You know those days when you are just MAD? You can’t quite put your finger on it but kids are driving you crazy, your husband gets on your nerves and you have too much to do. . . Momma just ain’t happy and WATCH OUT. It happens to the best of us but there are things we can do to turn around BAD ATTITUDES, choose joy and find the happiness in our everyday. Here are 10 ways to PRACTICE the art of Happy.
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Why aren’t we happy?
Happiness is a state of mind, an emotion, a feeling that everything is light and OK. When we are happy we smile, say nice things, feel positive about our daily life. This feeling is CONTAGIOUS.
Have you noticed this? I have definitely noticed if I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and grump around all morning, my attitude definietly rubs off on everyone else. . . kids grumble and bicker, baby fusses, husband irritates. . . it just sets such a negative tone for the whole day.
There are so many different factors that play into happiness: life situation and requirements, daily demands for our limited time and attention, worry, stress and anxiety, health concerns for you or family and friends . . . HORMONES and accompanying emotions. . . UGGG to that one!!!!
Let’s face it . . . life deals us A LOT to deal with and there is only SO MUCH of us to go around. . . We can’t be happy all the time but the truth is . . . when we have a POSITIVE attitude and choose to look at the bright side, not dwell in the negative . . . happiness sparks and grows.
((In case you haven’t noticed I am totally preaching to MYSELF here!!))
Okay so. . . How do we turn around bad attitudes when Momma just ain’t feelin’ happy?
There are a few things I have noticed that really help to turn around a bad day . . . or multiple bad days. YES bad things happen and can set us off course. In general these methods will help plant the “happy seed” . . . Nurture it and WATCH it grow.
10 Ways to Practice Happy (in no specific order)
- Get Dressed
- Positive Affirmations
- Self Care
- Choose Joy
- Get/Ask for Help
Look, Feel, Speak, Show and BE Happy
Look Happy: Get Dressed
Okay so this is a Duh thing right? We know we need to get dressed everyday but if we are being honest, when we feel lousy and grumpy . . . we just want to lay around in our grungiest jammies and lament all your problems!
Oh is this not you?! . . . Ya right I can’t be the only one.
You know what helps? Turns out getting dressed, putting on something clean and well made. . . I’m not talking dress-up. I’m talking CLEAN, decent clothes. . .NO PJ’s . . . and *GASP* yoga pants are borderline.
Look good, feel good!unknown
It seems like such a simple thing but try it next time you feel really grumpy. If I look like a total skunk, I don’t feel good. Put on nice clothes, tend to your outside appearance and just see if inside mood doesn’t change??
I don’t want to seem shallow here at all. Our self-worth does not depend on our looks or the things we have at all . . . BUT if we take care of ourselves and treat ourselves well, other’s will notice but most importantly WE will notice.
Look Happy: Smile
Oh man a smile can do wonders for our attitude. I know it can be so, so hard to smile when you don’t feel like it.
Trust me, I certainly can be a “Debbie Downer” and forget to look at the positives. This causes a deep unsightly furrow in my brown and a RBF like no other. It is very unbecoming and I don’t want to demonstrate this kind of behavior to my children
Listen to me here when I PROMISE you that even though you don’t feel like it right now, if you can find your beautiful smile, slap it on — your inside feelings will follow your outside actions.
Smile — it improves your face value!Dolly Parton
Smiling makes us more approachable and really more beautiful. Our insides are a lot more beautiful as well.
When Momma isn’t happy . . . no one is happy. . .There is a reason this is a saying. I know my family tends to be avoidant and tip toe around me when I’m acting like a big ol’ Crank.
Do you want to be that kind of mom? I sure don’t! I wan’t my kids and husband to come to me for love and hugs. Will they remember a happy, fun, loving Momma. I hope so!
This means that even if we don’t want to, we put our big girl panties on and smile through the tears, fears, worries and frustrations of life. After all this too shall pass but our families are forever.
Feel Happy: Exercise
Oh man! I included the importance of exercise in another post I wrote about Anxiety as a Homemaker. Check out that Post here:
Exercise is not usually something we really WANT to do but it is just so, so good for our bodies and our minds.
You don’t have to have an expensive gym membership or even a strenuous workout regimen. Exercise can be as simple as bundling kids up, putting them on bikes or in strollers and heading out for a walk around the neighborhood – aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
I promise you will not always want to do this. If you are like me, you will think of a million excuses why you are too busy or too tired or whatever. . . BUT it will always, always help.
