As we all know, making New Year resolutions is a common practice. A new year is seen by many as a new beginning and a chance to improve on the previous year. Those in recovery know all too well that change, a new start, and letting go of old behaviors is important. Sonja Lyumbomirski a University of California psychologist has developed these practical suggestions for happiness based on her research. Follow these tips to improve your happiness level in the year to come.
- Count your blessings. One way to do this is with a gratitude journal in which you write down three to five things for which you are grateful. Do it once a week as remembering what you are grateful for is a surefire way to improve your mood.
- Practice acts of kindness. Being kind to others, whether friends or strangers, triggers a cascade of positive effects-makes you feel generous and gives you a greater sense of connection with others.
- Savor life’s joys. Pay close attention to momentary pleasures and wonders such as the sweetness of a strawberry or the warmth of the sun.
- Thank a mentor. If there is someone you owe a debt of gratitude to, express your appreciation either in a letter or if possible in person.
- Learn to forgive. Let go of anger and resentment. The inability to forgive will only hurt you while forgiving allows you to move on.
- Invest time and energy in friends and family. The biggest factor in a satisfying life appears to be strong personal relationships. People need to feel connected. Of course make sure that you are connecting to people who support your recovery.
- Take care of your body. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat well. All of these things will improve your mood and strengthen your recovery.
- Develop strategies for coping with stress and hardships. There is no avoiding ‘hard times.” Whether you utilize spirituality, meditation, or just talking to a friend, all of us need tools and strategies for dealing with stress. These techniques are especially important for those in recovery.