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Can you remember when you last felt happy, really happy? Would you like to feel steadier in a healthy, mind-body way that does not involve pharmaceuticals? Is straddling a teeter-totter the last time you consciously considered balance in your life?

Today’s topsy-turvy world has us all running madly in every direction. We often feel overwhelmed with what’s before us — and that is, even, before our feet hit the floor in the morning. We are losing our joie de vivre; there is precious little fun and almost non-existent downtime in our lives today. We are masters at multi-tasking; we excel at doing.

Perhaps, it’s time to rethink the ways we choose to have a life and the ways we choose to fill a life. The life you are leading now is the life you passing on to your children. Is that what you want?

Here are five strategies to help you re-find the happiness, steadiness, and balance in your life:

1. WAKE UP
I don’t mean just get out of bed or off the couch, I mean become m-i-n-d-f-u-l. Happiness studies tell us that being mindful is the number one factor in creating a happy life.

If we are mindful, we are paying attention. We can savor every moment. We are no longer robots or automatons beating down the hours as the days slip by.

Remember the 80/20 sales rule. You get 80% of your business from 20% of your customers, but your spend 80% of your time on the 20% that does not yield the results you want. Apply that to your mind. Where do you focus your attention? Do you feed your time and energy into your priorities? Or, like most of us, do the shiny things distract you and you head off in your own trivial pursuit?

Discern what is important to you and place your powerful attention and intention there.

2. CHANGE ONE THING
Choose one thing you will do differently. Commit to making that change every day for 30 days. Want to do even better? Extend that commitment to 60 days. Really go for the gold, make that 90 days. Seriously, you will be a changed person after those 90 days.

What happens when you commit to yourself and you keep that commitment? You learn to trust yourself. We are very good at giving our word to our boss, our family, and our friends, but what about ourselves? Do we keep our promises to ourselves? Frequently, we do not. Thus, it becomes harder and harder to trust ourselves.

If we want to be happier, we need to build up some energetic muscle tone and personal will power that says, in essence, I can do this: I want to; I am committed and I have given my word to myself. No matter how tiny the commitment, the faithfulness to yourself creates an avalanche of well-being.

Happiness is knowing that you can count on you.

3. STOP
I know, it’s a unique thought. To be happy and balanced, I suggest you need to stop and allow yourself to course correct and re-find your center:

May I suggest you take a few deep breath breaks during your day? You will bring yourself back to center, re-oxygenate your body, and tap into the here and now.

Ready for more ways to re-find some balance in your life and increase your state of happiness — and creativity, too?

• A few hours before bed, unplug all technology. Give yourself some time when you are not required to respond, react, or do. End the mental gymnastics for the day and wind down.

• Employ a daily ritual of quiet time. This can be 20 or 30 minutes of quiet time where you sit with yourself. You can journal, meditate, watch the flickering of a candle, listen to beautiful (melody only) music, and the like. Draw a perimeter around your sanctuary of quietude.

• Take at least one day off a week. Have a full non-work day where you can play, have fun, rest, relax, or just be a slug. We all need time to refill the well. If we run consistently on empty, our ideas, energies, and creativity become compromised. Be inventive, and find revivifying ways to nurture your overworked self.

• Say “No” — or, at the very least, “I will think about it and get back to you.” Ask yourself, does this request make me feel happy? Does it nourish or feed me in some way? Does it excite me? Think twice. Life is short. And you hold the key to your personal well-being.

4. DO SOMETHING EXPRESSIVE
Do you dance to the oldies in your living room? Do you like to create penguin cupcakes on your day off? Do you find great satisfaction in watering the garden and talking to the birds? Are you the queen of collages and vision boards?

What lights us up and turns us on is important. We all know that life does life. When we get exceedingly busy, those activities that feed, comfort, nurture, and soothe us can slip through the cracks.

5. HONOR THE BODY
It’s time. We all know it’s time, no matter how much we struggle, pout, and resist. It’s time to be pro-active and support our physical selves. So, let’s begin slowly and work ourselves up to a more optimum way of being. We know we will feel much better; we know we feel happier, stronger (in both mind and body), more productive, and balanced. Really, what’s to lose, outside of some old bad habits?

Here are a few reminders to help you kick-start some new choice points:

• Remember the importance of getting enough rest; going to bed before midnight really helps those adrenals. If your body continues to run on empty, you will eventually go clunk.