When we exercise, chemicals that increase our sense of well-being are released and hormones that cause stress and anxiety are suppressed. Serotonin, nor-epinephrine, dopamine, endocannabinoids . . . these are all the GOOD GUYS. . . these “feel good” hormones actually make us happier.
It’s SCIENCE man! Thank you God for your thoughtful creation of us.
Adding community to exercise is a BONUS. Walk with a friend or family to boost the feel good hormones. Another reason adding community to exercise is accountability. It is harder to make excuses and get out of it, if someone else is counting on you.
Feel Happy: Clean & Declutter
Okay so I don’t want to scare everyone here. . . . you don’t have to be a clean freak to feel happy. That isn’t what I am getting at but a would bet that a lot of feelings of unhappiness stem from discontentment, overwhelm etc.
Sometimes all the PHYSICAL STUFF in our homes can reek havoc on our sense of calm and happy. Our minds can feel cluttered and not peaceful at all.
It really is helpful to keep a calm, de-cluttered environment. There is a thought that every item in our home sends a silent message to our brains. The dreaded “Silent to-do List”
“Pick me up” “Take care of me.” “Wash me.” . . . whatever it may be, all of these messages build up in our minds making us feel overwhelmed, unsettled, unfocused and ultimately CRANKY!
For more info on how this Silent to-do list negatively effects our attitudes checkout this good read: Goodbye Things by Fumio Sasaki
DE-CLUTTER something. . . pick something small: sock drawer, silverware drawer, purse or even tackle the refrigerator.
Whatever you choose I PROMISE, it feels so good and really can set the ball rolling for more productive actions. Letting go and simplifying can really help us gain focus and gratitude for what we have.
If you are ready to DIVE RIGHT IN, here is a helpful post on organizing your refrigerator:
Now I am no minimalist and NO expert on de-cluttering so checkout this great YouTube video from The Minimal Mom: Decluttering 101
Speak Happy: Positive Affirmations
This goes along with Self-Care but while self-care is a bit more about actions and what you DO for yourself, positive affirmation is more about what you SAY to yourself.
Speak KINDLY to yourself. . . . like you are speaking to a friend.
Thing about it. . . if your friend was feeling sad and overwhelmed would you say: ” You are just being a big ol baby. Snap out of it and stop whining!”
I would venture to guess that if you talked to a “friend” this way they would not be your friend very long.
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself grace. Acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to feel that way but don’t wallow in it. SPEAK words of encouragement and affirmation.
If you don’t have any positive words in your back pocket, I encourage you to find some to remember NOW so when bad days spring up on you. . . you have armed yourself with TRUTH. It is easy to give into the negative talk.
Because I am a Christian, much of my inspiration and positive motivation comes from the bible but there are so many sources. Here are a few ideas:
Lifeshine Lane: 65 Powerful and Inspiring Self-Love Affirmations
Speak Happy: Talk to Someone
Tell someone how you are feeling. Often getting the words out or even the process of putting words to how we feel is therapeutic.
I know I OFTEN struggle with how to explain what I am feeling or I will feel bad and not really know why.
This is NORMAL and it’s OKAY. Just try to talk to a trusted friend, family member, spouse or therapist. Make sure they are a SAFE place and a non-judgmental ear
There are studies that show that when we verbalize our feelings sadness, anger and pain is made less intense. (Putting Feelings into Words Produces Therapeutic Effects in The Brain)
This is why therapy works and is such a gift to so many people. I didn’t always have this view of therapy. I am ashamed to say that I used to think that was for only “certain” people. People that have it way worse than me.
I am here to tell you that a good Therapist is important for everyone. It is nice to know you can talk to someone and not have to listen to respond back to THEM. Are you following me here?? We don’t want to feel like a whiner or complainer to a friend if all we talk about is OUR feelings and OUR issues so we often hold back. . . but that is what a Therapist is for. . . it’s very helpful.
Show Happy: Hug/Care for Someone Else
I wouldn’t exactly call myself a hugger. I didn’t really grow up in a hugging family so I don’t often think about this as a tool to practice and improve our happy.
But it works!! A hug from someone you love or someone who simply GETS you and supports you is the BEST.
Hugs and cuddling produce a powerful love hormone. . . OXYTOCIN. . .along with many other feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin . There is a REASON we hold our babies skin- to-skin. These intimate cuddles produce a strong sense of peace, calm and bonding.
It’s SCIENCE man!!! Thank you God for creating such loving, intricate humans.
Hugs not only can improve our mood but also heart health and immunity. Hugs reduce fear and pain and help us be better communicators.
Even though I’m not a “hugger”, I practice hugging alot. For those of us who’s love language is physical touch it is even more important to hug.
