Update: Pease listen to Dr. Victoria Smithers teach us about how stress can harm our health and how you can begin to overcome stress and learn how to find happiness in your life and be stress free.
In this article we will be discussing the following:
- How to Find Happiness in Your Life and be Stress Free
- What is the definition of stress?
- Common symptoms of stress
- What is the definition of anxiety?
- Common symptoms of anxiety
- How to be happy by finding the key to happiness
- How you can find happiness and more purpose in your life
- What is mindfulness based stress reduction and how can it lead to happiness?
- What are the three dimensions of happiness?
- How to be happy and find purpose during the Covid- 19 pandemic
- Some every day mindfulness exercises to lower stress and improve your mood
- Focus on God
What is the definition of stress?
Medline defines stress as a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It comes from any situation that makes you feel frustrated, angry or anxious. Stress is your bodies way of reacting to this challenge. If you want to know how to find happiness in your life, read on.
Common symptoms of stress include:
- upset stomach,
- trouble sleeping,
- loss of energy,
- aches and pains
- overuse or addiction to alcohol or drugs.
What is the definition of anxiety?
The National Institute of Mental Health states anxiety is experiencing excessive fear and worry over things like finances, work, social interactions or a health crisis.
Common symptoms of anxiety are:
- inability to concentrate
- increase muscle tension
- excessive fear and worry
- sleep problems
- loss of motivation
- Some sufferers will develop panic attacks or phobias.
How to be happy by finding the key to happiness
Research has shown that 50% of our happiness is inherited, 10% is circumstances and the other 40% is influenced by people, activities and how you see the world. The happiest people are not the wealthiest nor the youngest. Lottery winners report being no better off 1 year after their winning. A 76 yearlong Harvard study on happiness showed that income over $75,000 did not make you any happier and that people over 70 were happier than those at 18 years of age.
The key to happiness is close relationships and caring for other people
How you can find happiness and more purpose in your life:
- positive thinking
- being grateful
- optimistic outlook
- practicing acts of kindness
- using your strengths.
- enjoying culture- ethnic foods, plays and art
- going to church- faith in God is critical, this is the most important relationship we have
- having pets
- having intimacy with your spouse regularly
- not thinking too hard about being happy
There is a relatively new field of psychology called Positive Psychology that is researching happiness. In 1979, John Kabat-Zinn PhD started using mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques to teach patients with major medical problems to live healthier and happier lives. The basis of the program is mindfulness meditation taught to patients to help them deal with illness, stress and pain. Many later studies have duplicated Zinn’s original findings. You can have joy and happiness. Follow some of the steps as you look for the answer to how you can find happiness in your life.
What is mindfulness based stress reduction and how can it lead to happiness?
This type of meditation allows you to carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. You learn to live in the moment and experience your current situation, instead of focusing on the past or worrying about the future. It empowers the individual to respond consciously rather than react automatically. It starts with a daily 20 minute meditation and then it is carried into other daily activities.
Mindfulness based stress reduction reduced anxiety, depression and pain scales and lowered other medical symptoms.
One of the current researchers on the topic of happiness, Martin Seligman, has found that the most satisfied, upbeat people have discovered and exploited their unique combination of “signature strengths”. Seligman concludes that happiness has 3 dimensions.
What are the three dimensions of happiness?
- Pleasant Life – we learn to appreciate basic pleasures like companionship, nature, and meet basic needs.
- Good Life- discovering our unique virtues and strengths end employing them creatively to enhance our lives and obtain gratification.
- Meaningful Life- fulfillment found when we use our strengths for a greater purpose and invest in creative work (acts of altruism and kindness
So we have to learn to appreciate the simple life
- Search for your strengths.
- Pray for guidance.
- Then take a chance and look for ways to find your unique purpose.
Often this is by helping others
- Community service- clothing drives, feeding the poor, helping abuse victims
- Helping neighbors-disaster relief, bringing food to sick neighbor
- Service organization- Lions Club, CASA
- Mission trips- local and abroad
How to be happy and find purpose during the Covid- 19 pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic it is difficult to get involved but not impossible. Some people are making masks, others are donating and coordinating meals for frontline workers, some are putting signs out in their yards supporting frontline workers and children are doing chalk thank you murals on driveways for neighbors who work in healthcare or are first responders.
There are many ways different people are choosing to give back and support others during this crisis. Reaching out to elderly neighbors to drop off food or supplies is important. I have seen Sunday school teachers reading bible stories and posting on Facebook.
A local counselor is doing free virtual visits for children that are having nightmares or panic attacks related to fear over the crisis. Joining a prayer group and supporting each other through prayer is a wonderful way to give to others.
These are just some creative ways I have seen people react in a positive way during this trial to support and help others. Knowing that the research views our relationships as the key to happiness we need to focus some time on maintaining them during this pandemic. I also recommend that you look at your strengths and talents and find ways to use them for God’s glory!
If you want to know how to find happiness in your life, read on.
Some every day mindfulness exercises to lower stress and improve your mood include:
- Meditation -Start by quieting your mind, slow your breathing and focus on breathing in through nose and out through your mouth, focus on the right now- your thoughts and feelings and sensations. If other thoughts come into your head recognize them but don’t react and gently bring your attention back to the current moment. You can train yourself to be mindful doing any activity- it allows peace and releases stress.
- Deep breathing
- Listening to Music
- Quiet time in nature
- Daily walk
- Take a break from social media and the news
- Read your Bible
Focus on God
I hope that these simple steps are helpful to get your mind off of worries and more focused on the One who created you. God loves you and desires a relationship with you. We can go to Him in prayer and voice our struggles and concerns and He will be there to listen. He is always with us and will never leave us. I find the promises of God so comforting during these difficult times.
If your stress and anxiety are more severe and are affecting your ability to cope on a daily basis, I strongly recommend you seek professional counseling, speak to your pastor or seek medical attention.
Health and Happiness!