Sylvia Diaz is our Fitness Contributor here at Happy Magazine. When she’s not teaching a Zumba class or meeting her clients, Sylvia strives to live her best life. Here are her top tips for living in the moment and finding the joy in today.
- Create opportunities for laughter
Laughter really is the best medicine – science has shown that laughing out loud releases feel-good chemicals in the brain. Try seeking and seizing the opportunities for laughter in your day and also try to remember not to take yourself too seriously when you can. You can also create opportunities for laughter in your day, for example by meeting a friend to do something fun together or by watching a funny movie or comedy show (my favourite way to spend TV time).
- Nurture your support system
Having a good circle of friends and family around us can make a huge difference in our lives and it’s important to remember that our support system needs to be cared for and nourished too. You might be surprised how much better you feel after checking in with a friend or helping a family member, so next time you’re feeling a little down, think about who might need you today.
- Reflect on how far you’ve come
Life is full of teachable moments. So often though we wallow in our failures rather than learning the valuable lessons from our mistakes. Life will always be full of setbacks and ups and downs but it can be possible to use the bad moments to make ourselves stronger for future situations. When you’re having a difficult day, reflect on how far you’ve come and use it as motivation to get up and keep going. When I look back, I can see my eating disorder years ago made me stronger, not just physically but mentally too and this gives me strength for new challenges that come my way.
- Look for the good around you
An optimist perceives setbacks as meaningful and uses these situations as an opportunity to grow. Even in regular situations, optimists always find reasons to be excited. A simple activity such as savouring a sunny spot in the garden with a cool drink might bring you excitement – look for the opportunities around you for joy and use them. For me, going to the gym and doing my favourite class can often make my day.
- Take some time for you
Ring-fencing some time out for you every day will allow you to be able to give back to the world around you. This can be as simple as turning your phone off and moving away from your work area, even if it’s just for twenty minutes. Doing this regularly will give you a chance to think more deeply and you’ll find your concentration and productivity are improved when you do return to your work. I spend a lot of time on Instagram interacting with my followers – when I turn off my phone for awhile I’ve noticed I have a renewed sense of energy to share when I turn it back on.
- Do a little of what you love
What gives your life meaning or what goals do you have? Your purpose in life might range from being a great parent, joining an exercise class and becoming fitter to finally starting your passion business. No one can tell you what your heart longs for but you – and doing a little of what you love to do will help you find the joy in every day.
- Help others
Did you know that the act to giving to others or being generous with those close to you releases endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin in your own body, creating a natural high? Whether it’s a tiny good deed for a stranger or cooking a family member’s favourite dinner, doing something for someone else will make you feel good too.
- Live in the moment
There is a saying that if you are depressed, you are living in the past, if you are anxious, you are living in the future and if you are at peace, you are living in the present. Holly recently shared a video post here on Happy Magazine about this idea and how stress is often the result of a preoccupation with ourselves – you can watch it here. For me, I love the words carpe diem (sieze the day) and I use them as a little mantra to remind myself to live in the moment.
- Listen to music
Music can have a powerful effect on your mood. Different types of music can give different effects too – classical or slow music can decrease the release of cortisol in your system to help calm you. Upbeat music can give you an energy boost and elevate your mood. If I’m feeling sad, I like to use music and dance to bring me out of it – I head to my gym, choose some uplifting music and dance – no choreography, no purpose other than to release and feel better, and it’s fabulous. It works for me every time and now it’s my go-to when I’m feeling blue.
- Spend quality time in nature
Swimming in the ocean or taking a stroll with your dog through a local forest are free activities that will put a spring in your step. Find vitality, fresh air and a heightened sense of freedom in the outdoors – often the hardest part is just making the decision to get out the front door.
It might not be at the top of your daily to-do list, but at least make sure it’s in there somewhere. Exercise will help you feel good both mentally and physically. Regular exercise helps your digestion, keeps your heart healthy and will help you have a good sleep too. Do whatever you feel you can, even if that’s just a ten minute walk, every little bit helps.
- Get a good night’s sleep
Having a good night’s sleep is crucial to feeling good during the day. Keep a consistent sleep schedule and aim for a minimum of 7 hours sleep each night. Getting adequate sleep will help you have good energy levels throughout the day and will help improve your mood. I rarely sleep more than 6 hours a night so I am working on that. When I do get more sleep I feel I have so much more energy.
- Surprise yourself or someone else
Sometimes we all need a little break from our current norm or day-to-day routine. Surprise yourself by doing something new as often as you can – from taking a different route home, to shopping in a different store or visiting a new place with your kids or family. You could also surprise someone else with a gift or a visit and see the difference it makes in your own day as well as theirs.
That’s it! I hope I have inspired you with these simple ways to find a little joy in your day. Do you have any tips to add here for me or for anyone else reading? I’d love to hear in the comments.
Sylvia is a Health and Fitness Professional specialising in the areas of Nutrition, Fitness, Wellbeing and Dance. Sylvia will be contributing articles on exercise and wellness here at Happy Magazine and we are delighted to have her.
Sylvia has had her own personal struggles with illness – an eating disorder from her early career as an international fashion model – and knows the importance of maintaining a healthy body as well as a healthy mind. For more on Sylvia, visit her website www.fitwithsylvia.com, Instagram @fit.with.sylvia and Facebook Fit with Sylvia.