If you’re constantly at odds with your family, partner, friends, or coworkers you may be taking life a little too seriously. Yes, some things in life need to be taken seriously, but the key to contentment lies in knowing when to fight and when to let things go. When stress levels are high it can be nearly impossible to tell the difference between a mountain and a molehill. And when current stats reflect that 47% of Americans believe that they cannot effectively handle the stresses in their life, those little molehills start to look more and more like mountains.
For whatever reason, stress, anxiety, and depression rates are increasing all around the globe. When you feel stressed a majority of the time it becomes the new normal for your body. Your body won’t recognize the warning signs that your physical self and your mind need a break. If you think that you might be having trouble controlling your stress and need some help lightening up, consider using these tactics to get your stress levels under control and start to enjoy your personal journey.
If you feel particularly intense over something that was said or done, ask yourself, “is this useful?” It is a very simple sentence to remember but a very strong tool to keep stress levels down. If the fight is worth having and lives or freedom are at stake, then you will know immediately, because of course, it is useful in the most important ways. But if your answers are “because he’s wrong” “or she’s being childish,” it is probably not of use to get upset over.
Smile. That’s it. Smiling for 30 seconds before you start your day is an easy way to begin your day on the right foot. If you can force yourself to smile, then you can force yourself to start feeling better.
Eat some chocolate. Dark chocolate that is. It’s no secret that dark chocolate is a magical elixir filled with the best antioxidants to turn any sour mood into a sweet mood. In fact, it is so powerful, dark chocolate has been proven to cause the release of endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin in the brain upon consumption. In case you aren’t aware, these four neurotransmitters are responsible for feeling happiness, so cocoa-rich chocolate is actually an antidepressant. Cashews and walnuts can also boost your mood because these nuts are filled with magnesium, which is an awesome natural chemical to keep depression at bay, and necessary to help calm you down.
Don’t Let Embarrassment Weigh You Down
You need to find the humor in life. You’re going to do some stupid and embarrassing things in your lifetime. It’s how you handle them and not what happened that actually defines you. If you walk out to meet a first date and slip on some ice and end up embarrassing yourself, dust yourself off and make a joke like, “I hope we’re not going ice skating.” You could easily apologize and talk about how embarrassed you are, but that’s not fun. Finding the humor in the bad situations is a fun way to flip the situation into a positive encounter.
Live in the Moment
This is by far the best way to get through life with a smile on your face. Don’t think about tomorrow’s long to-do list, don’t worry about what happened yesterday, just think about the moment that you’re having now. Always feel all of your feelings no matter what’s happening and what you’re going through because it too shall pass. Bottling up the sad or angry emotions is bad, too. Feel them and move on. You’ll get back to feeling joy much faster.
Go outside and get some sun. Taking a short walk can unleash creativity and emotions, plus getting some vitamin D is great for your overall disposition.
Laugh. Take every opportunity there is to laugh. Queue up stand-up specials on Netflix. Plan a game night with your friends, watch funny animal videos on YouTube, or play with your own pet if you have one. Laughing is one of the priceless antidotes to nearly everything, and no matter what’s going on, it can uplift a bad mood.
Gain Some Perspective
Think about how far you’ve come in life. You personally, not anyone else. Compare yourself to the person that you were five or ten years ago, and realize how amazing it is to be where you’re at now, even with trials to handle. Think about all the things that you wanted to accomplish back then and have. Write down at least ten things that you have done that you are proud of and grateful for. You’ll be more impressed with yourself than you ever thought by gaining a little perspective.