The U.S. has dropped to #14, while Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, and the Netherlands all rank at the top. I need to go visit those countries! The USA is a story of reduced happiness. In 2007 it ranked 3rd among the OECD countries while in 2016 it ranked 19. The reasons are due to declining social support and increased corruption. Our country may be rich in finances but we are poor in mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity and good governance. It's fascinating that with the rise of social media our country as a whole feels more isolated, depressed and anxious. I'm extremely passionate about being a certified Health & Life Coach. Our people need help in being happy. At first it might seem funny that I would call myself a Happiness Coach, but these reports prove the need for it in our country.
Did you know that as of June 2016 the new Happiness Index, recorded by the Harris Pole, in the U.S. is only 30%, down from 34% the prior year? That is not a promising number. To make it worse, it is believed that people self-reported that they were happier than they may actually be. Our society as a whole is unhappy.
According to the World Health Rankings, Americans are killing themselves far more often than they are killing each other.
Even with all our technology and social media, our society feels more disconnected than in the past.
There are many benefits to breathing properly, such as increased energy, improved health, greater harmony, less anxiety and fear, better relationships and an overall feeling of calm and happiness. We must be more conscious of our breathe so that we can reshape our habit of breathing. Every single one of the processes in the body is dependent on oxygen. Our brains, heart and muscles all rely on oxygen to work optimally. Did you know on average we take about 25,000 breathes a day? Breathing effects our daily emotional state, concentration and stress level, as well as our sleeping patters. You can now see why proper breathing technique is so important. With a few little tweaks you can be on your way to correct breathing.
1. You should breathe in and through your nose. Your nose acts like a filter for the oxygen entering your body.
2. You should be breathing through your diaphragm. This means the air you inhale should travel all the way to your belly. The movement should not be coming from your chest or shoulders.
3. Breathe in a relaxed manner.
4. Breathe rhythmically.
5. Breathe silently.
6. Have good posture while breathing by keeping your back straight.
When you breathe properly your rib cage and stomach should expand, like a balloon being blown up. Think of inhaling as filling up a glass of water. The first thing to be filled up is the bottom of the glass (lower abdomen), then the center part of the glass (the middle abdomen), and finally the top of the glass (chest). The exhale is like drinking from the glass. We drink the water top down, from the chest to the lower abdomen.
As with all things, proper breathing takes practice. As you practice making your exhales last longer, your lung's capacity starts to expand. You will become calmer, more balanced and have better concentration. Our lives are full of stress and digital distractions. Conscious breathing is a great way to get back on track and relax.
You can search on YouTube for videos on proper breathing techniques.
Cheers to Happy Breathing!
Did you know we are hardwired to help and give to others? Did you know that giving makes you happy? Your hormones kick in. Your oxytocin levels rise. Oxyctocin is a powerful hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It is also knows as the love hormone. It underlies trust and is an antidote to depression. It's also a natural anti-aging remedy! When you give to others you experience a helper's high. No drugs needed! No dangerous side effects. Can you imagine not being depending on drugs to be happy?
When you help others your serotonin levels increase, which reduces depression and regulates anxiety. Your cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop. So you as you can, giving makes us happier. You can be happy on a daily basis. It's simple. Making giving and helping others a part of your daily routine. It has a ripple effect on our families, communities, and the world we live in. Let's create a happier world together, one day at a time. I challenge you to participate in 365 days of giving!
Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
I challenge you to participate in 365 days of gratitude. Every day write down something you are grateful for. It will program your mind to focus on all the good in your life. By writing down what you are grateful for and the good things that happened that day, you are reliving the experience.
I invite you to involve your entire family. At the dinner table have each person talk about what they are grateful for. By doing this daily it will become a positive habit. You are literally rewiring your brain to see the good things in your life. What you focus on expands. It is mental training. This in turn leads to happiness.
Effective Communication can improve and deepen relationships. It involves active listening. We are given 2 ears and only 1 mouth for a reason. People want to be truly heard and understood. Only when this occurs does the person feel cared for; and in turn can trust you and have a connection with you. If they feel heard, then they will be more likely to listen to you. This forms a cooperative dynamic relationship.
“Rules” for Effective Communication
What we see depends mainly on what we look for. Unfortunately negativity has become so ingrained in our psychology today. We need only to turn on the TV or listen to the news to see and hear negative images. Fortunately we have the capability of rewiring our brains to find the good. We can get in the habit of seeing all the wonderful things that life has to offer. Each morning you can start your day by setting your intention to see the positive aspects of your life. Have a moment of gratitude. Start a gratitude journal and each day write down three things you are grateful for. They can be something small or large. Most people take many things for granted, such as having clean water, a car, food, a job, etc. Take a moment to reflect on each thing. What does each one mean to you? What can you do to continue having these good things in your life? How can you contribute towards society to continue the good? Think of three things you can do to make a positive impact on others; such as giving sincere praise, gestures of appreciation, and acts of courtesy. Some easy ideas include holding the door for someone, letting someone get ahead of you in line, praising your boss, letting someone have your seat. The more you give to others, the more happy and content you will be. Having an attitude of gratitude builds stronger bonds and makes you healthier.
