Thursday Thoughts: Be Happy

It's Thursday, so you know what that means...

Thursday Thoughts

If you are new to my blog, or haven't been reading on Thursdays, this is a segment where I post my thoughts about various nutrition and health related topics, or maybe even something else if it is really an intriguing topic.  Most of my current views and opinions come from experience working as a dietitian and as college instructor in nutrition courses.  Most of that learning is science based or observational from the clinical setting.  In general, I hate over-generalizations, so for many of the things I post, I expect there is one or two exceptions because broad sweeping generalizations are always bound to miss out on something. 

With the recent release of the New Dietary Guidelines for Americans, I really wanted to post on that, but I can honestly say, I have not read everything in full detail yet and I am just too tired to do so before making my post.  You can bet this will be my topic next week, or the week after.  If you missed my post yesterday, I will tell you that after subbing for a pre-K class the day after teaching until midnight, I was just EXHAUSTED.  As a result, everything rubbed me the wrong way.  After a little bot of time to unwind, plus a 2 hour nap, and I decided that I wanted to write this week on the topic of "be happy".  I'll leave the more thought provoking topic for next week.

Here are my thoughts:

1) This is not a suggestion, but rather an order.  I am telling you to be happy.  Yes, easier said than done.  Don't worry, sometimes I feel that way too, but it is the other times when I am happy that I realize how much better things are when you are happy.  Even the small annoyances just aren't as bad when you are happy or in a good mood.  Therefore, in order to be happy you need to recognize when you are not happy.  Not necessarily sad, but just not happy.  I think happy can be a relative term and it will differ for all of us, so I am not going to tell you what happy should be for you or what should make you happy.

2) Speaking of what should make you happy...I have no idea...but you should.  That's right, you need to know what makes you happy.  I am happy when I look out at the ocean.  So, if I am starting to feel not so happy, I can stop and look out, remembering how lucky I am to be where I am and reflect on how this makes me feel, which is genuinely happy.  You should be able to know what that feels like and identify those things that make you happy.  Keep a list of you need to.  Try to keep these things around.  It will make it easier to find that happy place.

3) Make some time for yourself each day.  I know many of us have busy schedules, but if all you have are those 10-20 minutes in the shower of quiet alone time, clear you mind and relax.  Do not use this time to rehash all the bad things from your day or the bitter feelings you have towards someone who made you not so happy during the day.  You need time to not have to worry about those things.  This is a way to regroup and recharge.  I like to use my time at the gym as my time.  I will always fit this in and going to the gym is my treat for working hard the rest of the day.  If you never give yourself even just a few minutes of YOU time each day you will start to resent those people you THINK are keeping you from your OWN time.

4) Think positively!  I am not kidding, no matter how bad something is, there is always something out there (and someone) that is worse off than you are.  Not that you should use this as a way to think you are better than others, but as a way to flip the coin and be thankful instead for what you do have, not unhappy about what you don't have.  Anytime I want to complain or be unhappy I realize that I am lucky to have so much more.  I never need to think about specific people, like "hey, well I am so much better off than XXXX".  Nope, that is still a negative thought.  Instead, think of it like this, "It really sucks that I have to work tomorrow, but it could be worse.  At least I don't have to work on Saturday".  Ok, lame example, but you get the point.  I didn't compare myself to someone, I just compared what was making me unhappy to something that could make me even unhappier, if that makes any sense.  I just always try to remember how lucky I am, and I know that each and every one of you are lucky for the things you have too.  It is just this will be different for all of us.

5) Don't let the unhappy take over.  Not only do you need to identify what makes you happy, but you need to know what makes you unhappy too.  I know this goes without saying, but those are the things you need to eliminate.  With these things still in your life, you are bound to find unhappiness at some point, probably even once a week, at least for me it is always once a week unless I do something about it.  Maybe you don't need to eliminate what ever causes you unhappiness, but you do need to reevaluate and change things to put a more positive spin on the situation and make things work to your advantage.  You may have to compromise, but that is still better than losing all the time.  I'll take a compromise over total unhappiness any day.  

Happiness is in the eye of the beholder, so figure out what makes you happy and what does not...and do something about it!

QUESTIONS:  What makes you happy?  What are your tips for happiness. 


Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

I loved this post! Being happy and positive is so important to our overall health but we sometimes overlook it!
This is just what I needed to hear this morning!

Angela (the diet book junkie) said...

aw, what a great post! i think i'm happiest when my mind is present, not worrying about the past, or the future, but appreciating the moment. looking forward to reading more!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

This post makes me happy :)

I was reading my book today and there was a quote: "The conscious brain can hold only one thought at a time; make it positive"!

I loved that, and I think it really does make a difference to just think positive, and be happy. More people need to just stop and smile, rather than taking everything so seriously. Let life be fun, you only live once!

sophia said...

I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours yet, Melinda, though I'm sure there's more to come. I LOVE this post though. Seriously. The message resonates with me so much.

I am VERY happy. I LOVE my life. I LOVE what I'm doing. I'm busy and sometimes stressed and worried about finishing school work, but...I enjoy every moment. I am learning so much, and I love everyone around me. :-)

Nicole, RD said...

Aw, I love this post! And I do look forward to your thoughts on the new guidelines. I haven't read them in their entirety yet, either. And uhh....pre-K subbing? No wonder you were pooped!!!

After a bout of major unhappiness in college, I have adapted every one of your suggestions into my life. Blogging, cooking, and exercise are my me time right now. Even though life has gotten WAY busier with teaching, I still take that time out for me each day :) Great post, girl! Have a fabulous weekend!

Special K said...

Oh my cutey-pie! This is exactly what I needed from your lovely heart and spirit. What makes me happy? Laughing at myself and forgiving myself for mistakes, bad decisions, feelings of frustration, and letting those notions that I could "do better" release into the world....and then, it is easy to laugh and drink and eat and love, and care and share rather than critiquing all the time.

Rachel said...

thanks melinda! My roommate and I talk about this kind-of stuff all the time, since so many career decisions loom ahead as we both finish our DIs. I am set on being thankful for the present moment, and not storing up my happiness and expectations on future promises (oh the perfect job..!). Trying to be thankful for the many blessings of today : ) thanks for the post

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