need more than you probably get. The average adult needs roughly seven to eight hours a night to stay on top of their health. When you don’t sleep well, you may find yourself feeling hungrier, tired, sick, and may have a difficult time focusing on any given task. Not only does this make it harder to work, but it also makes driving downright dangerous. If you curtail your sleep for extra time to work, socialize, or even exercise, you may be doing your mind and body a disservice. Instead, stick to a sleep schedule, not only to ensure you get eight hours but to help your body fall and stay asleep.
The importance of these things cannot be overstated. Eating well, sleeping enough, working out, and taking time to relax are all essentials to feeling great each day. Now is the best time to dedicate your days to yourself, and living your best life.
I'm a life coach in California. Contact me if you have any questions.