Do you ever notice how some people always seem to have it together? They're calm and happy with both feet firmly planted on the ground, even amidst turmoil. Like a mountain that stands tall and strong, they weather the many storms that come their way. They seek out blessings and uncover them like the beautiful hidden gems that they are. Magic seems to find them each day, inviting an authentic smile to cross their lips.
Others, not so much. When similar turmoil is thrown their way, they tend to experience more difficulty dealing with the turbulence. Stress levels rise when life chucks its curve balls at them. The silver lining is difficult for them to see in the haze as they struggle to find their joy and feel stuck in their situation.
It's easy to say "Look on the bright side," or "Keep a positive mindset" so that everyone can be a part of the happy-go-lucky group. But sometimes in the throes of life we forget just how powerful we are in creating our own destiny.
In my own roller-coaster ride of a life, as well as in the work I've done as both an executive coach and an entrepreneur working with a diverse group of clients, vendors, and employees, I've seen and experienced the full spectrum of dealing with life's adversities.
In my observations, I've noticed that, at the end of the day, attitude is everything. It will make you or break you. But, it's not as simple as just flipping a switch to turn that powerful positive mindset to the 'on' position. It takes gentle reminders and some good, old-fashioned work.
When you're feeling the effects of stress and struggle, try to connect with some of these top habits shared by calm and happy people and allow the light to shine in:
- They exercise regularly. It's well know that exercise releases endorphins, which leads to happiness. So get moving and get the happy juice flowing. Do so regularly and keep the stress and blues at bay.
- They have a mindfulness practice. Many can relate to the crazy, busy, go, go, go lifestyle. It is so important to take time to slow down, savor, notice. Even finding just five to 10 minutes a day to sit in stillness or to walk in nature and really notice can help your mind build the 'muscles' it needs to let go of all the stress and worry, and just be present and joyful in the moment. This moment is all that we have, after all.
- They honor their truth. What is it that lights you up? What do you just love to do and lose all track of time doing? Never mind what everybody else wants you to do, or what you think you are supposed to do. What is it that your soul keeps whispering to you? Honoring that is the ticket to Blissville. A suppressed spirit will cry out for help in many ways. Set your soul free and reap the rewards of a happy, whimsical life.
- They take down time. You have to let those batteries recharge. Get your vacation on and refresh and rejuvenate. You don't need to be a big budget jet-setter, either. Take some time off. Mix up your routine. Find a new place to explore. Adventure and fresh sights are a powerful way to bring in new energy and shift your perspective in a positive way.
- They say what they mean. It can be easy to fall into the trap of being a people pleaser or overly worrying about what other people think. But, every time you say 'yes' to something that doesn't fully resonate with you, you are essentially saying 'no' to your own goals and dreams. You can't be everything to everyone, but you can be true to yourself.
- They let it all out (at appropriate times). Sometimes, a good cry is what is needed. Or, screaming into your pillow. Or going on a rant or perhaps a 10-mile run and taking your worries out on the concrete. Point being: Let it all out. Bottled up emotions will build and build until the pressure is so great that they come out with explosive force. It's best to honor them and find ways to let off a little steam. Then move onwards to a happier place.
- They surround themselves with supportive friendships. By nature, humans are social creatures. Being part of a supportive tribe of people that get you and want to see you succeed is a key component to living a happy and full life. Align with those who have similar goals and dreams. The key to supportive friendships is to be a good and supportive friend. The rest will fall into place.
- They express gratitude. By focusing on our many blessings (even the most basic ones like a roof over our head and food to eat), we have a lot more to smile about. In doing so, we take the spotlight off whatever we could be stressing over. We realize it could always be worse. And, as an added bonus, being grateful for what we have attracts more abundance into our life.
- They get enough sleep. During sleep our body rejuvenates, replenishes and rebuilds. To keep our minds and bodies healthy and working at their optimum capacity, it's important to get plenty of rest. Find a routine that helps you wind down each night. A simple yogi way is to lay on the floor (with a small pillow or blanket under your pelvis if needed for support) and stretch your legs up the wall. This gentle inversion is restorative, relaxing, and calms the mind. Perfect before crawling into bed!
- They disconnect from tech. We're all a little bit overly connected these days. If our mind stays preoccupied with what new emails are coming in or what is going on in our social feed, we are robbing ourselves of the precious moments of the present. It's good to take breathers. Allot specific time (and set limits) to check emails and get on social media. The world doesn't end when you log off for a while. In fact, it can actually become a lot more beautiful when you do!
- They look for the opportunity. Let's face it, life doesn't always go as we plan. And, sometimes, it can be downright frustrating and disappointing. But wallowing in the misery of that doesn't do anybody any good. Instead, a more powerful mindset is to realize that everything is happening for the greater good. A healthy reframe is to ask, "What is the lesson or opportunity in this?" Trust you are being guided, drop the resistance, and be open to the possibilities.
- They continue to learn and grow. Remember that life is a journey, not a destination. Once you think you have it all figured out, you cut off your capacity to make mistakes, discover new horizons and become an even better version of your already awesome self. Be the student. Be the beginner. And reap the rewards of a calm and happy life.