After recently having a few difficult days, as we all do at one time or another, I grew tired of being miserable.  Have you ever had a week that made you want to hide away? I decided it was time to self-talk myself into being happy.  After all, I am a hypnotherapist and psychologist.  It was time to take care of Violet, and do the things that make me smile.

I had the luxury of being home with a minor cold.  I turned on the fireplace, cooked my favorite English breakfast–smoked bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes with a couple of fried plantains on the side. With this, I could already feel the happiness surrounding me.  I started a pot of ginger tea, made with fresh ginger roots, pounded and boiled– so aromatic!  With a touch of honey, it does wonders for nausea.  (It’s a must-try if you are pregnant!)  I popped an Il Divo disc in the player and then sunk into a warm, lavender essential oil bath.

Even my cat Princess was smiling as she lay on the floor next to the tub, (though the smile might be from the bacon I shared with her earlier.)  I soaked for ages, then I stepped into my mum’s old cashmere robe…Heaven.  Afterward, to my delight, my charming 94-year-old neighbor (yes, she’s 94 and as sprightly as a chicken) stopped over.  We shared a meal while we watched Agatha Christie movies.  We’re both from England, hence our love for old detective flicks.  And, with that, happiness had returned.

Did you know, happiness actually changes brain chemistry, releases serotonin, calms the heart, and lowers your blood pressure?  While studies show being happy leads to better health, sometimes it’s easier said than done.  Living in the world today, stress, anxiety and disappointment tend to loom too close for comfort.  So, what can you do?  While there are many steps you can take, here are a few good places to start:

  • Nurture your relationships with friends and family. Take the time to visit those close to you.  If you don’t live close, send an email or a card.  These things are simple, yet they go a long way.  Author and doctor, Sylvia Davis and Louise Chang share that keeping the communication between you and your loved ones is important not only for our emotional health but our physical health as well.
  • Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy!  According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you happier and more relaxed.  You could invite a friend to go along and help nurture those friendships you have.
  • Cut out some stress. Easier said than done, I know.  Take it in small steps.  Getting organized or starting a schedule for you can do wonders for your stress levels.  Exercise and drinking water can also help with stress.  Helpguide.org suggests starting a “stress journal” to help you identify what your stressors are, thus helping you deal with them.
  • Take time for you. “Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.”- helpguide

No matter what you do, make it mandatory to take at least 30 minutes a day just for you.  Read a book, take a bath, go for a walk or even treat yourself to a spa treatment, will give you a much-needed mental recharge.  Life can be hard sometimes, but taking care of yourself will help you get through those difficult times much easier.

We all get busy but imagine taking a mere 60 minutes from your week to put your body in a state of total relaxation.  Call it a jumpstart to your week or a fabulous entry into your weekend.  A Swedish massage will not only soothe sore muscles, but will also reduce tension.   It’s important to give yourself some me-time, relax and enjoy the things that make you happy.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!