We could all use a little more peace and happiness in our lives. Some of the most common issues our customers have are stress, anxiety, and depression. We’ve got an incredible line-up of products that are super helpful and healing, but there are also simple morning practices that can help improve your mental (and physical) well-being.
Here are my top 5 recommendations to improve your outlook and increase happiness.
1. Prayer & Meditation
Meditation and meditative prayer is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. There are many different forms of meditation, but we’d recommend starting with a guided meditation.
A guided meditation will lead you through breathing exercises, so it’s perfect for beginners. Guided meditations will often help you to focus on a specific topic, such as intentionally relaxing muscles in the body or listing things you’re grateful for. Guided medications may describe a peaceful scene to visualize or read through a passage of scripture or poetry to help you stay focused and relaxed.
- Trying different styles of guided meditation can help you figure out which type of meditation and prayer exercise works best for you. Some of the health benefits associated with meditation are:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved blood circulation
- Lower heart rate
- Less perspiration
- Slower respiratory rate
- Less anxiety
- Lower blood cortisol levels
- More feelings of well-being
- Less stress
- Deeper relaxation
Journaling can get out frustrations, emotions, excitement, and whatever else you may be feeling! You may write only a few lines, or you may write whole pages — whatever suits you best! For me, there’s a technique called “brain dump” that I like to do in the mornings.
Brain dumping is a technique where you write out everything you’re feeling first thing in the morning. There doesn’t need to be punctuation, things can be spelled incorrectly, and it only needs to make sense to YOU! It’s a great way to release whatever is on your mind and give yourself an outlet to start your day fresh.
Another type of journaling is the gratitude journal. Write down three things you’re grateful for and three things that would make today a great day! Practicing gratitude is amazing for appreciating the things that you have, which can, in turn, make you a happier person.
“The Five Minute Journal” is an excellent structured journal. It has you list three things you’re grateful for, three things that you’d like to do that day, and, finally, it offers space for daily affirmations. (Keep reading, and I’ll explain why those are important!) At night, you finish your journaling exercise by writing down three things that went well that day.
When you exercise, your body releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins interact with receptors in the brain and reduce the perception of pain. They also trigger a positive and happy feeling in the body similar to that of morphine!
This means that exercise generally makes you feel accomplished and boosts your self-esteem! I recommend that you choose a type of exercise that you actually enjoy. For example, a lot of people have negative feelings about the treadmill (or ‘dreadmill’, as they call it!) because they get bored.
Find a form of movement that you find relaxing, but still rewarding and challenging! A favorite option is yoga. Yoga is relaxing but still a good challenge, and I highly recommend trying out a yoga class. (Most studios offer a free class for newcomers.) Classes are great because you’ll have a teacher to help with your form. Being in a group setting can be encouraging as well.
Affirmation is defined as “the action or process of affirming something or being affirmed.” Including daily affirmations in your morning practices may seem intimidating at first, but they can also be SO powerful!
There are many different ways you can practice daily affirmations and it’s easy to get started. There are books and decks of cards with daily affirmations, or you can create your own. These may be general self-affirmations, or they may be inspirational quotes or Bible verses.
Some examples are:
- “I am confident and beautiful!”
- Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. – Jim Rohn
- “Be still and know that I am with you.” – Psalm 46:10
- My body takes me everywhere, easily and effortlessly. – Louise Hay
Choose whatever type of daily affirmations you find inspirational and motivating.
Here’s another trick — it’s powerful to say it out loud.
The act of declaring truth-filled affirmations can have a big impact on your mental health. Some people suggest it’s best to say or read them yourself in a mirror, but others find that they benefit most from just repeating their daily affirmation several times. Say it until it settles into your heart and you believe it!
5. Reading and Investing in Personal Development
‘Self-help’ books may get a bad rep, but these are actually incredibly popular and can be very helpful. There’s a type of book for whatever you may be struggling with — whether that’s anxiety, depression, self-love, confidence, your career, personal relationships, or your relationship with food!
Reading books that help you gain insight into your behavior and world-view can be enlightening and empowering. Subscribing to newsletters or magazines that address topics of personal development is also a good way to consistently be renewing your mind with inspiration and motivation to change for the better.
To get into the morning practices listed in this handout, a good option is “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod — he goes more in-depth and outlines these daily practices more thoroughly.
These exercises can take time and patience to develop. If they seem overwhelming, pick just one thing to start with. Once you’ve mastered it, add another exercise!