How to Be Happier

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A fit body includes a fit mind. Your mind is where you tap into your willpower, motivation, happy thoughts and peaceful thinking, after all – and when you’re mentally off kilter it can throw more than your workout out of whack. Just ask healthy lifestyle blogger Kristi Snyder. After a bad breakup, Kristi started seeing a therapist… and it wasn’t long before she embraced therapy as just another way to improve her overall health. And you can too by following Kristi’s take-home advice:

What I Learned in Therapy by Kristi Snyder
Maintaining the skills I’ve learned in therapy is like keeping up with any good exercise regimen; I need to do it regularly to reap the benefits. Here are the top three tips I’ve learned from therapy and how to exercise them daily:

Tip # 1 -Tame negative thoughts
During our first visit, my therapist clued me in on the importance of paying attention to the voice inside my head. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we all have a little voice inside our head that constantly gives us input and can have a profound impact on our overall mood. I quickly came to realize that I had a ton of negative thoughts, many I wasn’t even aware of. Learning to recognize those thoughts and change them from negative to positive has greatly improved my outlook on life.

Daily exercise:
Start by listening to your inner voice. Mostly kind thoughts? You’re off to a good start. Question any harsh or negative thoughts you might have. Often, just recognizing a negative thought can stop it dead in its tracks. Begin replacing them with positive thoughts and watch how your mood changes for the better.

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Oh joy!


Tip # 2 – Practice expressing gratitude every day

When my therapist first suggested I keep a gratitude journal, I honestly thought it was just one of those hokey things that therapists recommended. I’ve since learned that focusing on what’s good in my world is the foundation for a happier life. I began my gratitude practice right after my grandmother had passed away. By focusing on the things I could feel grateful for (flowers from coworkers, downtime with my family), I found peace during a difficult time. These days when I’m feeling down, I count my blessings and my spirits start to lift.

Daily exercise: List 3-5 things you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be big things: a warm cup of coffee, sunshine on your face. Place your list where you’ll see it often, like on your bathroom mirror. I promise if you practice this concept daily, it is life changing.

Think positively and you'll radiate positivity

Think positively and you’ll radiate positivity

Tip # 3 – Learn to let go of your thoughts and be still
I am constantly on the go so I know the effects of being overworked. Early on, my therapist turned me on to yoga for relaxation. I had taken yoga before, but more for the physical benefits and never with the intent to bring more stillness into my life. At first I found it difficult to quiet my mind, but the more I practiced, the easier it became. Learning to let go of my worries and to-do lists, even for a few moments a day, has done wonders for reducing my stress.

Daily exercise: Find some way to bring stillness into your life. Take deep breaths throughout the day, enjoy a quiet meal with family, practice yoga or just unplug for a few hours. Find whatever works for you and do it daily.

Practice meditation to quiet your mind

Practice meditation to quiet your mind

To learn more
5 Tips for Happier, Healthier Dog (also by Kristi)

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