I was recently walking with a dear friend who has been in a rut for months. Lately she’s had more downs than ups and she’s frequently finding herself in a low mood.
She has attended some of my retreats and workshops on self-care—the art of attuning and responding to your needs and desires—and she knows that physical, emotional and spiritual renewal are essential to her mental well-being. However, she shared, “Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin when you’re feeling so lousy.” Knowing I teach life balance to men and women worldwide and am passionate about enhancing emotional/spiritual health in the everday, she commented, “I’d love to just take a happy pill! How can I feel better now? What is the fastest way to come back to feeling good?”
Great question. Wouldn’t we all love to take a pill that did this (and that was health-enhancing and non-addictive!).
Reflecting on this topic the other day while sitting in my hammock chair on our back porch, swinging, listening to the birds and appreciating the native Texas plants in my backyard, the following five “paths to peace” came to me based on my personal experience working in this area since 1995.
I shared these with my girlfriend and thought you might benefit from them, as well:
5 Ways to Feel Good Fast:
- Live more in the present moment. I read an article the other day that said 50 percent of the time our minds are wandering (I think it’s higher!); we’re not really “here.” And a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Worry and stress come from living in the past or future—there is no stress when you come fully in the moment. Easy ways to become fully present are breathing (mouth closed; breathe deeply and mindfully in and out through your nose ten times) and bringing your awareness into your hands, wiggling your fingers and noticing the sensations that arise. Don’t judge yourself when you find your mind is elsewhere, see if you can cultivate curiosity for what pulls you out of the present.
- Practice gratitude. The science of happiness (huge in the 1990’s) proved that feeling grateful is one of the fastest ways to raise serotonin—known as the happy hormone—and shift our biochemistry in a more positive direction. Start small and build—begin by naming three things you’re grateful for and ask friends or family to join in. In the evening, our family sometimes goes for gratitude walks; we see how long we can keep a round robin gratitude circle going as we stroll through our neighborhood. My ten-year-old complains at first, but by the end of our walk, he’s a happy camper!
- Come from your heart. This one came from my husband. He recently noticed how often he’s coming from his head when he’s relating to me or our son. But when he consciously shifts his energy and attention to his heart when communicating with us, things flow, he feels closer to us and he feels happier and more at ease. Simple but powerful. Notice when you’re feeling disconnected or unsettled—are you approaching the person or situation from your heart or your head? It’s said the heart is so wise because it lives closer to the soul.
- Spend time in nature—get thee outdoors! Nature affects us physiologically by
lowering stress, calming our central nervous system, slowing our breathing and helping us see the big picture and relax. You don’t have to travel to Yosemite. Start where you are—take off your shoes and walk on the nearest green space, soak up some Vitamin D and ignite your senses. Notice what you smell, taste, sense, hear when you’re getting a big hug from Mother Nature. Don’t try and multitask. Allow yourself to do nothing and just be.
- Say yes to life—before you say no! So often we get caught up plowing through to-do lists and making assumptions about how things are or how they should be. We all do this by buying into habitual ways of being and seeing. Before you say “no” to yourself, your partner, your kids or a friend, pause. Maybe it’s time to let in more joy by saying yes to swimming in the ocean, a picnic on a weeknight, a spontaneous trip, jumping on the bed, camping, stopping what you’re doing to look at the frog, blueberry pancakes for dinner or letting the housework wait so you can go on a hike.
I’ve been working on responding to my adventure-seeking son’s frequent requests for fun in the affirmative: “I’d like to do that too, let’s talk about it some more.” Most of us are saying “no” way too often. Before the negative escapes from your lips, pause and consider how it might feel this one time—to say “yes!”
I believe that our innate state, our natural state is harmony and peace. We’re wired for happiness and for balance. Most of us just need reminders and support for how to find our way back to this internal “river of well-being.”
What’s your fastest route for returning to equilibrium? How do you feel good fast? I’d love to hear your ideas on our Live Inside Out Facebook Community. And I hope to be with you at one of our spring retreats or events.
Take good care and surround yourself with support and compassion this month—Renee and the Renee Trudeau & Associates Team firstname.lastname@example.org 512-459-6700
P.S. Interested in the work we’re doing and want to find out what resources we offer for support? Check out our new overview of services, read Renee's weekly blog The Journey and view past Life Balance Newsletters.
Upcoming Events and Training:
- February 1-29 Personal Renewal Group Online Facilitator Membership Are you a therapist, coach, parent or birth educator, leadership consultant or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Join an international community and facilitate self-renewal groups/retreats for women based on the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more. Or, click here to find a Personal Renewal Group in your area.
- New Way of Being™: Let Go, Embrace Flow and Love Your Life A national telecourse for men and women led by Renee Trudeau. Are you done with overwork, overwhelm and ready to discard your old habitual ways of working and being? Would you like to de-clutter, simplify, learn to leverage the power of self-care and step into a more spacious, free work/life flow? Join Renee as she supports, guides and coaches you into a new way of being and helps you access greater peace and harmony in your everyday life. REGISTER HERE (Class downloads/materials will be sent to you via email).