Body

When Happiness Can be a Choice…

This week was tough for me. I accepted a new job last week (yay!) and gave my two weeks notice. Which means I’m very excited but also very stressed because I feel like I have so much to do. I worked late and worked through lunch nearly day. I was exhausted.

I felt like I didn’t have time to do anything else, especially go to the gym. But worse than the negative impact on my physical fitness, was just how mentally and emotional drained I was feeling. I’m not quite sure it was even a conscience thing, but the anxiety dreams sure didn’t make things better.

I knew that actually going to the gym, or taking some time to myself, unwinding, and trying to relax, would help me but the priority was getting things done! On Thursday my sister insisted that we go to yoga.

I hadn’t been in two weeks and my left ankle wasn’t about the poses. But I was able to focus on my breathing and even had a few seamless transitions into downward dog with an extended leg (big deal for me because I’m not a very coordinated or smooth person). By the middle of the class I felt great, and I was having fun. I laughed at myself for almost falling twice and really got into the rhythm of the flow.

Just before we got to the part of the class where we just lay down and sleep, the instructor said something that really hit me. She said:

Happiness can be a choice.

Of course there are many people in the world who cannot choose to be happy every day because of depression or anxiety or other circumstances. But I can choose to be happy. And I wasn’t.

I had let the stress get the best of be and began to feed on it, becoming more stressed and tired and moody. I was choosing to focus on the negative and not even take time or put in the effort to help myself by taking a break at lunch, going to the gym, and going home with a clear head. I was choosing to not be happy. And it was negatively impacting my body.

I got home after yoga and despite the fact that I totally reeked, I felt great. And I slept wonderfully. And Friday morning when I woke up, I decided to start the day in a positive way by looking at pictures of dogs on the Internet for twenty minutes before getting out of bed (My favorite is below).

So when happiness can be a choice:

  • Remind yourself that things will get better.
  • Try to put things into perspective. Where will being stressed/angry/etc. get you? Is it worth it? What’s the worst that could happen if xyz doesn’t happen? What’s the worst that could happen if xyz does? I guarantee you the world won’t explode.
  • Do something to break out of your gloom. Yoga? Workout? Go out to eat and eat all the amazing pasta and creme brûlée like I did on Tuesday night? Do it! You have the time.
  • Start the day on a positive note. Eat a bomb breakfast. Meet someone out for breakfast! Sit and enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee on your comfortable couch (I have a futon so it’s not that comfy). Or if you can, don’t set an alarm and let yourself sleep in.
  • Treat yourself! To something that you enjoy. Sushi lunch? Yes! Manicure? Why not?!!
  • Get off your phone for a second and enjoy the little things. Step out into the sun and bask in it for a bit. It’s winter so it’s rare. Notice the birds singing or the shape of the clouds in the sky. The world is kind of amazing when we take the time to notice it.
  • Bonus: Look at pictures of cute dogs or animals. Or if you’re lucky and have a cute dog or animal (my cat won’t cuddle), get them to help cheer you up. Did you know that dogs learned how to smile from us?! Like through evolution?! Like they smile because we smile!! They love us that much. I could cry. (Fun fact from my coworker/friend who has the cutest old man dog named Marshall).

Again, I understand for some people it’s not a choice, but for many of us it can be. And making that choice when we’re getting sucked into our own black hole of stress and frustration and exhaustion, is a really important thing to do. For us.

(The other dog pictures I love)

look at his little tongue!

look at his ears!

look at his little paws!!

look at his smile! He’s so happy!!!

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