Monday, January 7

The Secret to a Happy Life: The Big 6

"There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, 
or accept the responsibility for changing them." - Denis Waitley

So this post is a big one, hence the title "The Big 6." After all of my years of reflection and searching I can confidently say that these six points are the areas in life that need to to be balanced for an individual to feel satisfied and content. If they're not, most likely one can't be truly happy. Here are the factors:

Not just in the common romantic way, but all aspects of love. This can be love from family, a spouse/lover, pets, God/Gods, friends, peers, etc. Even the respect from colleagues or the community could be a perfect example. If we are loved and give love then all is well. Also, we must learn to love ourselves because that's key to receiving love from others. This is something that's easier said than done with a society that values beauty and consumerism. We are continuously told that we're not good enough, or to buy this product because it will fill the void in our lives. No, it won't, and it's easy to fall for it. Unless it's a necessary basic need like food or shelter, most consumable goods will not make a person happy. But something as simple as a hug can shift a mood in an instant. The brain can't resist because touch is so crucial to the human species. We feel loved when we are touched. So when we feel loved, we give it in return and the cycle continues. 

We tend to forget about true freedom in this modern fast-paced world. We willingly slave away day after day under artificial light, so that we can earn money to get out of debt or buy more stuff that keeps us miserable. Sure, it makes us happy for a moment but then we realize that it was not genuine and that the stimulation faded fast. We live in a system that keeps us intentional numb. That's why vacations are so amazing, because it's a time of relaxation, exploration, growth, movement, and satisfaction. Then of course we have other forms of freedom like expression and creation. Both of which are so important. Something as simple as the freedom to be open and honest can lift loads of weight off the shoulders, and if done in a respectable manner, others will appreciate it more so. Being true to who you are in all aspects is vital for happiness, because that unique gift, skill, or talent cannot be found anywhere else but within. Express it, and live it.   

Notice how I wrote 'food' and not 'diet'. Food is much more essential than diet. Starting with the way it's grown or produced, to when it enters and exits one's body. The whole process is extremely important. Supporting fair trade organic methods of farming with responsible packaging is so rewarding because being in tune with nature is incredible, and everything's connected. If one is truly in balance then they will care about such things. We're all affected by our food choices, whether it's living on a clean planet together or having a well balanced mind and body. Did you know that some processed food can actually make you tired, angry, and depressed? These chemicals send signals to the brain, therefore making us miserable. Who would want that? Instead, a great diet full of fresh living greens, veggies, fruits, spices, nuts, and seeds can turn all of that around. It can heal disease and keep us young.

Motion is a beautiful thing, both mentally and physically. If we're not moving we feel dead inside. Get up and move! Numerous studies are even conducted about excising outside vs in a gym. Can you guess which one's more awesome? Going outside to workout of course is way better. It's because our brains response to the sun, fresh air, and vibrancy of the colors, especially the blues and greens which are calming and exhilarating. It's way more eco friendly as well, because there are no lights and equipment, and most importantly it's more simulating because one is actually in motion. Exercising outdoors can be quite the daily adventure! Pick a new path each time and explore. Then of course we can't forget about mental movement too. Learning and creating expands the mind and makes us feel complete when we achieve something new or complete a task. It could be big or small, but being in motion keeps us content and healthy.

This works together with movement and is so underrated! I would work myself until I was sick all the time. No sleep, and no balance. Work, work, and more work. Well, as wonderful as achievements are, one has to still rest properly to become a fully functional human being. There has to be downtime to let the mind calm. One tip I learned in college when studying is that the brain can only learn up to 30 minutes at a time. So taking small breaks in between was critical to retaining the information. The same can be said for proper sleep. This is when the body heals and restores itself. If one is not psychically well, then we cannot possibly be our best mentally. Enjoy the break.

L O W  S T R E S S
Just let it go...That says it all, but is yet so difficult sometimes. I find that the more I detach myself from certain things in life, the more content I become. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean not caring. I mean being able to let go of things I can't control, showing forgiveness, or even embracing a minimalist lifestyle. As far as minimalism is concerned, the more clutter, debt, and distractions we have the more stressed out we become over time. It's like excess baggage that weighs down on an individual. Money comes into play too: Is there enough, how is it spent, does it cover basic needs, etc. Is that new toy (insert random material possession here) really going to make you happy or just put you into debt? Whatever it may be, learning how to identify and eliminate excess stress is essential and that plays a huge role in happiness.   

Remember these points in the future when life is unbalanced. 
Acceptance of change and a willingness to act is what's truly key.