External factors may provide a certain type of happiness, but creating and maintaining deep happiness requires a certain amount of attention. We hear so much about depression and anxiety growing within our society. Increased awareness of these health conditions is a fantastic step in a positive direction.
Talking to a professional seems to be the most popular piece of advice. I agree, but the thing is, actually talking with someone can send even the strongest of the strong into an anxiety attack. Having a chat with a friend is a good idea, but it’s not at the top of my ‘to do’ list for achieving happiness.
Right at the top of my list of happiness is to get my gut right. Evidence-based studies tell us there is a relationship between the gastrointestinal microbiome and the brain showing implications for depression. Remove foods which upset your body and your gut and replace with an abundance of fresh seasonal foods. Bone broth is fantastic for improving gut health as are kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi. They are packed with probiotics which are essential for repairing the gut and balancing the pH in your stomach and small intestines.
I know for sure that wine messes with my gut, sleep, hormones, mind and mood. I love nothing more than chilling out in the evenings with a delicious glass of wine but sadly it doesn’t suit me.
GET OUTSIDE & MOVE
Your beautiful body was made for moving. Some say that exercise is as effective as drugs in some cases of depression and without the side effects that some anti-depressants may have. In some cases getting out of your home and walking a few steps seems close to impossible. Taking those first small steps, even if it is walking a hundred metres, is an excellent step in the right direction. Swim, walk, dance, jog, cycle anything. Daily exercise is non-negotiable for me. Here are more remarkable benefits of getting outside.
FLICK YOUR DIALOGUE
For years I have loved this quote “the happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts” we use it often. Look for the positive in everyone and everything. Life is good! Think good things, say good things and do good things. With time you will begin to notice how all your positive thinking filters out into your dialogue and really does end up having a positive effect on your life. Of course, things go wrong, deal with it and then move on.
Most importantly refrain from speaking negatively or gossiping about anyone. Removing yourself and avoiding gossipers is nearly essential if happiness if something you are trying to achieve. No one is perfect, and most of us are trying our best. So the last thing any of us needs in our life is people who waste precious time by highlighting the faults of others.
Yoga has helped me recover on many occasions. After breaking my back twice my body needs yoga physically, but it is the mental benefits of yoga which keeps my love for yoga alive. Stress release, happiness, flexibility, fitness, gosh my list could go on and on…. I’m a yogi for sure! Yoga may not flick your switch, and that’s cool but stress is a killer to our happiness so explore all the amazing stress relief techniques there are out there, fall in love with it and do it daily.
Balance is such an overused and maybe an overrated word. What the hell is balance anyway? Balance for most of us is an enormous achievement, but try to set your boundaries and leave your work at work. Emails, social media, phone notifications are all distractions to our happiness. I try to delete as many apps and notifications from my phone as possible which I think has helped create a better work-life balance.
On a side note, I've never experienced depression. I've struggled through a few major blips in my life. Grief, yes, but not depression. I'm blessed with an incredible family, food on my table, a roof over my head, a gig I love and so much fun going on in my life. Love! Love! Love! Works wonders!