How I Became Happier In Just a Week

Happy

Those of you following along with my blog will be happy to hear that I actually passed my nursing examination (no that’s not why I became happier within a week)! The amount of studying I put into the exam ended up being overkill, but I’d always rather be over-prepared than under-prepared.

The most excited part of passing the exam was that I was able to start reading a new book which I’ve been meaning to read for a while now, “Authentic Happiness,” written by Martin E.P. Seligman. Now I actually have a huge lists of books that I want to read saved on my GoodReads account, but this one was actually referred to me by one of my college professors  about a year ago and I loved the concept of it. 

It’s just one of those things that I never got around to doing. The premise of the book is that for so long the field of psychology has been “disease-based.” People only care about mental health when there is a problem like depression, anxiety, or worse. Were interested in treating mental sickness, but never actually promoting mental health when no such problem exists. The books talks about the politics that led to the current outlook on mental health, and then presents studies that show what can lead to improved mental health regardless of whether any mental ailments exists.

Some chapters contain worksheets for you to fill out and measure your current happiness levels and point out ways that you can become happier. I found it amazing how closely happiness correlated things like health, grades, salary, etc. I consider myself to generally be a pretty happy person. I tend to have an optimistic view point on the events that define my life, and that’s without trying. After reading this book I wondered how much more enjoyable my life would be if I made an intentional effort to do the things that would improve my mental health.

I picked two areas that I wanted to improve on:

#1. Gratitude: Which was already on my mind since reading Robinson Crusoe. Studies have shown that increasing gratitude leads to an increase in happiness.

#2. Exercise: When the body is healthy, the mind healthy, and that means that the mind is happier. After all I’m a certified nurse now, so I need to be practicing what I’ll be recommending to others which is regular exercise.

Gratitude is something that I practice daily. Every night before going to bed I make a mental list of the things that I am grateful for that day. Remembering is the hardest part of this practice, and since I have an alarm on my phone set I haven’t had any problem improving my gratitude.

Exercise is something that I haven’t always been the best with. I have a hard time taking the initiative. Since most exercises I’ve done in the past have not been “fun,” I just don’t have a natural inclination to want to exercise. So to improve this I decided to purchase the P90X program and equipment as I’ve heard nothing but good things about the system.  After being on it for a while now  I won’t lie, the workouts kick my butt. But I am also amazed at the results I’ve seen both in my physical appearance and in my energy levels in just a short amount of time. I feel like this is the first exercise program that I’ll actually be able to stick with.

Now there are a bunch of other ideas in this book that can be applied to help you improve your level of satisfaction with your life, but just by working on those two areas of my life I can attest to the fact that just because you aren’t ill doesn’t mean that you can’t feel better. I would recommend this book to everyone regardless of how good or bad things are going in life. It is a very interesting book, it’s a simple read, and like all great books you can easily apply it to your life.