I know I can get through to my kids better when they are cranky and disobedient if I hug and love on them before handing out discipline or correction.
It is also a great way to diffuse an argument (say with a disagreeable spouse. . . *ahem*) A hug is just a great way to love someone and feel more grounded and connected despite all that is happening around you.
Will you give someone a hug for me today?!
Show Happy: Self Care
Self care is all about LOVE and I don’t know about you but when I feel super gloomy and am having a bad day . . . if I stop to think about it I probably haven’t been loving myself very well.
Unfortunately for Homemakers self-love is all tangled up with GUILT. You know the feeling – if we take care of our needs over others it is being selfish. . .BUT the reality is. THIS IS A BIG FAT OL’ LIE.
You know the term “the blind leading the blind” . If we don’t know how to take care of ourselves it is really difficult to teach our families to care for themselves. I really don’t want my children growing up not knowing what makes them happy and how do what they enjoy.
Listen to me right now: “You are doing a great job! You deserve to be happy and to treat yourself to what makes you feel good.”
So now that you have permission, what will it be??
What makes you feel cared for??? I encourage you to not only make a list but also share that with your partner. I know they would appreciate ideas on how to help you care for yourself because they just WANT us to be happy.
Here are some ideas/examples that I definitely shared with my Hubby: (I sent him a text from my Notes App cuz that’s how I roll!)
- Quality time with kids – plan a lunch date individually with a child, play a game, read to them, make their favorite meal or go camping. . .
- Night off of dinner duty
- Night out with friends
- Healthy food choices: food that make us feel strong and healthy
- Taking our vitamins or supplements daily (Can someone please tell me why this is so hard??)
- Special treats: coffee, a sweet treat
- A Massage
- Exercise – fresh air and feel good hormones!!
- Beautifying your surroundings – de-luttering, simplifying, painting, cleaning
- Music or Art – being creative
- Reading, quietly undisturbed
- At home facial, nail care
- New Haircut
- Fill in the blank _______________________ (Think about what makes YOU feel cared for and ASK for what you need because you DESERVE it!!)
Self care does not have be be elaborate or expensive. It could be as simple as a quiet, undesturbed bubble bath. . . that sounds amazing
Excuse me!!! I need to go take a bath now. . . .
Be Happy: Choose Joy
Did you know that happiness is a choice? Okay, Okay hear me out here. When we wake up snarly and ready to bite everyone’s head off before our first cup of coffee – we can STOP and choose to respond differently.
We are not victims of our feelings and our emotions although sometimes it feels like it. We can “outwit” our brains by choosing to act differently than how we feel. Our emotions will then follow. . . .do ya follow?
For example if you are just so frustrated and cranky with your children for not doing what is asked, try approaching the situation with the OPPOSITE emotion. Smile, give a hug, tell them how much you love them . . . then give them expectations and consequences. It makes a difference.
Happiness and joy is a PRACTICE . . .it is something we continually seek and cultivate in our homes and our environments. We can either choose to sit in a sullen, somber funk OR we really can CHOOSE the opposite behavior that sparks the opposite emotion. . .
Maybe your sour attitude is a result of the HEAVY responsibility and stress of daily life. Could you choose to spend part of the day doing something completely frivolous, maybe even goofy? Would you dance in the kitchen to silly music?? Could you make dessert for dinner and serve it on fancy china?? Think of something that would spark shear JOY. . .
I promise the world will not implode . . . all the to-do’s of life will remain BUT you will be able to tackle them with renewed spirit and a better attitude. Because after all:
We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joyJoseph Campbell
Be Happy: Ask for Help
Why is it so hard to ask for help?? Oh you too??. . . you also think you can do it all, are fiercely independent and feel maybe GUILTY for asking for help?. . .
Stop it! Stop it RIGHT NOW!
Our culture glorifies independence but we are social beings. The TRUTH is we are designed for community and partnership. We CAN’T do it all and we really shouldn’t. Doesn’t it feel good to help someone else? It sure does. . . so ask and let people help you.
It is so important to accept others goodness and support when they extend wisdom, guidance, availability, talents, generosity or enthusiasm. Take it graciously. Receive their precious gift and reap the benefits of the balance between independence and dependence!
I don’t want to be insensitive to those who’s unhappiness goes beyond an occasional funk. Clinical depression and anxiety is a REAL issue that is difficult to control with these simple behavioral changes. If unhappiness morphs into day after day of feeling hopeless, worthless, overwhelmed and disinterested in life. Maybe these feelings coincide with physical symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, guilt, pessimism, appetite changes. . . .it is incredibly important to talk to your doctor about it!