It’s that time of year again. Spring. May. Time to set new goals, resolve to do more, eat less, stop smoking, start exercising, and a long list of other dos and don’ts we hope will improve our lives in the coming year. What we forget is that the outside BS doesn’t matter. What we all truly yearn for is to feel happier and healthier day to day.
Sure, we’d love to achieve those big goals and earn more money, but research reveals time and time again that once the goals are met, it’s simply onto the next. To create lasting benefits to our lives, attract more opportunities and relationships, both personally and professionally, we need to work from the inside out.
Stress and pain are relative but also a common thread connecting us all. Taking moments to remember we’re not alone, to enjoy some good breaths, have some good laughs, make some sweet love (with yourself or others), and find free ways to soak up the most of being alive will help the anxious feelings subside. Here are a few things you should do everyday to keep that stress monster away.
1. Laugh. Hard.
Life is just too damn chaotic and tragic to absorb without the soft kick of the giggles. Turns out the whole "laughter is the best medicine" theory is quite true. It’s impossible to feel the crippling burden of negative emotions while engrossed in laughter. It gives the mind and body a much needed reset and forces us into the moment. It is uplifting, energizing and oddly calming at the same time. Get to laughin. )
2. Hug. Long.
Hugging is monumentally beneficial to the human experience. It spikes oxytocin in the brain when enveloped in someone’s arms for a good 10 seconds or more. It’s beautiful to intertwine with another, smelling them, smiling with them, feeling their breath connect with yours. Two human hearts communicate during this exchange, and despite the nauseating cheesiness of this fact, it is a genuine boost to our moods and our days. Get to huggin.
3. Have sex. Alone or with another.
Naked hugging! For millions of years, orgasms have perpetuated the life of a variety of species into the future. What’s more, we don’t even need a partner to enjoy the sweet sweet release. Sure, most would prefer someone to share the experience with, but there’s something quite special about bringing yourself to fruition all on your own. It’s a satisfying reminder of the pleasures in everyday living and how the best things in life are, in fact, free. Get to humpin.
The body is a machine, a magnificent vessel that gives us life. It’s not merely a clothes horse, or a means to attract another. It’s a complicated and endlessly fascinating life form that only works if we work it. We know this, exercise is pivotal to lasting health. If you hate the gym (I can relate), don’t bother because you won’t stick with it. If you do, by all means, continue to use it.
Otherwise, there are many options you can enjoy outdoors or in the comfort of your very own home. Walk, bike, skip, jump rope, dance (badly if need be), do yoga, pilates, garden, hike, climb, swim, play with your dogs or your kids or your partners, wrestle, have sex (hey now!). Get to movin.
Without dwelling on the past, retelling the same stories over and over until they take on a distorted meaning, reflect on the day itself. Bring a little awareness to your attitude, your thoughts, the energy you exchanged with others, how you contributed to the betterment of your day.
We can’t control much, so at the end of the day, let go of the bullshit, and keep the good shit. Almost all things in life are transient, experiences are fleeting, so control what you can: your breath, your attitude, your perceptions and reactions. It is powerful what a little awareness and gratitude can do. Get to reflectin.
6. Indulge. Within reason.
I love sugar. Too much. I know this now. For years I was in denial, thinking my vagina gave me some sort of biological imperative to need and crave things like chocolate and cookies. Fruit and cacao and agave and all that natural goodness is apparently what we should be eating, within reason.
Deprivation or restriction doesn’t work and only leads to desperate decisions and lashing out. Sooner or later, you’re hiding in a closet on your 5th bag of pretzel M&Ms (or maybe that’s me). Life is too short to live without a little indulgence. So, between green juices, quinoa, kale, blueberries and all those superfoods we’re absorbing to help our bodies run smoothly, we can challenge it every now again with a little pick me up. Whatever that indulgence is for you, give yourself a little treat every once in a while. If it keeps you from snapping on yourself or another, the calories are well worth it. Get to indulgin.
7. Ask yourself whether your thoughts are making your experience of stress worse.
If so, take a 10-minute walk, a 10-minute break to step outside and take deep, slow breaths, find someone to hug, watch a funny clip on the internet, masturbate (preferably not in a public place), do something silly to remind yourself what a fleeting and fast blip in time life is. It’s too damn short to get bogged down by superficial nonsense, melodramatic arguments, or worry over your place in the rat race.
You are already enough, already whole, already complete. You’ve won. You’re still here. Now suck it up and enjoy the shit out of it. What other choice to you have? Get to livin.