How to Be Happy
Four Roadblocks to Your Happiness & How to Overcome Them
We’re now three weeks into the New Year. It’s time to reveal the one key resolution that, when kept, speeds you on your way to following through with every goal you set for yourself throughout 2018.
Be happy. That’s it. When you’re feeling positive and optimistic, you love and respect yourself. That self-love goes a long way towards making the best choices on your path towards optimum health in body, mind and spirit. It’s not just “feel-good” platitude. There’s concrete science to back up the transformative power of happiness.
Let’s break down four key roadblocks that can keep you from being, and staying, happier this year.
1) You’re feel guilty, or worried, or shamed.
The irony is, these non-beneficial thoughts trigger reward circuits in the brain. They also tend to stall you from taking positive steps forward. When any of these emotional saboteurs show up, shift into an attitude of gratitude. Feeling thankful for something boosts the same neurotransmitter dopamine that antidepressants do! An extra bonus – feeling grateful to your community of friends boosts activity in your brain’s social dopamine transmitters, making it even more pleasurable to spend time together. That makes EVERYONE happier!
2) You just feel “yucky.”
That’s OK. Acknowledge that feeling. In fact, the late neuroimmunologist Dr. Candace Pert called our emotions the link between our spiritual and physical bodies. If you DO try to deny your feelings, your limbic system can rebel, and give you all the physical symptoms of being out of balance – increased stress, rapid heart rate, flushed face – any of that. So, here’s the twist – instead of denying your emotions, label them. Annoyed? Bored? Impatient? Give those uncomfortable feelings a specific name. That simple process will activate your logical prefrontal cortex, tuning out the emotional amygdala reaction. We’re happy to hear that.
3) You can’t decide.
Take a deep breath. Focus on your intention. What’s your ultimate goal? Those simple tasks will reduce worry and anxiety by engaging that logical frontal cortex, so you can finally make that decision. Something to keep in mind – at Optimum Health Institute (OHI), in the classes preparing you to take the 21-day holistic healing program home, you learn the concept of “better than.” When you can’t stick with the program 100%, look at options that are “good enough.” The simple act of making a decision, even one that isn’t absolutely ideal, relieves stress, and lets you move closer to your goal. Moving past that state of limbo definitely makes you feel happier.
4) You feel lonely and rejected.
Those emotions mean it’s time to get back in touch. Literally. Our brains are hard-wired to need acceptance, validation and love from others, which includes physical touch. It’s part of our “tribe” mentality. In fact, feeling socially isolated or rejected can actually trigger physical pain impulses. Hugs are fantastic for bringing you back into a happier emotional state. If a hug doesn’t seem appropriate, even a handshake, or a quick pat on the back can produce a comforting feeling, causing less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – the pain and worrying circuits. Five hugs a day for four weeks is a big boost to your happiness. Don’t have someone to hug? Get a massage.
And finally – go less “virtual” and more “reality.” Spending time with loved ones, or at least talking with them on the phone, boost the happiness-carrying brain chemicals. Texting? Nope. No uptick in those cortisol and oxytocin levels at all.
Something else that will increase your happiness level is getting a special deal on an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Save on your consecutive 3-week or 2-week stay when you ask about January promotions. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.