When you’re feeling happy, relaxed, and excited by life, even your pets can sense your positive attitude!
For me, the best way to take care of my appearance and make sure I’m looking my best is to make sure I’m feeling my best. But let’s be real—that is often easier said than done.
It’s easy to “feel my best” when I’m on vacation, or out to dinner with my best friend, or relaxing at home with my dogs, but life includes lots of other things too.
I try to cultivate a life that’s as pleasurable as possible that gives me time to do the things I love. I do work that feels creative. I surround myself with people who nourish me and spark me up.
But we can’t control everything.
There’s no way to make it all perfect. (And in fact, it’s super stressful to try.) Sometimes life is going to hand us stress, difficulty, and hard stuff we have to work through.
So how do we “feel our best” even when tough stuff is happening around us? I’ve been experimenting with this lately, and I’d love to share a few things I’ve found useful.
1. Look for things to appreciate.
Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the concept of appreciation.
Whatever situation I’m dealing with—whether it’s getting my kid out the door, or a grumpy spouse or five action items flooding in at once for work—I can step back at that moment, shift my gaze, and look for what I can appreciate, right now.
If my kid is stalling, running late, and totally distracted, I can still look at her and choose to see how she’s still adjusting to her time on this planet and how gorgeous and tender that is.
If my spouse is grumpy and tired, I can choose to recognize that’s because they’ve been working hard on a creative project, and remember how much I appreciate their incredible and dynamic creativity.
If I get bombarded by five work requests at once, I can take three seconds, shift my perspective, and appreciate that I love what I do for a living. I can also appreciate that it’s busy enough for me to have a lot to juggle!
Looking for what I can appreciate about whatever’s happening, right now, shifts my focus. It instantly makes me feel freer and more able to take pleasure in what’s happening.
2. Tune into mindfulness—right now.
Meditation has incredible benefits, and it’s something I recommend to everyone for happiness and physical benefits.
However, it requires stepping outside your life for a minute and creating a new habit. Sometimes, when things are really hard, it can be difficult to forge new habits.
But the core principle of meditation—mindfulness, or being present in the moment—is available to all of us anytime. You don’t have to go on a retreat or be able to tap into a deep state of timeless inner peace to be able to access it.
Try this experiment: if you catch yourself feeling stressed, zoom in on where that stressful feeling is occurring in your body.
Is it your chest? Your throat? Your face? Then focus on a different part of your body that feels more relaxed. (My feet work well for me.)
Then just shift your attention back and forth between the “stressed” part of your body and the “relaxed” part of your body.
Don’t try to make the “stress” go away—just move back and forth with your attention for a few seconds or minutes (however long you have).
I find this kind of amazing. Just a minute or so of shifting my attention back and forth like this will often loosen up the “stressed” feeling enough that I can feel more pleasure and enjoy what I’m doing much more.
Just moving your body is enough and it’s really easy to forget to do it.
That’s especially the case if we work at a desk, spend a lot of time driving, or have limited mobility in any way.
But taking a few minutes to move in a way that feels good can radically improve your happiness —no matter what’s going on.
You will be surprised how taking a brisk walk can alter your mood.
Moving doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or taking a yoga class. Even standing up and sitting down, shaking things out, for 30 seconds right now, can energize you, move your cells around, and shift things inside so it’s easier to smile.
And an extra bonus: it revs up your circulation, so your cheeks flush and you get a little glow. Do that, and you’ll start seeing that external radiance reflected on your skin.