By Wannabe Happy
We are entering into Week 2 of the 8 weeks to happiness. We will be putting a little more focus on yoga, meditation and eating better. But not too much, it is only week 2, so it will be just be a small introduction to these areas.
I know you are asking yourself, how can eating better contribute to happiness? Well, from experience, eating healthy allows for me to free up my mind for other important things that require mental strength. When I have a “guilt-free” meal, I am not worried about how I am going to burn those extra calories, or how I have to remember to eat less calories on the next meal to compensate. And let’s not forget, there is a remarkable feeling one gets from biting into a nice sweet piece of fruit.
As we bring our attention to awareness, we will be preparing more for yoga and meditation, which has profound effects on our happiness. Most of our eating binges, feelings of depression and sadness, and just overall “down” days can be minimized by learning how to calm the mind and body. So keep an open mind, and I will guide you through week 2. Also, try to erase any preconceived prejudice you may have toward yoga, meditation and eating healthy. We will take a more traditional approach to these practices.
Continue to utilize the principles learned in the first week, breathing comfortably, playing your theme song, paying compliments, making plans and enjoying your surroundings. If you missed week 1, no worries, we will be here, it is not too late to join us.
Day 1: Go Meatless one day this week
Yes, go meatless one day this week. But consciously meatless. Don’t say to yourself, “Great, Chicago style stuffed crust pizza with extra cheese and mushrooms is meatless enough for me!” Try to do it with awareness. Awareness to what you are putting into your body, awareness to how your food arrived to your plate and awareness to the effects this will have on your body once digested. Some of you may think going meatless is impossible. Well, it isn’t and you can make it fun. Begin to stop using the “D word” (diet), let’s begin to refer to our eating consciously, being aware of what we are putting in our mouth. Try a new recipe with the family, invite a friend to join you at a vegan, vegetarian or healthy restaurant. Doing it together with someone can have a positive effect, but doing it alone can have just as much of an impact on your happiness.
Also, you will never be alone in this journey because in 2003, Meatless Monday was introduced as a public health awareness campaign. Since then, Meatless Monday has turned into an international movement. The idea behind Meatless Monday is to start the week off with a focus on health and awareness of the impact our meat consumption is having on the environment.
Day 2: Start a “vent journal”
This will be a different kind of journal. We are going to call this our “vent journal.” You know all of the things you call your friends to complain about, gossip about, and/or just overall vent, let’s write those things down. Put it on paper as oppose to releasing it back into the universe. Just do it and we will do a fun exercise with this later. Release, release, release. But when you are done, be sure to store this away in a safe place for no one to find it.
Day 3: Eat a piece of fruit
With awareness, eat a piece of fruit. Take a second to actually enjoy the piece of fruit but think about where it came from and how it arrived to you. There are some people that practice meditation with food, and the concepts here are similar. We will not go that far just yet; but as you breathe smoothly, chew slowly and enjoy your fruit write down quickly five people involved with the process of that fruit arriving to your hands. We are all connected and dependent on each other, the more you begin to realize this the more aware you will become of the community around you.
Day 4: 6 easy basic yoga movements
I have designed a quick morning pick me up that will bring awareness to your breath and wake up your body. Starting your day on with a focus on your breath and noticing how your body operates with your breath is an easy way to put attention and focus on how the mind and body work together through the breath. It will also show you how you are in control of your movements, which can translate into being in control of your actions. An ancient text tells us that “you have control over your actions, never over the fruit of your actions. You should never act for the sake of reward, nor should succumb to inaction”. Keep this in mind as you move in and out of these 6 easy yoga poses, focusing on the breath.
Day 5: Read your “vent journal”
Read your vent journal from Day 2 of this week. Take a look at what you wrote and notice how much things have changed since you wrote down those thoughts. Notice how you misjudged someone’s actions, notice how the problem you wrote about worked itself out, notice how you avoided the petty argument you could have started from verbalizing those thoughts. Use this as a lesson to think about what you say before you say it. Sometimes we create our own misery, pain and/or sadness by what comes out of our mouths, or in this day in age, what we text or post on facebook. Let’s not even begin to think about the effects our words have on other people’s happiness (the list could be endless). Taking control of your actions, starting with the words we speak or don’t speak, can have positive effects on your mood and give you the boost you need to continue the day with a smile.
Days 6 & 7: “Weekend”
These two days we will consider our weekend. Like all weekends, we either rest from our week or catch up on what we missed out on during the week. Take the same approach here. Either revisit a concept from Days 1-5 of this week or from week 1 that you enjoyed or didn’t quite grasp totally. Whether it be going meatless, practicing the 6 easy yoga poses or trying another vegan, vegetarian or healthy restaurant. Think about the week and continue to practice the principles learned. Begin to try to make them a habit in your life.