“Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.” Buddha. If you find yourself feeling unhappy here are five easy ways to help change that.
1. Remove the negative. Look for the people that make you unhappy and remove them from your life. Is there a “friend” or family member who always seems to bring everyone down? We all need someone to vent our problems to from time to time. However, if there’s that person, the one who brings the drama or they just seem to suck the life out of you, try spending less time with them. Seek out happy, positive people and invite them to coffee or join their group.
2. Take a break. If you are under stress or find yourself feeling unhappy, do something else for 30 minutes. Take a walk if the weather is nice. Spend a few minutes playing with your dog. Go to a park, beach, coffee shop or pick up a book or magazine. Put on some music and dance around. Just do something fun for a few minutes to reset your mind.
3. Make a gratitude list. Do not do this on any electronic device. Take a piece of paper and write down 10 things (or people) you are grateful for. Sometimes this can difficult to begin. Start with the most simple things like the fact that you have a piece of paper, or that you are breathing.
4. Hug. Facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat and other online communication make us feel as if we have connected with others, but we are missing a vital part of our human happiness, the physical connection. We need to feel that contact. It actually produces endorphin in the brain and makes you happy. Start hugging your friends. If you are not comfortable hugging, shake hands. Make contact in some way. Petting a cat or dog or other animal can also make you feel good. Contact with other living creatures is the key.
5. Give. Not all giving needs to be monetary. Volunteer somewhere. You don’t need special skills to do this. Offer to walk dogs at a pet rescue or serve meals at a senior center. Offer to be a reader to kids at the library. Find a non profit group that needs people and join in. Giving feels as good as getting. (You might even get a hug.)
This is NOT minimalism. This is magazine styled, copy selling, high fashion photography. In reality, your clothes are more colorful and not perfectly pressed. You don’t have a Chanel bag sitting in your closet. You have more than two pairs of shoes and they are worn. If this is the minimalism that enticed you to find the movement, that’s not a bad thing. However, be realistic in your journey. Owning less is not about being perfect or beautiful (by pop culture standards). If you aspire to this black and white, picture perfect style, you will never feel good enough. Release what does not serve you and respect what does. That is minimalism.