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How to find Happiness

How to find Happiness

Happiness

Merriam-Webster defines happiness as:

1a: a state of well-being and contentment : JOY

b: a pleasurable or satisfying experience

It is easy to define the word happiness, yet it is a little more challenging to achieve and maintain it.  The word happiness is used to describe both an emotional and mental state.  Happiness can mean anything from feeling contentment, to pleasant and positive emotions and peak at what most of us describe as intense joy.  

There are a lot of perspectives on how to achieve happiness.  In the western world happiness is typically associated with professional achievement and a rich personal life.  Many believe that happiness is the end goal of a lot of work and effort.  There is a pursuit involved in reaching happiness.  

In contrast, some eastern schools of thought derive happiness through letting go of attachments.  The First Noble Truth of Buddhism is that life has suffering.  Their approach to achieving happiness takes the form of identifying the origins of suffering, how to end that suffering, and ultimately how to find contentment. 

Some research has found the more we pay attention to and decide if we are happy or not, the less we actually feel happy.  A popular comic strip artist and game designer The Oatmeal pointed out that “Our sense of happiness is so brittle, it can be destroyed simply by asking whether or not it exists.”  

Scholarly research into the science of happiness has yielded the following:

Paradoxically, therefore, evaluating if one is happy and constantly trying to achieve it, may lead to being less happy, when happiness is within reach. 

Takeaway

You are probably wondering what you can do to enjoy more happiness in your life.  The best way to achieve happiness is to stop chasing after it and enjoy the best things already happening in your life.  A grateful person sees the beauty in simple actions, and contentment in circumstances that many would find impossible.

How to Stay Calm during Quarantine

Yoga Instructor Meditating

Most of us experience typical common situations which make us anxious.  Speaking in front of large groups, air travel, and more, are common examples.  Some of us even have frequent pervasive thoughts about what could go wrong.  Are the logs on that semi truck secured?  Are we going to have another earthquake?  Is my house strong enough?  

Whether you are normally a little anxious or not, quarantine can be hard on anyone.  It isn’t normal for us to be spending so much time in our homes, and away from our friends and family.  We are also inundated with less that ideal news, on what seems like a never ending basis. All of these factors have an impact on our emotional and psychological health. We at ViB want to give you a list of strategies you can use to cope during this unique and difficult time.  If your anxiety or stress level is more than you can manage, please speak with a trained professional to explore options. 

6 Best Quarantine Coping Strategies

We are all different and therefore will have varied success with these strategies.  Try one, try them all, until you find something that fits your personality and lifestyle.

1. Meditate Daily

It seems like meditation comes up in virtually all posts on how to handle stress, anxiety, and relaxation.  That’s for a reason, it is the most effective natural way to regulate your emotional and psychological health.  Set aside time before the house gets busy to sit and focus on nothing but your breathing for a 5 to 10 minutes.  It helps to use a timer when meditating, as you know the alarm will go off, so you’re not checking how much longer you have every 30 seconds.  Just ease into the practice and allow yourself to be in the moment.

Meditation is powerful as it grounds you in the present.  Most of our regrets are in the past and our worries are in the future.  Letting what has happened go and not allowing future worry to rule our thoughts is a big step in living more!

2. Stay Physically Active

One of the most effective methods of reducing mental illnesses is exercise.  Exercise helps keep blood pressure down and it releases neurochemicals we need to support our mental health.  While it isn’t easy to stay physically active while in quarantine, it is possible.  Read more about free quarantine workouts here.  

Some of us don’t love high intensity exercise routines.  If that’s you, consider ways to stay active without the high heart rate with activities such as yoga.  Yoga helps people stay physically active in a way that includes some of the benefits of meditation.  It helps people stay focused, centered, in the moment, and calmer.

3. Take To Keeping A Journal

Keeping a journal doesn’t have to be just about your day to day or the foundation for your autobiography. It can be a place to explore what’s happening to you and around you.  You may choose to just write about what happened in your life every day, or you can use it however you like.  Having a foaming at the mouth scream-fest on aisle 19, is less socially acceptable than getting your frustrations out on paper. 

4. Grow Live Plants

There have been many studies shown that growing plants gives people numerous benefits.  Not only can growing a plant improve the ambiance of nearly any room, but it also gives us something to focus on.  

Quarantine has thrown many of our daily routines into chaos.  Growing live plants does not require much upkeep, but it does require forming a new habit.  Habits that are life affirming and positive improve our self discipline and overall mental health.  The internet is full of sites that will ship live plants, such as easy to care for succulents, straight to your door. 

