Change Your Life: Two Week Challenge
By: Dr. Stephanie Larsen
Listen Up and Take Note!! I’m going to give some therapy secrets away. Now, I usually don’t do this, because I have to make a living too; however, my true desire is to see others happy. So here it goes…
I have six secrets that I’m going to share with you that can transform you from your current state to a state of happiness in as little as two weeks. (It’s a secret unless you know anything about Positive Psychology or read psychological journals, then maybe it’s not so much of a secret.) First, happiness is not predetermined. Of course we do have biological and genetic predisposition in how our brain functions and thinks, but it is estimated to only contribute to 50% of our happiness. The rest of our happiness is suggested to come from life circumstances (10%) and actions we chose to perform or ways we chose to think (40%). Changing this 40% influence is the secret to changing your happiness. Here’s a few ways that have been scientifically proven to contribute to happiness if you can be fully engaged, accepting, and consistent.
Each day spend a few minutes, not just rehashing all the negatives and the negative emotions. Instead this journaling is an exercise in changing your thinking. Journal about something positive that happened today. If more than one positive thing happened today go into detail about several events. If it was a particularly difficult day you may have to search deep to find something like it was a pleasant exchange at the store or a sunny day out. Challenge yourself to at least find one positive thing!
Your body is more than just the vessel that transports you through the mundane tasks of the day. It feeds your brain and is capable of so very much. Exercise for at least thirty minutes, even if it’s walking around during your lunch hour. Go out and do something active, every day for two weeks. Exercising creates endorphins and reduces cortisol, which cause happiness and reduces stress.
3 List at least three things you're grateful for today.
I know, another list, but this works. Research shows that individuals that are regularly reminded of things they are grateful for are more likely to perceive their daily interactions as positive. They tend to see the good through negative. Each day write down three small or large things that you are appreciative for and be very specific.
Spend at least a five to ten minutes (if you can go longer, even better!) being aware of your actions and thoughts. We live in such an overstimulating and fast world that we are often three paces ahead of ourselves or doing several things at once, meditation requires you to slow down. You can sit quietly with yourself and envision a calming scene. You can also just count your breaths in and out. The goal is to establish and practice attention without all the noise in your head or distractors. It might be harder than you think.
5 Do Something Kind
Random or purposeful acts of kindness are found to increase your own internal happiness. Being kind to others not only increases your own positive view of yourself it can also change your outlook of the world. In addition, doing something nice for someone else creates a positive environment around you. Interestingly, research has demonstrated that individuals with anxiety, particularly social anxiety, benefit significantly from these acts of kindness towards others as a way to change their own views of interactions and the world. So, go out and do something nice for at least one person each day.
6 Do Something or Say Something Kind to Yourself
As important as it is to be kind to others and to slow down, it is equally important to take care of yourself. Self-care is an external demonstration of your own acceptance and self-love. Treat yourself to that coffee, take a bath instead of a rushed shower, or look in the mirror and give yourself a genuine compliment. Every day make a note to do something specifically for yourself.
That’s it! Those are the secrets! Do each of these for two weeks and note how different you might feel about yourself and about the world. These are not just small tasks these are ways that you are working to reprogram your brain and restructure your views of yourself and the life around you. Your purpose and happiness is in the present!
For more tips and inspirations follow me on Facebook @Go.On.Get.Happy (Dr. Stephanie Larsen) or Instagram @Dr_Stephanie_Larsen.