Posts for: May, 2016
Proven Way #11: Sleep at least 7-8 hours every night, and obtain sufficient rest throughout the day.
Human beings are the only animals that consciously deprive themselves of adequate sleep. Unfortunately, our priorities have become rather skewed. We tend to put things like our careers, families, social events, and mindless technological activities before sleep. There is a direct link between quality sleep acquisition and mental and physical health.
The majority of adults require around eight hours of sleep a night; there are a very small percentage of people who can fully function on less. You might think you can, but extensive research has proven that sleep deprivation, whether minor, major, periodical, or constant has detrimental long term and short-term effects. If we want to be able to perform to our greatest abilities in our careers, provide for our families, have meaningful and fulfilling relationships, and live a life rich in joy, it is imperative to sleep between seven and eight hours a night on a regular basis.
“All the joy biochemicals are manufactured by the body when you are sleeping. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will not have enough to produce happiness.”
Not only are we jeopardizing of happiness when we opt to sacrifice sleep, but we are putting our health at risk too. Author Thomas Dekker articulates this point simply and accurately: “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a variety of physical and mental aliments. Insufficient rest can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and weight gain. You might also experience an impairment of alertness, concentration, problem solving skills, and memory. Our immune systems are also compromised when we do not allow our bodies to recover during the night.
If we want to be healthy and happy, we need to sleep. Make sleep a priority. Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise. Take the time to take care of yourself because the rewards will be life long.
Thanks for sharing a smile with us this week!
Proven Way #10: Learn something new every day. Be open to new and different experiences.
When we were children our perception of the world was quite different than it is now as adults. Summer vacations seemed endless, the simplest observations and finds seemed like monumental discoveries, and each day was a brand new day filled with unfathomable possibilities. When you’ve only had five or six memorable years on this planet, there is effortless room to have new experiences and learn new lessons every single day. What most of us don’t realize though, is that just because we have been alive for significantly more time at this point, that childlike endeavor of learning, exploring, and discovering doesn’t need to end. In fact, continuing to live in such a way is actually vital to our overall happiness.
Hana Matt explains that, “learning new things and having new experiences creates a surge of the joy biochemical dopamine. When you seek and find new things and experiences, dopamine surges and it improves memory. Then dopamine doesn’t get released anymore; it has done its job. To keep dopamine surging it is important to continue to learn new things, have new experiences, and expand your mind.”
Everyone has, at least once, consciously experience the feeling of complete newness. Whether it was the first time you ever caught a wave surfing, made a hole in one on the golf course, effortlessly held crow pose in a yoga class, or mastered a new creation in the kitchen, the feeling you felt most likely inspired and motivated you, even if momentarily, to continue to seek out that joyful rush. Just imagine if you felt that feeling at some point every day. The good news is it is totally possible!
“Live as if you were going to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were going to live forever.” –Mahatma Gandhi
You can put as much or as little of an effort into this mind shift as you would like, but either way you will feel the effects immediately. Obviously, the bigger the new experience or lesson learned, the bigger the reward will be. However, it is not necessary to strive for big milestones every day. Take each day as it comes, stay present minded, and open yourself to new possibilities, experiences, and learning opportunities. If you can make this a daily habit, you will find the swirl of dopamine surging through you every day instead of just on the random occasion that you encounter something new.
You are in control of your happiness.
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” –Paulo Coelho
Thanks for sharing a smile with us!
Way #9: Find and pursue a goal.
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.”-Gautama Buddha
There are all different types of goals. There are long-term goals, short-term goals, straightforward goals, and dreamy childhood-inspired goals, just to categorize a few. It is important, and dare I say necessary, to have goals. Goals are what help keep us moving forward. They help to inspire change, growth, the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, and risk taking. Without goals, regardless of how big or small, simple or complex, or tangible or intangible, we simply would be aimlessly wandering through life. Having goals does not mean that you necessarily have a concrete life plan and that you are deciding in live life in a linear fashion. Goals are for free spirits, adventurers, and daydreamers too. Goals can change, adjust, and transform into totally different goals overtime. There are no rules; it is your life and your goals.
Hana Matt explains that studies have found that, “to move forward toward a new goal releases surges of dopamine. We get joy from dopamine when there is an effort made toward a goal and a reward received for the effort. The great dopamine feeling will entice you into doing what needs to be done. Happiness comes from the engaged process and meaningful activity of pursuing goals, not necessarily from achieving them. So, enjoy the process! Change your problems into aspirations or goals. Problems cause anxiety, stress, and tension. There are debilitating, as they deplete your energy. A goal creates enthusiasm. When you are working on a project, you become a different person; you are engaged, and energy is aroused. To find your goal, ask yourself, “What do I love to do? What matters to me? What am I interested in? Drawn to? Intrigued by?”
It might be helpful to make a list of the things that you have always wanted to do or learn, places that you’ve wanted to explore, and or feelings or a mindset that you’ve wanted to obtain. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by trying to accomplish too much too quickly. Remember, it is about the journey, not just the end destination. This is something completely personal, and that you don’t have to share with anyone, if you don’t want to. Your first goal might be to take your dog for a beach walk every day after work for sunset, or to write a book of haikus, or to learn to meditate. A goal can be anything.
So, let’s get started! The first two steps are to pick a goal and make a commitment to it. Hana Matt suggests that you start with dedicating 10 minutes a day for 45 days to your new goal. This is sufficient time to gather information, define a realistic game plan, and start taking steps forward. It is not necessary to take huge leaps; make this a manageable and pleasurable process. This should be a steady effort. Each day you will feel a sense of accomplishment, a release of the joy hormone dopamine, and one step closer to achieving your goal. You are capable of accomplishing personal greatness!
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”-Paulo Coelho