We have all heard it many times that happiness is an inside job, and as with any job, succeeding takes dedication, consistency and hard work. Today, we are sharing five unexpected ways happy, healthy women live their fullest and most productive lives.
1| She Has Relationship Check-Up's.
There is a saying that suggests that we become like the five people we spend the most time with, and whether or not that is true, it's an undeniable fact that all of the people in our lives bring their energy into ours (we do the the same to/for them). This is one of the many reasons the states of our relationships with lovers, friends, family members and colleagues are key measures of the health of our overall lives. Happy, healthy women have learned that things either grow or die in life, and there are toxic side effects of allowing anything to exist on autopilot-including relationships. This is why they take time at least once a month to sit down and assess how their relationships are working for or against their happiness, productivity and ability to move through their days with less stress and more (positive) energy.
Are you allowing an anxious colleague to impact your productivity? Are you ignoring a big conversation about boundaries with a pushy sibling or staring at the TV all night as a way to send a message to your spouse? How are you participating in behaviors that create stress, chaos or unease for those around you? If you identify an area that needs healing, start thinking of ways you can work in a more positive direction and then reach out to the other party and ask what they need from you to help move the relationship into a better direction. Then, come up with a plan. If you have someone in your life who is not receptive to your need for better boundaries, healthier communication styles or otherwise attacks or stonewalls you, give yourself permission to step away from the relationship until they are willing to do their part. It is 100% OK to protect your mental and emotional health.
2| She is serious about balance.
We live in a 24-7 world where it can be tempting to overbook, overwork and over think. If this isn't bad enough, most of us do this on way less sleep and water than our bodies require to perform even when not pushed to their limits. Healthy and happy women will go into overdrive when necessary (i.e., to get that launch out on time, to show up for a friend after a long day at the office) but they don't make a habit of living on the edge. They know the effects of stress on the mind, body and relationships all too well which is why they make it a priority to keep it in check.
To assess where you are on a scale of one to burnout, consider the ways your current lifestyle makes you feel. Are you sleeping well? Are you able to handle the pressures of life without losing your temper? Do you feel like your days have separate components or are you rushing through the hours chasing an endless stream of tasks and obligations? How does your body feel? Are you relaxed and breathing deeply or are your shoulders tensing up while you take panicked breaths? If you are in need of more balance, commit to exploring new ways of managing your life where you create space for relaxation. This could mean seeing a life coach or therapist, taking a 15 minute break from work and sitting in a park with a warm cup of tea, closing down the computer a half hour early for an epsom salt bath or sitting down and organizing your tasks in a calendar where you allow for a full day off each week. Find methods that work for you and create happy and healthy habits that help to bring you back to center.
3| She doesn't get caught up in the comparison trap.
The Facebook platform is one of the greatest online inventions ever to hit the web, but as with anything, there is a shadow side. Social media is a fantastic way to stay connected, network and promote brands, but it also serves as a constant PR stream of the best parts of other people's lives (which are often filtered to look more attractive than they might be in real time). The healthy and happy woman knows this, and also knows that, if other people are as happy/beautiful/lucky/successful as they seem, that's a good thing...for them. She knows where she ends and others begin and that their lives have nothing to do with her ability to live hers to the fullest. Her best friend getting married doesn't mean that she won't and if her single HS mate quits their job and travels the world at 40, it doesn't mean that she made the wrong choice to stay in their hometown and marry at 27. Life is about personal choices and personal experiences. The goal is to share it with people who love and support you (and that you love and support) and not to compete with and "beat" anyone else. When you fully understand and accept this, you automatically win.
4| She takes full accountability for her life.
This includes the good as well as the bad. She knows that it is completely acceptable to take credit for her own success and accept a well-deserved compliment just as much as she would responsibility for a misstep or bad decision. She finds freedom in having full control over her life and choices and knows that owning up to mistakes is the fastest way to learn and move on. She doesn't make excuses for statements or choices that do not reflect the best part of her or her abilities, she takes responsibility, apologizes when necessary and does better next time. She's not interested in being a victim, but sees herself as a leader in her own part of the universe and works everyday to RISE.
5| She is endlessly grateful.
There is no denying that we all have at least a dozen reasons a day to be miserable. Maybe the woman in Starbucks was rude or the boss is micromanaging you within an inch of your life. Perhaps your spouse doesn't understand why they need to do the dishes before bedtime or your back hurts from working late into the night. Happy, healthy women counteract the desire to dwell with heaping loads of gratitude for the small and large pleasures of life. These are the women who are singing their favorite tune (often loudly) on their way to work and sipping their coffee while looking out of the window and enjoying the rays of the sun or falling snowflakes. They are the ones who will take a moment to laugh with a colleague and say "thank you" to an overworked, often overlooked intern. Their days are softer and full of more joyful moments (and bodies contain less cortisol) as a result.
This post was originally published on Badass + Living, Brenda's online magazine for women who support and mentor other women.