Learning How to Not Sweat the Small Stuff and Other Happiness Tips

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We are always on the hunt for happiness. Thinking maybe if I do this thing, accomplish this goal, buy the shoes, meet the person, I will be happy. While all that stuff might make you happy for a bit, real true happiness comes from a deeper place. It is about your lifestyle, mindset, perspective, and everyday practices. 

The first step in feeling happier is understanding that you have the control.  There are things you can change from within to help you feel lighter each day. And, if you feel lighter you can appreciate the things around you more. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of things, I am sure you know, that will bring you sadness and distress, things that you are not in control of. Those are part of life. But when it comes to your day-to-day there are things you can do:

1.) Let go of the small stuff: We have all heard the phrase before, “don’t cry over spilled milk.” But, just because we have heard it doesn’t mean we are doing it. We spend a lot of time worrying about the little things in our lives, the things that really aren’t worth the time and energy they take up. Does it really matter if you forgot to turn the light off before you left the house? Was that cashier rude to you? Will that stain come out? Does the laundry really have to get folded tonight? Turns out, letting the little stuff roll off our backs can help us to live healthier lives. A study from Oregon State University found that those who obsessed over little, everyday annoyances lived shorter lives than those who didn’t let those things get to them. So instead of getting worked up over being stuck in traffic, compare it to a bigger problem—at least you are arriving safely. 

2.) Slow down: Take the time to appreciate the little things in life. Read that book to your child, even if it is past their bedtime. Take a minute to gaze at the sunset. Listen to your spouse’s story about their day. Breathe. 

3.) Move: Regular movement is important to your overall health and it releases feel-good hormones. Fit in exercise a few times a week. Or, park your car further away from the grocery store and enjoy the walk. Go on a hike over the weekend instead of the movies. Get outside and get active. 

4.) Surround yourself in good company: Toxic people are everywhere. You know the ones. They are the people who leave you feeling down or bad about who you are. They are always seeing the negative or making you feel like you have to work hard to get their approval. Instead of spending time with those people, share time with those who make you feel good. The friends you can laugh with and the people that make you feel calm, those are the ones you want to be with. 

5.) Sleep: It is hard to feel happy if you don’t feel your best. Sleep is important in regulating hormones and keeping you feeling at the top of your game. It is helpful for keeping anxiety and depression symptoms at bay and allowing you to think with a clearer head. Instead of staying up late to watch a movie or fold the laundry (see number 1 — it can wait), make sleep a priority. 

6.) Allow yourself to grow: As human beings, we are constantly evolving and changing over time. If you believe you have done everything you can in this world and you are stuck where you are, that is not very positive. Have a growth mindset and understand that you can make changes for the better. Then, go for it.

7.) Practice gratitude: It can be so easy to get caught up in the bad things that happen throughout the day, letting them destroy our mood and dampen our days. When we shift our focus to gratitude, we move our perspective from the negative to the positive. There is always something to be thankful for, focus on those things instead of what went wrong—the sun is shining, you found a $1 in your pocket, your children let you sleep in, etc. 

8.) Be aware of/and listen to your body: A supremely happy person is checking in with themselves often. They make decisions based on their happiness levels. For example, they are exhausted from working hard at the office so they decide to take the night off and go to bed early. Or, they need a mood boost so they decide to hit the gym on the way home, or stop and watch the sunset.

Happiness is possible for everyone, no matter who you are or what life has thrown at you. It just takes some healthy habits and a healthy mindset. A licensed counselor can help you get there if you need some assistance.

The psychologists at Wellness Psychological Services are uniquely and expertly specialized in helping you create a healthier environment for yourself. We welcome the chance to discuss an individualized plan to meet your needs. Contact us for an appointment anytime.  ​

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