• John-Michael Scurio

Boost Your Happiness

Three easy ways to start . . .

EXERCISE

This doesn't have to be crazy. A simple walk around the neighborhood does wonders for the level of our happiness. Ten to fifteen jumps in place works too or try to start something small like stretching for ten minutes in the morning. Consider a visit to the Eureka Springs Community Center and use their gym or take a yoga or dance class. There are studies that show that simple exercise each day helps to change the brain in the same way that antidepressant medication would.


TIP: Also, click around this blog and you can also pick-up some additional guidance regarding KETO.

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

This, my friends, does wonders. The simple act of basking in the feeling of gratitude will reverberate throughout your life in such a good way. It's not just about "thanking God or the universe" and "saying thanks" out loud, it's about paying attention to the feelings you have when you're in the midst of gratitude.


Countless times throughout the day, you feel gratitude, but it's fleeting. To be mindful in one's practice of gratitude, it's about stopping, basking in that feeling for a moment or two and truly taking it in. Imprint that feeling on your brain.


When the brain feels gratitude, the parts of the brain that are activated include the ventral and dorsal medial pre-frontal cortex. When your thinking shifts from negative to positive, there is a surging of chemicals, the feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. All of these chemicals contribute to the feelings we have of closeness, connection and ultimately - happiness.


Most of us are really doing all right, but we tend to focus and ruminate on the things that happen to us that hurt us, set us back or push us off track. Practicing gratitude is the opposite. Focus on the feeling that comes over you when you nuzzle on the sofa with your loved ones and the dog wants to join in on your lap or when you work cooperatively to make dinner as a family, enjoy it and clean the kitchen together. My favorite is when there are only green lights all the way to my destination.


Our feelings are powerful indicators to us - They're our Emotional Guidance System.

They guide us forward if we properly pay attention to them. Some are easy - we cook, we touch the hot pot with our hand (without a potholder) and we feel paid. We learn. We don't do that again.


Some feelings are more complex. Gratitude is one of these. Catch yourself next time when you stop to complain about what hurt you or set you back, and then turn it around and catch yourself when you stop and bask in the moment that goes perfectly at the grocery store, or that content lunch with a friend, or having a cocktail with your parents and celebrating a milestone.


We take for granted when things go well, but basking in the feelings you have as it goes well has a profound impact on your ability to rewire your brain (without even realizing it.)


SOCIALIZE

This one's a doozy, especially as the world still comes out of a pandemic but it's important not to lose sight of the power that one has when they socialize and what it does for them. It troubled me so much when they coined the phrase "social distancing" in March 2020 as the pandemic was announced. What we should've been more focused on was "physical distancing."


Social distancing subliminally put people into hiding. Some didn't even call, write, email, etc. They took it as an opportunity to lay low and go into hiding in some cases.


Socializing with family and friends is very important and plays an essential part of our mental health and our physical well-being.


It's not about socializing with hundreds of different people, it's about fostering high-quality relationships.


Many of our chapters in life bring people in and out. Taking a moment to reach out to someone to see how they're doing will not only lift their spirits, it will lift yours as well.

Plus, laughing with a friend on Zoom or on the phone is another moment to bask and be grateful for.


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