Sometimes we are victim to tunnel vision. Similar to looking through an empty paper towel tube, we only see the negative and we miss out on all the positive things going on around us. We must learn to see the bigger picture and put things into perspective. Focus on the good instead of the bad. Life can be difficult, I am not disputing that. When you are facing a challenging situation, learn to seek the lesson to be had. Often times situations occur to teach us a lesson. We must learn from them. Problems often won't go away till we grow from them.
Having a positive mental attitude will help you be successful in life. It helps you build the resilience you need to carry though the tough times. It is not necessarily what happens to you that counts, but rather how you react to it. You are in control of your reactions, emotions and mindset.
I challenge you to practice this attitude of gratitude and focus on the good in your life in the upcoming year. Teach your children and loved ones to do the same. It's amazing the impact we can make on the world by being positive.
The holiday season does not always bring happiness and joy to everyone. Their are many lonely and sad people throughout the season. Those who have lost loved ones, are single, don't live by family, are sick, etc. The holidays bring high expectations of Pollyannaish feelings. We look forward to them all year long. The season is filled with baking cookies, setting up decorations, shopping for presents, visiting with loved ones, etc. Sometimes all this pressure leads us to being stressed, worn out and disappointed. Often when our holiday fantasy is confronted with reality, it fails to live up to our expectations. We get caught up in the traps of striving for perfection. Instead, happiness can be achieved when you focus on the small moments and things that truly matter to you. Remember the true meaning of the actual holiday and be sure to make that an intricate part of your celebration. Giving, donating and volunteering your time at this time of year can bring much cheer to those in need. Focus on all the good things in your life rather than your daily stresses. Dancing to holiday music can get you in the spirit of things. Light a holiday scented candle to set the mood. When you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help from those around you. Make sure you maintain your exercise regimen and balance out all the sweets with healthy, nutrient dense foods. Wake up with gratitude each day. If certain family members drive you to insanity and back, limit your time and exposure to them. Set your own boundaries and remember to make time for self-care. Meditate and pray. This time of year should be about celebrating our Savior and treasuring loved ones. Be in the present moment and enjoy it. Lower your expectations so you can appreciate the holiday season properly. Do not compare yourself to others. Surround yourself with positive people who uplift you. Accept what you can not be changed. Life is not perfect. Once you have realistic expectations you can achieve happiness during the hectic holiday season.
In today's technology driven and fast-paced world, more and more people are looking deeper into how to achieve a more meaningful life. People are realizing that financial success and material things are not enough.
First and foremost you must have a healthy mind and body. Physical and emotional fitness are the foundation to your success in life. It is critical you learn how to handle stress, anxiety and depression. Many Americans suffer from insomnia and are deeply sleep deprived. In order to be at your optimal level you need adequate and restful sleep. Working out earlier in the day helps tire you out by the evening. Exercise is a great aid to combat stress and depression as it releases the feel good hormones. Yoga and walking are wonderful ways to challenge your body in a safe manner, while stretching your body and keeping you flexible. Mediation is another terrific way to alleviate stress and anxiety. It helps calm your system. Mindfulness and being in the present moment will bring you a peaceful mind. You can connect with nature by talking your walks outdoors. Grounding, being barefoot on grass, can help you be one with nature. Gardening is therapeutic to the soul and is a good little workout. Why not grow your own fruits and vegetables? Then you don't have to worry about yucky pesticides. Source-to-table at its best!
Once you have your body and mind in order, then you can focus on showing kindness and compassion to human beings, animals and the earth. Give and help others on a daily basis. It doesn't cost anything to smile and give a lending hand to someone in need. Giving is healthy for the recipient and the giver. Giving feels good to the soul. You can donate your time by volunteering at local charities in your neighborhood. Having compassion for others leads to your own happiness. Sometimes getting out of your own little world makes you appreciate what you have even more so. This helps combat depression and feeling sorry for oneself. Always respect our environment by recycling and reusing. Donate your used items.
Make today the day you start on your journey to living a more meaningful life. Comment below and indicate the first step you are going to take.
A note written by Albert Einstein in 1992 just sold for nearly $1.6 million at an auction in Jerusalem. It was expected to sell for $5,000-$8,000. It resulted in a 25 minute bidding war. The paper contained the physicist's key to living a fulfilled life. What was his happiness theory?