10 ways to feel happier every day.

So, yesterday was the first day of May.  I love May, everything is turning greener, or blooming, the weather is warming up, but it’s not too hot, and the sunshine, oh the SUNSHINE!  I’ve got to be honest with you, I love rainy days, and cozy winter days, but I do get a little blue during the colder months.  I swear I can actually feel my mood elevating as the sun comes out.

I’ve got lovely Scandinavian genetics and so I’ve got a natural tendency to get anxiety and just feel down.  It runs in my family and it’s something I’ve struggled with off and on most of my life.  I’m especially aware of this when I notice how much my mood is effected by the weather.

And to be honest, I don’t really like this about myself.  I wish I didn’t naturally get down, or take things too seriously, or-most of all-get anxiety.  But, it’s just how I was made, and I think a lot of women struggle with this.

The great thing about having a challenge is that it’s forced me to be creative (my favorite thing), and I’ve come up with a lot of great ways to help me feel happier.

Here are my top 10 ways to feel happier every day:

1.Exercise.  I feel like everyone knows this one, but it is so true.  Cardio and weight lifting both do the trick for me, and even just a quick 30 minutes makes a world of difference to my day.  I like to workout in the morning because it gives me the mood boost all day.  But a quick workout before bed also helps me sleep better.

2. Get ready.  The days when I phone it in and stay in my sweats or workout clothes all day, I just feel like crap.  Every time.  I feel so much better when I get ready for the day.  I’m also more efficient, effective and am a kinder more patient mother (and wife.)  If this feels daunting, one of my getting ready "hacks" is to have a uniform.  It’s basically a combination of items types that you don’t have to think about, but that you know make you feel great.  I’m also a big fan of outfit planning at the beginning of the week, or the night before so you don’t have to stress in the morning when you’re in a hurry.  And as a rule, I only wear things that make me feel confident and happy.

3. Spend some time with God everyday.  Whatever your beliefs are, take at least 10 minutes a day to sit down with your Maker.  Pray, meditate, read scriptures.  Communicate the things you worry about, and hope for, and thank Him for all of your blessings.  Ask for guidance.  When I feed my spirit first, my day is always noticeably better.

4. Go outside.  Spend sometime outside, no matter what the weather is.  Get some fresh air for at least a few minutes everyday.

5. Serve.  There’s a reason Christ taught us to love and serve one another.  Doing something for another person makes you happy.  Just one small act of service a day can make a huge difference.

6. Treat yourself.  I’m the kind of person who feels naturally unworthy.  I’m rather hard on myself, and I often feel like I have to earn love, and like I never measure up. Treating yourself is all about self-love.  You don’t have to earn it, you just do it because, it’s okay to be kind to yourself.  And it doesn’t have to be a cookie.  It can be sitting down for 5 minutes with a good book, or stopping at a drive-thru for a Dr. Pepper, taking a bath, painting your nails.  I like to buy myself flowers.  They make me happy, brighten my kitchen, and give me a chance to practice floral arranging (something I’m trying to learn to do better.)

7. Make a list.  Being productive and feeling like I accomplished something makes me feel happy, and helps me combat the blues on days when I wake up feeling down.  Here’s the trick though. I write everything down, and I mean everything.  Make bed, check. Brush teeth, check.  Workout, check, check.  They are things I do anyway, but they also take time, by writing them down and checking them off I can visually see what I’ve done and also feel like I’ve accomplished more.  It also gives me more motivation because I love seeing all the things I can get checked off in a day.

8. Eat healthy.  Lots of vegetables, fruit, lean meats and FISH!  Fish oils and omega 3s help naturally reduce the risk of depression.  Lot’s of doctors recommend 2 servings a week. (more sushi!)  I make grilled salmon for dinner at least once a week.  (and bonus, it’s a really quick, delicious dinner.)

9. Count your blessings.  Bing had it right you guys.  It’s hard to feel blue if you sit down and really start thinking about all the ways your life has been blessed, and all you have to be grateful for.

10. Get enough sleep.  A lot of us who struggle with anxiety/depression also happen to be night-owls, which is one of those cruel ironies of nature, because getting enough sleep is really, really important.  When I’ve gone through some really bad bouts, like after we had Ruby, I got terrible insomnia and couldn’t sleep at all.  But most of the time, my problem is, my brain is just more awake and night and it always makes me want to stay up and get more done.  But then the next day, I feel so horrible (after a restful 3 hours of sleep, so surprising) that I kind of want to die.  If you are like me and have trouble winding down at night, here are a few tips.  1. turn off the screens at least an hour before bed.  I know, hard to do, but research shows that shutting off the screens (especially the phone) before going to bed makes it easier to fall asleep.  2.Do things that are calming, like drink herbal tea or take a warm bath. 3. Take melatonin.  I haven’t tried this yet, but a lot of people have recommended it to me.  It’s a natural sleep aid, and helps you fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Bonus:  Make contact with the outside world.  It’s really easy to become an introvert when you struggle with anxiety or depression, so I make a conscious effort to make contact with the outside world at least once a day, and especially if I’m feeling down.  Even if it’s just talking to the lady who rings me up at Target.  It will help get you out of your own head.

There you have it!  10 ways to feel happier everyday.  Do you have any tricks or tips to share that help you fight anxiety, and feel happy?  Share them in the comments!

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