I’m working on developing the habit of being happy. Experience has shown me that being happy is something you can practice and become better at. To help me make a habit of being happy, I’m working on several supporting habits.
1. Drinking more water. I’ve noticed that I often feel “cottonheaded” when I’m feeling grumpy, depressed, or overwhelmed. My eyes feel like they’re set back a little further in their sockets instead of being at the forefront, my thoughts feel like they’re slogging through mud, and my head feels like it’s wrapped in cotton. I move and react very slowly and become incapable of solving problems that require creative thought. Then, as soon as I have a glass of water, clarity returns. So I’m taking a page from Kyeli’s book and trying the eight-glasses-a-day thing. Except that I’m trying to drink eight 16oz glasses a day instead of 8oz glasses, so that’s quite a lot of water. My bladder is having a hard time adjusting and I’m making lots of bathroom trips, but Kyeli tells me it gets a bit better in a couple of months. Being hydrated is a major help! I’m much happier and much less cottonheaded when I’m well hydrated. Keeping a bottle of water in my purse has helped a lot in keeping the habit going.
2. Eating healthier. Again inspired by Kyeli, I’m doing a 30-day trial of being vegan. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I was eating well. I ate lots of cheese pizza and other such foods high in carbs and loaded with cheese. Eating heavy meals often led to me feeling lethargic and cottonheaded, and that’s been happening a lot less since I’ve been vegan (and actually eating vegetables!)
3. Eating smaller meals more often. This has required some logistical changes in my routine, but helps a lot in avoiding the food coma after a big meal.
4. Avoiding caffeine. I didn’t really intend to do this, but since I’ve made these other changes in my habits and lifestyle, I’ve found that I haven’t been as sleepy and lethargic, except on Mondays when I wake up at 5:30 for Toastmasters. I haven’t really needed caffeine, so now that I’ve noticed, I’m officially making it part of the 30-day trial too.
5. Exercising 3 times a week. I’ll play Dance Dance Revolution (actually Stepmania or In The Groove) on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for at least half an hour, and I’ll pay attention to how I feel on those days versus the other days.
6. Slowing down. Enjoying the journey.
7. Tasting my goals. Remembering the passion that fired me to choose this path in life.
8. Asking for help. Kyeli asked me for a list of things she could do to cheer me up if I’m feeling down or depressed and she wants to try cheering me up. Happy music, a yummy snack, a walk outside, a shoulder rub (I often store my stress in my shoulders), making me laugh, or any of half a dozen other things can cheer me up, and then as soon as I feel cheery I remember that I enjoy being cheery. (: It’s enough to get me out of the rut I’m stuck in.
So far it’s been going really well. I’ve been feeling a lot less cottonheaded, down, stressed, and unmotivated, and feeling a lot more happy, slow, and lighthearted. At the end of the month I’ll let you know how the 30-day trial went. I’m feeling pretty darn good so far. (: