One thing I like about myself is my smile, and strangely enough that is the one thing I get compliments on and you know what? I really love to smile. Just by smiling, I feel happier. I like to smile at strangers too! Sometimes they smile back and other times they just think I’m a weirdo.
One guy who always makes me happy is my friend Adam Rosante, talk about a winning smile, his slays me. He’s more than just a workout guy too. He’s always offering tips on feeling good and being your best self. He's also kindly offered to donate $1 back to KAB for every one of you that buys his book. All you have to do is forward your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org with KAB in the subject line.
As you may know, chronic stress can have a very negative affect on our bodies and minds. Long-term stress has been found to weaken immune systems and can even open a door for breast cancer, by increasing blood flow to tumors, feeding hormones that encourage tumor growth, and keeping your body in a constant state of inflammation. Spending the time to make ourselves happy now, is one way to keep our stress levels down and our health up.
I love this excerpt from Adam's book, The 30 Second Body, and wanted to share it with you. Be happy now.
XO Shaney Jo
Be Happy Now
Far too many of us live with a set of “when I” beliefs. I’ll be happy when I lose twenty pounds. I’ll be happy when I am making six figures. The major difference between a set of “when I” beliefs and goals lies in self-acceptance, in being happy with what you have and who you are now, as you work toward creating the life you want.
"It’s realizing that you’re no less whole before achieving a goal than after you’ve achieved it."
It’s critical to know that you are perfect right now. Any work you do to achieve a goal of any kind is simply enhancing that. It may seem like a subtle difference, semantics even, but it’s a radical shift in mentality that can positively impact the way you view yourself and how you approach life. And I promise it makes the attainment of your goals even sweeter.
As any study or book on positive psychology will tell you, the big trouble with this “when I” recipe for happiness that most of us have is that it just creates a perpetual cycle of unhappiness. You chase after something and when you finally get it, what happens? You have a momentary surge of pleasure that quickly fades and is replaced by the desire for something new. Sound familiar?
When I lose twenty points, I’ll be happy, but when you lose those twenty pounds, your brain changes the definition of what happiness is. I lost twenty pounds! Now I need to get a better job. I got a better job! Now I need a promotion. I got a promotion. Now I need to stop working so much and follow my true passion.
See the pattern here? You’ve equated the definition of happiness with something outside yourself. Think about those old Three Stooges episodes where one of the characters would bend down to pick something up, only to kick it farther forward, just out of reach. It would go on and on till one of the other Stooges slapped him across the face and said, “Wake up, stupid!” This is kind of like that.
I know a lot of thin, toned people who are miserable, and plenty of overweight people who are radically happy. I also know a lot of extremely wealthy people who hate life and people with practically no money who live like kings. The difference isn’t the number on the scale or how many zeroes on the bank statement: It’s the mindset.
So how do we get happy now?
We cultivate happiness through gratitude and awareness in the present moment. I’m not trying to get all New Agey on you here. This is something I’ve come to learn through personal experience over the years, often resisting the idea because I thought it was kind of silly. I now know better. Like they say, the proof is in the pudding.
Like I said before: You are perfect right now, exactly as you are. If you find that difficult to believe, then you need to spend more time cranking up the self-love and dialing down the self-loathing. Speak kindly to yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, and never talk trash about your body.
As with everything else, you’re not going to wave a magic wand and have an overnight transformation. This takes practice. You have to choose to make it a daily practice. To be proud of and grateful for who you are and all that your body is capable of today. Through daily practice it will become a habit, and when it becomes a habit, a funny thing happens: The engine kicks on and you make a beeline up and over your goals.
Here are some strategies I’ve learned that can help you be happy now.
1. MEDITATE DAILY
This can be for as little as 5 minutes. Sit in silence somewhere you’ll be free from distractions for the duration of your meditation, set a timer, then close your eyes and focus your attention on the tip of your nose, right outside your nostrils. Sit in a chair or on the floor. If you’re on the floor, sit on a cushion or folded blanket so your hips are raised up. From here, observe your breath as it goes out and comes in. If your mind wanders or you get caught up in a thought, and this will happen, don’t wrestle your mind back or try to drive the thoughts away. Just keep breathing and gently direct your attention back to the tip of your nose. When the timer goes off, take a nice deep breath and thank yourself for taking the time to quiet your mind and improve your life.
Developing the ability to sit in silence like this allows you to create deep states of concentration, contemplation and to create stillness in your life. It also helps counteract the horrible habit we’ve developed of multitasking our brains into a forced state of ADD. Whether it’s doing five things at once at the office or being unable to walk down the street without checking your Instagram, this practice is not serving your overall wellness. Meditation can help.
2. PRACTICE YOGA
You’re going to be doing yoga once a week as a way to enhance your mobility and keep your body limber, but a regular yoga practice has far greater benefits than physical elasticity. Yoga poses can be pretty uncomfortable. Practicing yoga forces us to be still and relaxed in moments of discomfort. That’s a skill you can take off the mat and into your life.
3. GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY
It’s easy to lose perspective. Take a walk on the beach or in the woods and look around. Gazing out at the ocean or up at the stars or at an oak tree that’s been enduring the changing seasons for more than a hundred years can help put some of our fairly petty problems and irritations in context. If you’re in a city, think about the places you loved when you first moved there-neighborhoods, parks, dog runs, coffee shops-and go take a stroll.
4. FIND BALANCE
I spoke about this with the Life360 Chart. Are you placing a heavy emphasis on one area of your life and neglecting others? If so, it will throw your life balance out of whack and create that nagging sense of daily irritation and unhappiness. Look at the chart and rate your happiness in each area on a scale of 1-10. Your numbers in each category should be roughly the same high level of happiness. If you notice one area that’s particularly low, set goals in that area to help raise your happiness and then establish daily behaviors that will get you there.
5. GIVE GENEROUSLY
No matter who you are, where you’ve come from, or how much money you make, everyone has something to give. Be it your time, resources, or both, put more emphasis on taking good care of others in ways that really matter. This one practice alone can change your life forever. And though it can’t be proven in a lab, I can tell you from personal experience that you get out of this life what you give. For better or worse. Let’s commit to ensuring it’s for the better and find ways to start giving today.