GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Society often says happiness comes from outside of ourselves… marrying Mr. or Miss Right, landing the promotion, affording a dream vacation, getting chosen for the lead in the school play, or winning the championship. However, “happiness is an inside job,” meaning our level of happiness is more often in direct relationship to how we think about our life rather than our circumstances. When we take charge of managing both how we think and how we take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, we will have a more positive outlook on life and better overall energy.
Here are some tips from several Pine Rest clinicians on how to change your thought patterns and take good care of yourself:
Count Your Blessings. Slow down and just notice what is going well in your life. When you count your blessings, it changes your outlook and your mood. – Heidi Veermeer-Quist, PsyD
Give to Others. Studies have shown that when we give, the reward circuit of our brains is activated leading to happier and more satisfied feelings. Studies have also shown that altruistic behaviors are associated with our ability to experience positive emotions. Therefore, giving is associated with happiness, which increases our overall well-being. – Diana Ro, PsyD
Practice Forgiveness. When we hold on to bitterness and resentments, we are only hurting ourselves. We don’t deny that we’ve been hurt and wronged, but we decide we no longer want to be bound to it. Forgiving frees us. – Cal Meuzelaar, LISW
Limit Email Checking. A recent study indicated that reducing the amount of times we check our email during the day reduced stress and increased well-being. – Jenna Wierenga, PsyD
Remember, You Don’t Have to Do “It” Perfectly. Instead of focusing on failed resolutions, pay attention to that wonderful deeper impulse to change. The big annual resolution is fine as a fresh start. But, give yourself the grace to start fresh each day. – Mark Eastburg, PhD, President & CEO