Fitness

Happiness = Healthiness!

Have you ever felt the strong desire to revert back to your toddler years? By bunching up your fingers into a fist, curling out your bottom lip, and stomping your feet in an all out temper tantrum?

Because that is exactly what I feel like doing right now.

Photo from Calvin and Hobbes

As a child we had no problem making our emotions clear. When we didn’t get our way, or disliked something, the whole world was made aware. If not by our flamboyant arm flailing, or flat-out refusal, most children have no problem articulating exactly what is causing them to become upset. So why is it that as adults we not only have trouble pin pointing where our stress originated, but we have no idea how to express our problem or navigate a solution?

I have always been a firm believer that life is too short to not love what you do. Mahatma Gandhi once said that “happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” It is this very mantra which prompted me to make a career change four years ago from a research job I liked, to a fitness career I LOVE.

Here I am at another cross-road in my life, going through the motions of what I believe should make me happy. Only to feel frustration when I fail to accomplish the thing I have led myself to believe holds my happiness. Well, no wonder I wanted to throw a temper tantrum…creating a preconceived notion of what you think will create happiness is setting yourself up for failure. Like a light bulb illuminating a forgotten room (or as Oprah would call an “ah ha moment” ) it dawned on me how critical happiness is to your health.

Plenty of studies have been done to prove that stress can cause weight gain. Unfortunately we can’t control all of the factors which generate stress in our life. We all have jobs, and bills, and families, so it is nearly impossible to move through life in a total zen like state. What we can control is how we react to stress. In addition to doing one small thing a day which brings you happiness, when you feel a temper tantrum onset try this yoga move:

Uttanasana: Standing Forward Fold

Photo from yogajournal.com

In addition to stretching the hamstrings, calves and hips it can help calm the brain and relive stress or mild depression

(Stand with your feet together, hinge forward from the hips, soften the knees to allow your chest to touch your thighs, relax your head and neck)

So remember, don’t make your self unhappy striving to achieve something you think will create joy. Instead do one small thing a day which brings a true smile to your face. Whether that’s to sing, dance, draw, take pictures, paint your nails, rock your children to sleep, run in the rain, bake or read.. do it. Because as far as we know you only get one shot at this life, and how sad it would be to have lived it deprived of the small things that make it worth living.

Right now I’m going to go mop the kitchen floor, because as crazy as it sounds, a super clean kitchen makes me very happy.

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