Have you ever turned to food for comfort or happiness? If you answered yes but you feel embarrassed to admit it, don’t. Know that most people have done this or still do this regularly. I recently had a nutrition client tell me that she turned to food because it was the one constant in her life that she could control. I helped her realize that she was in control of EVERY part of her life, and that so many other things would make her happier than food.
Think about it. You have a bad day. Something awful happens. You eat half a package of cookies and a huge chunk of cheese. It sure tastes good while you’re eating it, but how do you feel after? Probably one or more of the following: sick, guilty, disgusted, angry, sad, fat, bloated, uncomfortable, weak, tired. Am I right? So that proves that food is not making you all that happy. Happiness should last a lot longer than the five minutes it took you to eat.
You need to look outside of the refrigerator for higher quality happiness. This list is just a starting point for you. You can sit down and make your own list, but use this one for inspiration. Then go find some REAL happiness!
#1 – Friends
As adults, we don’t spend as much time with friends as we did when we were younger. But your friendships should still be a pretty important part of your life. Having a positive social circle is good for your overall general health. The last time I was with my girlfriends, we talked, laughed, shared stories, and commiserated. It was so much fun, and I was in such a great mood the rest of the weekend. These are the people that “get” me, that know how I feel, what I need, and will do anything for me. So the next time you are reaching for that bag of potato chips, reach instead for the phone and call a friend. Ask how she is. Tell her about your troubles and the good things going on in your life. Talking to a friend…that is happiness.
#2 – Pets
Fur friends can be just as helpful as people friends. If you have one, you know how important these creatures can be. Dogs and cats can provide unconditional love. They don’t talk back or judge you. They just listen and sit by your side. All you have to do in return is show them some love, which isn’t hard to do. Snuggle up with your pet on the couch and talk to him. It doesn’t matter that he won’t talk back. Pet him with long, calming strokes, and soon you should feel yourself calming as well. The pure love of a pet…that is happiness.
#3 – Exercise
When you are feeling down or having a tough time, one of the best treatments is exercise. It doesn’t have to be a full-on sweat session either. Just going for a simple walk is enough. Moving your body in any way will get your blood flowing, give you time to think and clear your head at the same time, and make you feel better. If you find yourself creeping toward the pantry, do something active that you enjoy instead. The high you get from exercise…that is happiness.
#4 – Music
Turn to whatever kind of music is your favorite. It can be calm and relaxing classical music, or upbeat and loud pop music. Sing the lyrics. Get up and dance. Really listen to the music and let it wash over you. Think about good memories that you associate with the different songs. When I need a boost, I turn to hip hop music. Yep, I turn on my inner “gangsta” and pretend I’m all badass. It always lifts my spirits, just for the simple act of laughing at myself. Pumped up music…that is happiness.
#5 – Shopping
Ok, you want to be careful here. If you are not quite at the size you want to be right now, clothes shopping may not be the best option. But if you are happy with your weight, go buy some new clothes. I always feel amazing and excited when I buy new clothes. If clothes shopping is not the best option for you, shop for something else. You can buy makeup, perfume, gardening supplies, craft material, furniture, whatever gets you really excited. Even shopping online should make you happy. Retail therapy…that’s happiness.
#6 – Cleaning
I know you’re probably thinking I’m crazy and that cleaning would never make you happy, but hear me out. I’m not talking about the regular cleaning you have to do on a daily basis, like vacuuming and washing dishes. I’m talking about organizing or cleaning an area that you have been neglecting for a while, like a closet or your kitchen pantry. Get in there, get rid of things, organize, straighten, and make it sparkle. This chore will make you feel accomplished and useful. A clean space…that is happiness.
What are some things you do – besides eating – that brings you happiness?