Linda Esposito of Wired For Happy wrote these – I’m such a fan of her work. And New Year’s aspirations don’t have to begin on 1/1…my own New Year starts on my birthday.
1. Recognize all the times you got it right. Grab a notepad or create a new document: Make a list of three times you were gracious in the midst of meanness; three times you faced your fears and prevailed; three times you wanted to quit, but kept going.
2. Know that failures contain the recipes for success — Gather your ingredients, do your thing.
3. Protect your emotional well-being day with the Big Three: Quality sleep, lots of water, and slow, deep-breathing.
4. Consider your options when catastrophic thinking threatens to derail your mood. Close your eyes (this helps to block out stimulation) and fill in the blanks: I am afraid of ________. The worst-case scenario would be ________. On a scale of 1-10, the likelihood of this happening is ________. If this happens, I can do ________ and ________ and ________, instead of worry and feel helpless.
5. Smile more. While it’s not easy to keep smiling when stressed out, studies report doing exactly that has health benefits. When recovering from a stressful situation, study participants who were smiling had lower heart rates than those with a neutral expression.
7. Talk less. You don’t need to explain yourself as much as you think you do.
8. Stay in touch with family and friends and keep them in the loop of your life events.
9. Eat quality chocolate.
10. Visit your local animal shelter. Nothing gets you out of your head faster than getting down on one knee and petting an 11 year old German Shepherd or a scared Chihuahua.
11. Share your talents. When things don’t go your way it’s easy to think you’re a failure. You’re not. Switch the dial and notice your unique gifts. Now go find someone to help out.
12. Get rid of unwanted clothes, kitchen gadgets, furniture and any other unnecessary items taking up precious physical and mental real estate.
13. Talk to the homeless man or woman at the park. Ask if s/he needs a water or a Pepsi. The answer will probably be yes.
14. Pay attention to your thought patterns. Common unhealthy tendencies include living in the past (leads to depression) and fearing the future (contributes to anxiety). Cherish this moment — it’s the only one you’ve got!
15. Hug your family, friends and pets more. Don’t forget yourself — you need hugs, too!
16. Spend a few extra minutes in bed each morning to focus on the day ahead and all the opportunities that await.
17. Give yourself frequent breaks when dealing with stressful events. Your emotional energy is scarce and finite.
18. Hit the bottle and the pipe less. Find alternative ways to cope with stress, uncertainty and time.
19. Keep your mobile phone charged, and designate a spot to hang your car keys.
20. Organize the paper clutter on your kitchen counter while your morning coffee or tea is brewing.
21. Pause two beats before responding to people who get on your nerves.
22. Look around — notice those areas that need a make-over. We often get stuck in habitual patterns of behavior. Life is constantly evolving — things that used to work may no longer. Adjust accordingly.
23. Floss your teeth before bedtime. Good daily habits form the cornerstone of mental health. Plus, lying to your dentist twice a year isn’t cool .
24. Avoid wearing all-grey clothes to work as this color is associated with passivity, low involvement and a lack of energy.
25. Take more day trips.
Cool Mona Note: The next 25 tomorrow. Keep your head up.