Feel Good: Enriching Your Inner Life
By Revathie Dhanabalan
May 3, 2017
With all the things going on in the world and in our own lives, we are constantly bombarded with various challenges and obstacles, and most of them beyond our control. So, we are introducing the first of the Feel Good series, where we share ways to strive for that inner peace and calmness.
Exercise and Stress Relief
Stress is an inevitable part of life. But there is an easy antidote to daily stress and that is exercise! Exercising regularly has shown to have some direct stress-busting benefits. Even a brief mild exercise can increase your overall health and sense of well-being. Studies have shown that exercising is effective at reducing fatigue and improving alertness and concentration. You are focused on the exercise through the movement and physical activity. The resulting energy and optimism from this focus can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
Attitude is Everything
We always hear "negativity kills", but a good attitude jumpstarts your day and inspires you to do more. Your attitude and how you go about doing every little thing matters. It is not just what you do, but how you do it that’s important. We can try but there are very few things in life that we have complete control over. Just as author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki puts it, "sometimes you win and sometimes you learn". What we can control is the effort we put in and when we give our full effort, there is no reason for regret.
Being Grateful Feels Good
It turns out that being grateful has some health benefits! Receiving and appreciating kindness from others may be just as important as offering it up. In a 2003 study, researchers found that people, who recognised things that they were grateful for, were more optimistic and felt better about themselves. But how does gratitude improve health? Beyond emotions, there is evidence that gratitude is associated with pleasant physical sensation as well. A 2009 study found that people experienced pleasant muscle relaxation when recalling situations in which they felt grateful. So, while it is easy to focus on the shortcomings, try a little gratefulness instead.
Be Kind to Yourself
Our sense of self is often a divided thing. On one hand, we encourage and support ourselves, but on the other hand, it is our worst enemy that critiques and questions. Associate Professor of psychology at University of Texas and author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave insecurity Behind, Kristen Neff writes that with self-compassion, “we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend”. Here, research has shown that self-compassion is more beneficial to overall well-being. Learn to be more open to your shortcomings, then you are open to growth.
Try New Stuff
Put your openness to use. Step One: Talk to strangers. Studies show that the more social interactions we have with “weak-tie” relations such as baristas, store clerks or neighbours – the happier and more satisfied we feel with our day. According to authors Linkletter and Hansen of How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life, “social interaction simulates the pleasure centres of the brain, boosting mood, warding off depression and giving you a boost of adrenaline”. So, start by exposing yourself to new ideas, people and even new ways of thinking!