• Eat well and sensibly most of the time. Aim for 80%; it’s a good target. You know the drill: Remember to have some protein with breakfast; limit sweets to after a meal; limit caffeine; and choose colorful, whole foods. You and your blood sugar will remain steadier and more stable throughout the day.

• Move your body in any way that makes you happy; regular physical activity is a definite biochemical boost to happiness and balance.

• Make choices based on what totally resonates with you and your body. This requires that you become mindful of what energizes you and turns over your engine. It can be an “and and” not an either/or. In other words, you can have your cake and eat it, too — just not for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

• Create some space and time to treat yourself well.

The greatest gift we can give ourselves and model for our loved ones is a life well lived.

In today’s upside-down world, action is our primary modus operandi. Consider tweaking your idea of action and focus, and try these five strategies — maybe, one baby step at a time. They are proven techniques with big rewards. They cannot hurt, and they can clearly help. Your life will become happier, steadier, and more balanced — and isn’t that, what is all about?

Author: Adele Ryan McDowell

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Emotional health refers to your overall psychological wellbeing. People who are emotionally healthy handle stress well, deal with challenges as opportunities, have a positive self-image, and are able to sustain healthy relationships. Review the following tips on how to stay emotionally healthy.

1. Laugh often.
Emotional benefits of laughter include feeling a sense of contentment and joy, shifting your perspective to a positive outlook, giving you more courage and hope, dissolving tense situations, and improving overall mood.

2. Do frequent feelings checks.
Determine how you feel when you wake up in the morning. If the feeling is negative, figure out what’s causing it and take steps to resolve the unsettling situation. Reorient your emotions with affirmations and confidence to set a new tone for the day. Recognize any physiologic clues your body gives off as evidence of emotional stress.

3. Focus on the positive.
Admit any negative feelings you may have, deal with them, and move on. Do not dwell on circumstances from the past or those you cannot control. Say positive affirmations and keep inspirational quotes handy. Remember that what you focus on is what you will attract in life, so put your energy toward that which you desire, not what you don’t want.

4. Take care of your physical self.
The mind/body connection refers to how your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. If you are physically healthy, your emotions will tend to be high. Bodily dis-ease or illness can create a slippery slope of negative emotions which self-perpetuate other physical problems, such as insomnia, upset stomach, and general aches and pains. Respect your body by exercising, eating nutritious foods, and getting proper rest.

5. Perform relaxation exercises.
Dealing with emotional ups and downs can be exhaustive and confusing. Allow your body and mind to create a blank slate so that your intentions to heal the situation can come from a place of clarity, insight, and faith instead of fear or despair. Invest time and energy into practices such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, Reiki, sea salt baths, and massage.

6. Stay socially connected.
Involving yourself in projects and activities with family, friends, or the general community is a strong aspect of wellness at any age. Pick an interest that you would like to learn more about, join a club focused on that particular hobby, and form connections with those involved. Social networking websites also offer an outlet for creating relationships based on similar interests.

7. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the state of being fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions at any given wakeful moment. Living in the here and now is a powerful self-growth tool. You begin to learn that the feelings you experience are ever-changing, you discover underlying destructive patterns that you may not have noticed before, and you evolve by changing those fixed patterns into more dynamic approaches.

8. Channel your feelings productively.
If you feel acutely angered or overwhelmed, instead of harboring negative emotions, release built-up tension through activities such as running, writing in a journal, or transforming stress into motivation to achieve your goals.

9. Avoid all or nothing thinking.
Thinking in terms of black and white absolutes instead of shades of grey is a common element of depression. Words like disastrous, terrible, ruined, and never should be red flag signs that you may be thinking catastrophically. Situations may be unfortunate, but not a complete end-of-the-world disaster. Consider the point that even smart people don’t always make the best choices. You can learn from your mistakes and consciously choose a healthier path next time.

10. Begin a personal development journey.
If you are ready and willing to heal your life, realize that you are in the driver’s seat. Think of ways to improve yourself, your relationships, and your overall life every day. Choose thoughts, feelings, and actions that are aligned with truth, love, and power.

Emotional health ties into physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Consider Dr. Ben Kim’s answer to the question, “What is the most powerful step you can take to dramatically improve your health?” Learn how to effectively manage emotional stress.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational use only and is not intended to replace medical advice. Contact a physician if you have any questions or concerns about your physical, mental, or emotional health.

Author: Alice Landry