Everyone gets one of those days, not a so good days and what is sad is that those days these days are many. We wake up chasing life, money, things, love and as we settle in our dwellings, the aches come, the ones that have been surpassed for the day as we go through the mirage of life.
I have lived those days until a little boy gave me a glimpse of what it could be like to put aside our worries and anxieties. Raymond came in my life as an accident, a little new born I invited in my house with its mother for a year. As Ray conquered each month, he grew into a jolly little bubbly little bundle. Now he comes to my bedroom and insists on connecting with me. His smile and loud big giggles put a smile to my smile.
Practicing being kind makes me feel happier. This was amazing to me, particularly because at the same time I was going through a turn round in my life. New perceptive, new beginnings, finding the new me put a strain on me but I noticed my spirits were uplifted every time I got out of my own self-involvement and helped someone else — even if it was only to smile at a stranger!
Small actions of kindness bring back full life. I decided to study happy people to find out what other things they did differently than me. The first thing I noticed was that they were more grateful. So I began to practice gratitude, as well as kindness, and lo and behold, I got happier. I went on to look at how to be more generous, patient, and optimistic.
All of it helped, but what I found out for me was that counting my blessings on a daily basis was absolutely the best happiness booster. I think it was because I was inherently a worrier, I love to plan everything to perfection, which caused a lot of my anxiety. Worry is always about the future, even if it’s just worrying about a test result you will hear about in the next 30 minutes. Gratitude brings us back into this present moment when the bad thing has not happened yet and you are still okay. I cannot tell you the number of times in a day I would have to practice while I was going through money struggles. It really helped with moment-to-moment peace of mind.
Count your blessings, think positive thoughts — about gratitude, kindness, optimism, and the like — we activate our left prefrontal cortex and flood our bodies with feel-good hormones, which give us an upswing in mood in the short run and strengthen our immune system in the long run. Conversely, when we think negative, angry, worried, hopeless, pessimistic thoughts, we activate our right pre-frontal cortex and flood our body with stress hormones, which send us into fight or flight mode, depresses our mood, and suppresses our immune system. In other words, we are bathing our body/minds/spirits in good or bad chemicals based on our thoughts.
This is no quick fix that you try it once and the effects last forever. I still have to consciously practice every single day — to be kind, grateful, hopeful. It still goes against my automatic hardwiring for gloom and doom. But the more I practice, the easier it gets — and the happier I am.