Back in 2008 we decided that we needed to change our lives, I had lost my Mum two years before and my marriage had fallen apart. Grief changed me. It made me angry, bitter and lonelier than I had ever been. I pushed my Husband away and we ended up separating for nearly a year. That period in my life was very dark and I shudder as I recall it. The thing is I learnt so much during that time and it put me on the road to being the happiest that I have ever been.
Hubby and I got back together and we changed a lot of things. The first thing was moving out to the countryside and slowing down our lives, Absorbing my surroundings had a massive affect on me as I got myself back to nature. Six years on we are blissfully happy, but it is a constant work in progress. We never let the ball drop as we soldier on with our quest for a happy life.
1. Ditch The Toxics - I know I go on about toxic people quite a lot, probably because I have had my fingers burned by them so many times before. They affected my life to such an extent that it made me ill. And the reason that they affected my life so much was because I let them. A few of them took me by surprise, family members that I thought would always have my back turned out to be not who I thought they were and others were just a few of life's takers who constantly took advantage of me. I just reached the stage where I realised I would never be truly happy with these people sucking my soul dry, so I ditched them.
2. Exercise - Any type of exercise increases a sense of well being. Whether it be yoga, walking, body building or extreme sports. Whatever your level, exercise really does improve our mood. I find walking really has helped me over the years. I go for long country walks and it clears my mind from all the clutter that tumbles around in my brain. Exercise invigorates me and puts me in a more positive mood.
3. Look Forward - Have things to look forward to, like a new dress, a day out, a party, a holiday or a trip to see old friends. It could be anything from costing you a few pounds to something that you will need to save for. Always have a plan. At the beginning of the year pencil in those plans on to your calender. Things that excite you and small goals to achieve. The more we look forward, the less we look back.
4. Do Things For Others - If you have people in your life that have been good to you then treasure them by giving back to them. I'm not talking money or material things, I mean your time, your concern, your love and appreciation, because the older I get the more I have realised that these people are few and far between. Those who have been good to you in the past or have been there when you needed them are worth their weight in Gold. Show them you care by calling them for a chat or pop in for a cuppa.
5. Learn Something New - Learning a new hobby or signing up for a course or class makes us feel good because we feel we have made an accomplishment with self improvement. You could learn to knit, sew, crochet, grow vegetables, paint, take better photo's, make your own jewellery, soap or cupcakes. Loads of things you can learn for free via you-tube. I am a strong believer in hobbies playing a major part in my happiness, especially writing, it is so cathartic.
6. Be Realistic - Life is not a fairytale. Sometimes we are blind sided by things we can not control. People die, people leave, people deceive us. It is a part of life and very few people escape ever feeling any pain or grief throughout their lifetime. It is how we choose to deal with those painful life events that determines how big an impact they will have on us. When my Mum died it affected me so badly that I completely fell to pieces and I behaved totally out of character. When I look back at myself during that time, it is like looking at a stranger. I hardly recognise myself, but then I woke up one morning and decided to choose happiness instead of burying myself deeper into the grief.
7. Forgive - I wrote about forgiveness earlier in the week and so many of you agree that forgiving those who hurt us is an essential part of being able able to move on with our lives. Holding a grudge causes nothing but further pain and unhappiness. Why pro-long your agony. Let it go.
8. Focus On The Good - I know it isn't always easy, especially if you are going through a traumatic time in your life, but try and remember things will get better and you wont always feel so helpless and lost. Try and focus on the good, be brave, be strong. You will get through any problem that you have. Even grief can have a happy ending, it just takes time. Give yourself that time, embrace it and look to the future.
9. De-clutter - A tidy home does make us feel better. I bet hardly any of you disagree with that. Even, if you hate housework and struggle to keep on top the household chores, pushing yourself to have a ruthless clear out will energise you. Spend one day per week clearing a room in your house, or dedicate a whole week to taking on the task of a room a day. You will be so glad you did it and it makes life so much easier when you are a bit more organised. Personally, I would much rather be out in the garden than polishing my sideboard, but every now and then I will have a good de-clutter to keep on top of things.
10. Be Grateful - Every day think of the small things in your life that make you smile like the warmth of the sun, your baby's giggle, the smell of cut grass or sharing a cuppa with your best friend. Adopting a daily grateful attitude trains your mind to think with a more positive outlook on life, promoting happiness. It does work, try it.
What tips do you have for living a happier life?