“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
― Carlos Castaneda
This is a very powerful quote that hit me hard.
Whether we’re happy or miserable falls on us. A large determinant in which way we go is our mind. Or more specifically, our thoughts.
What I’ve seen, through my work, is that there are two types of people—“dwellers” and “fast reactors.”
“Dwellers” are more sensitive, take more time to process emotions and will let something that bothers them sit in the back of their mind. They’ll go over and over what happened and carry some of that emotional baggage with them until it’s resolved—perhaps by talking it out, working it out—whatever they need to do to move forward.
“Dwellers” are compassionate people. They easily show empathy and have a unique deep understanding of human nature. They could sit and talk with you about life forever.
“Dwellers” have to work hard to live in the moment, reframe negative thoughts, and generally, stay more positive.
Then, there are the “fast reactors.”
“Fast reactors” take things in quickly, move forward easily, and fully understand that others’ actions stem from their own issues; in other words, if someone “wrongs them,” they don’t take it personally. Instead, they just let it go.
“Fast reactors” don’t dwell. They live in the moment, focus on the present, and rarely let negative energy bring them down. It’s simply a part of their nature. “Fast reactors” have to work on staying grounded, focused, and sometimes have a hard time understanding the complex nature or emotions of the “dweller.”
I’m a dweller.
As are most of the women I work with.
“Dwellers” need happiness strategies.
Today, I’m going to share my happiness strategies with YOU.
Choose any and all strategies that resonate with you.
Try to incorporate them into your day.
As I mentioned earlier, our mind plays a HUGE part in whether we make ourselves miserable or strong. It’s really up to you and where you want to go—either way, it takes work. So, why not make that work have a positive benefit to you?
Here are 5 strategies to help my fellow dwellers stay in a positive happy place:
1. Keep a simple happiness journal
Record the happiest moment from each day in your journal. It can be one sentence or 5 or a bullet point, whatever works for you.
2. Start each day right
Before you get out of bed, envision your day going exactly the way you want. See yourself accomplishing and achieving + living your intentions for the day. Set the tone for success on your terms.
3. Practice gratitude work
Research shows that people who are more grateful are healthier happier people. “Dwellers” can get stuck in their head about negatives, so switching that to what you appreciate will have a HUGE impact. Here are some ways to incorporate gratitude in your life:
1) Keeping a journal where you bullet point 1-3 things you’re grateful for daily
2) Reflecting on what you’re grateful for each morning and/or night
3) Remembering what you’re grateful for when you feel your mind wander to a not-so-good place
These can (and should) be small things: the ability to have fresh food, your shiny hair, your loving friends, your 30-minutes of me-time today, your strong arms, the fact you showed up for yourself and worked out today even though you didn’t really feel like it, your ability to say NO to something you didn’t want to – and the list goes on. Keep it easy, so you actually do it + have it feel true to you.
4. Reflect on your accomplishments and why you love you
Recalling how far you’ve come and the positives about you and your body on a daily basis will help you stay in a more positive frame of mind. Doing this work will also get you out of a negative space. And remember, this is a moment by moment day by day thing, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. And the quicker you’re able to shift your energy to a better space when you feel down.
When you feel those dark thoughts coming on, recognize them and reframe. Choose to see what you’ve accomplished right now – not what you haven’t done. Hang in the space of I’ve been courageous, tenacious, and open to change before, I can do it again. You have the power to reframe for the better. You really do.
5. Keep a success journal
Chances are you’ll come up against a bump in the road. Struggles are a part of life. Keeping a success journal allows you to look back and see not only that you are successful, but how you handled a problem. In recording your discoveries and successes, you can see what worked and perhaps what didn’t, so you’ll have the tools to reflect upon when up against trouble again.
For example, if you’re having an I loathe my body day, you can look back in your success journal and see what you were doing when you felt empowered, strong, and confident (i.e. moving your body more, eating mindfully, choosing kinder self talk, keeping a gratitude journal, etc). Pull small habits from then to now. You have conquered this before and you can do it again.
What happiness strategies work for you?