5. Rest With A Weighted Blanket

It may seem counterintuitive, but adding a little weight to your blanket helps take some pressure off.  Research has proven that weighted blankets have positive benefits for helping treat anxiety, and a myriad of other issues (such as ADHD and even autism).  Weighted blankets help accomplish this by mimicking deep pressure stimulation therapy.  The additional weight of the blanket helps ease autonomic arousal, which is what causes symptoms of anxiety, commonly increased heart rate.  Weighted blankets can be purchased for as little as $20 or so dollars and goes up to hundreds of dollars for premium organic cotton weighted blankets. 

6. Take Longer Showers or Baths

Taking time to allow yourself to enjoy a hot bath or shower helps calm the nerves, at virtually any time of day or night.  Not only does it relax your body, but also the mind.  Many people like to throw some epsom salt into the bath for additional relaxation.  Adding in a nice cup of tea, wine, and some music and candles to your bath may sound like tree-huggery, but it is something all of us can enjoy.  Don’t forget to take a bottle of water in with you for longer baths to stay hydrated.

Treat Yourself Well

During a time where stress is at an all time high, it is important to take steps to help yourself.  Whether it’s you or someone you know and want to help, following these tips help cope with everything 2020 has throw at us.  Make time for self care and treat yourself well!

Stress Management: Tips and Tricks

Stress Management for College Students

The definition of stress management is recognizing stress, learning coping skills, and implementing them.  What form it takes varies from person to person.  Some people manage stress with exercise and adventure, while others prefer meditation and personal reflection.  Whatever your preferences are, doing something about your stress helps keep you happier, healthier, worrying less, and enjoying life more.

Why Is Stress Management Important?

Living with excessive stress puts your health at risk.  Not only does stress affect us mentally, but it can have serious physical implications. When stress is out of control it can, and will, impact your ability to function effectively, think clearly, and in turn diminish your ability to enjoy life. While we can’t just stop going to work or paying bills, there are things we can do to manage our stress. 

The right stress management techniques help us reduce the impact of stress.  This leaves you with the ability to be more healthy, happy, and get more done.  One of life’s biggest ongoing tasks is balancing relaxation with productivity.  The pressures, both internal and external, to work, and take care of responsibilities must be in balance with fun, relaxation, and your personal relationships.

5 Stress Management Techniques

There is a wide range of stress management techniques.  Which is best for each person depends largely on time, geographical region, physical ability, and personal preference.  While it is a scientific fact that adventure sports help relieve stress, jumping out of airplanes isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  In this post we will cover easy stress management techniques that everyone can use.

Meditate

Meditation is a millennia old practice which offers a respite from stress.  In a strong current of pressure from life it is a break that you can just focus on your breathing.  Some people love sitting in silence while others use apps to not only time their meditation, but to provide soothing sounds.  Popular meditation apps include Insight Timer, Headspace, Calm, and more.

Take A Walk

If you’re feeling peaked with stress, taking a walk will help take some time to pause and get a feeling of being grounded in the moment.  Most of our unpleasant thoughts are about things that have happened, are going to happen, or might happen.  A walk is a good way to get a little bit of exercise to release positive neurochemicals.

Improve Your Organization

A huge source of stress for most people is the chaos of life.  So many different things are pulling at our time and attention at work, school, home, and relationships.  Sitting down once a week with a calendar helps you plan time for the things that matter most to you.  It is easy to let the “have to dos” overwhelm the “want to dos”.  Make time for your hobbies, family, and friends to strike a health balance in your life.

Keep A Journal

A journal can be many things.  Most people think of it just as a daily record of the things that happened and how they felt about them, but it can be more and do more.  Journaling can also be a place for self reflection.  Writing down private thoughts can be very therapeutic.  Even more so coming back and reading what you have written days, months, or years before provides insight only you can give yourself.

Plan Regular Exercise

Regular exercise should be a part of everyone’s daily routine.  Not only does exercise help manage stress, but it helps maintain better health and supports our mood.  One of the most effective natural ways to prevent and/or treat depression and anxiety is exercise.  Read more about how exercise helps treat depression and anxiety here.  Starting off with a good 20 minutes is easy to stick with in your daily routine.  Ideally 45 min to 1 hour a day is a good target for most healthy adults to impact stress’ effect on our bodies and minds.