7 Simple Ways to Make a Dark Day Brighter
There is no shortage of advice on how to be happy these days. The “happiness” business is a big one. But while it’s one thing to be happy, it’s quite another to stay that way, especially amongst the hate, war, greed and corruption that surround us every day. The constant every-man-out-for-himself way of life bleeds into our psyches and puts the population at large in a perpetual state of tug-of-war 24/7. It’s exhausting.
Understandably, this stress on our collective soul can make it hard to sustain a positive outlook. And since it doesn’t look like the tenor is going to abate anytime soon, the pursuit of happiness cannot just be about a perpetual search. It’s also about managing how the world – and the people in it – make us feel, which let’s face it, can be outright depressing.
In order to be happy with oneself, there is inner work to be done. There is no getting around that. But there are other things – little and actionable things – that can be done daily to lighten the weight of the world when it gets too heavy.
1. Connect to goodness. It’s out there. The innocence and beauty of children, animals, or nature will remind you of, and connect you to, the parts of the world that are good. It also gives you a vacation from ego, which tends to suck the life right from the air we breathe.
2. Extricate anyone in your life who wants to make you feel bad. Choose people, bosses, jobs and relationships that bring out the best in you.
3. Take care of your body. It is a profound way to love yourself.
4. Feel your feelings, even if it hurts. If you don’t fight them, they are much quicker to pass.
5. Say yes to things that challenge you. Esteem is not something that is (or is not) set in childhood. Rather, it is an ongoing and conscious way to make decisions and take actions that cause you to feel good about you.
6. Leave your cell phone home. The universe will not come to a screeching halt when you carve out a little time to be with yourself. That small bit of space can be very restoring.
7. Give and thank. Research shows that gratitude and giving are directly associated with happiness. It’s easy, costs nothing and feels good. And since it’s bound to make someone else feel good too, it’s one fine way to start turning the world into a happier place.
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