You have multiple priorities on your mind at any given time.
Food, kids, laundry, cleaning, friends, work, bills, relationships, home, car, shower, sex, exercise, hobbies, not to mention politics, economics, scientific breakthroughs, the environment, public education or healthcare.
You are in constant movement, getting things done, going places, talking to people.
Not only are you thinking about many things at the same time, recent Harvard research indicates that you're thinking about something other than what you are doing in the moment at least 47% of the time.
You spend most of your life engaging with a wandering mind*, thinking about everything you need to do, pondering world affairs and absentmindedly doing what needs to be done right now.
You are giving life half of your attention because almost 50% of the time you're thinking of something other than what you're doing.
When your life is guided by thoughts about things you have to do or things you have done you will likely fail to focus on the present. And you might experience a downward spiral* into stress and unhappiness.
Your focus is on everything and everyone except yourself.
You are rarely on your own list!
You feel responsible for "getting everything done."
This mentality incorporates the thinking “If I don’t do it, who will?”
When you focus on everything except yourself you might feel angry, irritable, frustrated, disappointed, stressed, depressed, lethargic and you might head right for the chocolate and potato chips.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!
Stress or Ease?
Grumpiness or Happiness?
At some point you have to make a firm decision that you will stand up for your happiness at all costs! No matter how many things need to be done or how many people you need to talk to right away.
You have to acknowledge your happiness as your number one priority.
If you slack on making yourself a priority the consequences can be unwelcome.
Your unhappiness will pervade your family, your work and your community, even if you don't intend to spread those feelings to family and friends.
When you are ready to:
- admit your happiness is important
- acknowledge creating time for yourself is essential
- create a self-based happiness practice with strict boundaries
Then determine what you will do within your happiness practice.
According to the Harvard Gazette:
Dan Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, found people were happiest when making love, exercising or engaging in conversation. They were least happy when resting, working or using a home computer.
Within your happiness practice, set aside time to make love, exercise and engage in meaningful conversation. Avoid idle rest, overwork or unproductive time in front of the computer.
I would add: Build in daily happiness-boosting routines and engage in meaningful acts of service. Your health and happiness are your top priorities in life.
You have to make time for yourself.
You can design a life where your happiness is your foundation.
It's time to put yourself first and make happiness your top priority.
Who else is going to do it for you?
Start today! Make love! Exercise! Call a good friend and have a meaningful conversation! Express gratitude! Smile and laugh! Sing and dance! Jump up and say “I'm happy!” Do something that engages your heart!
How do you put yourself first? How does taking time for yourself help make you happier? Please share your best tips in the comments below!
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Dr. Aymee Coget, Sustainable Happiness Expert, founder of The Happiness Makeover™ Training Program offers services and products on how to become happier at her website www.happinessmakeover.com. Ask questions and visit her on Facebook or Twitter (@draymee), or her blog www.draymee.blogspot.com.
*Please visit our Life Well Lived Glossary for more information about terms used in this post including "wandering mind," "upward spiral" and "downward spiral."