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Happiness How-Tos

Did you know that stress can affect your mental health and your physical health. Some common ways that the body may respond to stress include: headaches, decreased energy, difficulty sleeping, stomach aches, neck and back pain, or feelings such as anxiety, impatience or being forgetful. Your outlook toward a healthy lifestyle and how your body responds to stress can make the difference between a challenging day and a more positive day. Use the tips below to manage your stress level and make happiness a more frequent part of your life:

Take Care of Yourself While this may seem obvious, there may be times when we put other's needs before our own. Nurture and fuel your body and mind by taking care of yourself. Eat a balanced diet that includes healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and non-fat dairy products. Aim for at least thirty minutes of physical activity a day and be sure to get a good night's sleep. In addition to caring for your body, be sure to take care of your mind. Make a point to do at least one thing that you enjoy each day, such as reading a magazine or listening to relaxing music.

Include Laughter In Your Day Make each day fun by filling it with laughter. If you have a favorite comic strip, cut it out and hang it up at your desk and read it throughout the day. Watch a funny movie, listen to a comedian or play a game of charades. You can also share a good joke with a friend or family member. Laughter can make you feel good and lighten up your day.

Express Yourself Reach out to friends or family members to share your feelings and remind yourself that you're not alone. Whether it's a quick chat or email in the middle of a hectic day or meeting a friend for lunch, spending time with people you care about can give you a much-needed boost. You can also connect with others on the Jenny forum - a community of like minded people who understand what you are going through!

Make a Difference to Others It is easy to get caught up in the daily tasks of a busy lifestyle; yet typical day-to-day activities don't provide the same satisfaction as helping others. This can provide a new perspective and increase your sense of contentment. Volunteer some time to do something that is personally important and rewarding to you. Some great ideas to give back to your community include passing out snacks at a senior center, reading to children at a local library, stocking cans at a food bank, or taking time to help a sick friend or a neighbor in need.

Go With the Flow There will always be things in our life that are out of our control. It is important to accept those things and move forward. When you feel your stress level increasing over something you cannot impact, it's time to take a short break from the situation and go for a short walk or take a few deep breaths to refocus.

Practice Optimism Negative thinking can increase your stress level and make it challenging to have a positive outlook — not mention put a serious damper on your weight loss goals. Instead of worrying about things, focusing on how difficult something will be or bracing yourself for the worst, put a positive spin on life.  Reframe your thinking and continuously tell yourself that you can deal with it and keep trying until you do. Do Something New Feel like you're stuck in the same old diet and exercise routine. Sometimes the simple act of trying something new can bring more happiness and pleasure into our lives. Take a gardening class, learn a new language, plan that vacation you've always wanted to take or select a new hobby.

Simplify If you find that you are running yourself ragged and trying to "do it all," focus on what's really important and work on decreasing some of the stressors in your life. Start by making a "to do" list. Planning ahead and prioritizing your responsibilities can make it easier to get organized and stay focused on the important things.

If you are at point where stress is overwhelmingly unmanageable, and you need assistance in dealing with stress or coping with your feelings, don't hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.