When it comes to happiness, what many people don’t realize is that happiness isn’t a finish line. Movies, books, and television shows paint this notion that happiness is the end goal at the end of a storybook, but what happens to the characters when they’re out of your sight?
Happiness: It’s not something that you “reach” and it’s not something that stays put once you have it.
Because feelings are a helluva thing.
The path of happiness (notice how we say of and not to) is one that you are already on. Each mile is a different chapter, and with each mile, you experience an abundance of happiness or lack of happiness.
It’s up to you to learn coping mechanisms and tips that work best for you on your path of happiness, because what happens is everything that bogs you down is removed. Think of it like fog that’s being lifted in chunks each time you manage your stress effectively with the right tools.
How can you manage your stress and feelings so that they don’t distract you from the happiness you can experience right now?
By the time you’re done reading this blog post, don’t expect to be happy automatically. The inner work starts here. Set your intentions on happier living by following these tips for how to manage your stress and feelings.
Scan Your Environment
What does that mean? Well, your surroundings and the people around you can either nurture or hinder your energy and mindset. Follow these steps:
- Meditate and do breathing exercises to give yourself a clean slate. Take however much time you need.
- In comfy clothes, walk around your apartment or house with your phone. Take photos of whatever stresses you out and whatever makes you feel happy.
- When you’re done, organize those photos into two folders on your phone. You can name them like this:
- Nurturing My Energy
- Hindering My Energy
What about when it comes to people?
Great question. Keep reading. We’re getting there!
Make Your VIP List
Have you ever heard of Dunbar’s Number? We just learned about it and it’s interesting AF.
Dunbar’s Number tells us we have the capacity to maintain only 150 relationships. It then goes deeper from there. According to BBC.com, the theory is that “the tightest circle has just five people – loved ones. That’s followed by successive layers of 15 (good friends), 50 (friends), 150 (meaningful contacts), 500 (acquaintances) and 1500 (people you can recognise). People migrate in and out of these layers, but the idea is that space has to be carved out for any new entrants.”
We’ll say it again now: Make your VIP list. You can love everyone with all your heart but you’ve got to reserve your energy and spoons for the people most fit and understanding of your happiness path.
For those who have toxic energy or personalities, you can celebrate them from a distance but ask for them to not sit at your table. It’s your life, your circle, your happiness at stake.
Create A Self Care Plan
Stress and emotions get hot and in the way when you’re burning steam. In other words, if you’re not taking care of yourself or taking self care steps, you’re bound to get more stressed and your emotions are more sensitive.
When you’re in this mental state, it’s harder to “prioritize what’s within your control” and to not react suddenly. By leaning into self care, you minimize risk of conflicts and smoothen out the kinks on your path of happiness.
How can I create a self care plan?
It all starts with asking yourself, “What do I need more of?” Is it sleep? Is it nourishment? You’ll get the most out of your self care when you put the plans to paper. Click here to check out the Self Care Planner, a 12-month planner that encourages self love through “one thing a day” self care planning and introspective questions.
“But affirmations are cheesy,” said the people who never put intent into their affirmations. Oops. Did we say that? Don’t give up! When you feel stress or negative feelings spurring, turn to affirmations but speak them aloud to yourself.
It’s equal parts listening and feeling. There’s something calming about feeling your voice vibrating in your chest, speaking comforting things. Remember, positive results and changes don’t happen instantaneously. Just like Healthline.com described, “Affirmations generally work as a tool for shifting your mindset and achieving your goals, but they’re not a magic bullet for instant success or healing.”
Step Away When you Need To
This one is a heavy-hitter for the social butterflies. When you’re an extrovert (or a polite introvert), you feel obligated to continue conversations or remain present in a group. When the air is stifling and you don’t vibe with the energy around you, it’s okay to excuse yourself temporarily or make an adjustment to your plans and head out.
You’ve been through so much. It’s gonna be okay.
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