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Seven Happiness Habits: How to Beat Depression, Anxiety, and Stress

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

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1. Organize your time and space.

Simplifying is a great way to reduce stress. Shave off undue stress caused by haste and rushing through things. Creatures of habit, and we do better with daily routines to provide us with organizing points and patterns of predictability. So, create short "to do" lists for days ahead. Don't go past the weekend, to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Be flexible with your list: some items may not get done. Carrying over is fine. Your goal is slow buy steady achievement, rather than a spurt of energy that cannot sustain itself. Prepare for the next day, spending a few minutes every evening to pick out your next day outfit. Lay out the items to be readily available. When shopping, buy healthy snacks to eat at work in the next few days. Pack your lunch box the night before, to take to work in the morning.

2. Seek out the positive.

As life gets difficult, many resort into sulking and complaining. Without even knowing it, as you listen to negative talk, even if trying to support and encourage someone, you get down. Minimize such negative interactions by changing topic or not contributing at all or any negative sharing, letting the negative talk drain its one sided energy. Better self care includes mindfully "recharging your internal battery" through connection with positive people and discussion of interesting and uplifting events. Arrange more interactions with supportive and positive people. Facilitate sharing of good energy by saying kind things about others and not engaging in gossips and criticisms. Just like negative energy, positive energy is contagious and so much better for you. Watch funny movies and sitcoms, read and tell jokes, appreciate your time with people with good sense of humor. Laughter releases endorphins, improving your mood and immune health. It lowers the levels of hormone of stress cortisol and helps to release opioids, natural pain killers. Also, cultivate the ability to take yourself lightly and being more forgiving and accepting of others, mindfully overlooking mistakes and imperfections.

3. Be physically active and enjoy time outdoors.

Regular exercise reduces stress by lowering cortisol and boosting the immune system. Even when you can't do a full workout, schedule small spurts of activity: a ten minute walk can be as beneficial as a long workout to relieve stress and anxiety. "Regular" is a key word. People saying that "they don't have time to exercise" overestimate the time it takes, and underestimate the power of short daily exercise. The average person in their 30s will lose 1/4 of their muscle strength by age 70. Start strengthening today with brief daily exercise. Whenever possible, walk outside. Being outdoors is a natural antidepressant. Nature sights have a calming and relaxing effect on your mind and body. Even when busy or at work, find time for a short brisk walk outdoors. Plan more nature related activities during weekends, such as gardening or walk outside.

4. Relax more and engage your playful and creative side.

Take 5 minutes daily to breathe slowly and deeply: diaphragm breathing relieves stress and anxiety. It reduces stress hormones in the body and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Meditation is a great way toward inner peace. Don't overcomplicate it, start doing it in simple ways: take a bath while listening to relaxing music or lay down and rest a few minutes with your eyes closed. Do any relaxing activity that calms your mind, while also paying attention to breathing slowly and deeply. Engage your creative side: learn new skills, develop a new hobby, cook or go out for a new meal or cook something new at home. Take time to enjoy art, music, and dance.

5. Count your blessings.

Every day write down 3-5 things you are grateful for. Keep a joy and gratitude journal. Journaling promotes reflection and helps organizing thoughts. Write down good memories and achievements. Hand out "thank you" cards anytime anyone does something nice for you. Finally, every day try to slow down and enjoy the simple moments: savor a tasty meal, appreciate a friendly smile, admire a pretty sight. Focus on the joy and pleasure of everyday activities.

6. Sleep well.

When sleeping, your brain sorts and stores the information it gathered during the day. Without enough sleep, this process can be cut short, leaving thoughts and memories "misfiled". As a result, you may feel more down, anxious and confused. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep is optimal for your physical and emotional health.

7. Connect with others.

Help, reach out, do good things for others. Have more of a positive presence in other people's lives! Give people the gift of your time and caring. Encourage, compliment, ask questions about their lives, help when needed or consider volunteering your time to a cause that you care about.

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