How do I stay positive and happy? – It’s with certain habits and practices that I’ve developed. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to get done HALF of what I typically manage on a daily basis.
Let me share 8 of my personal anti-self-destruction strategies – things I do on a daily basis to ensure I’m happy, healthy, and productive.
I understand the temptation to cheat on healthy habits. Exercise, meditation, going to bed early, not watching TV late at night, and staying off my phone are all practices that require willpower.
I don’t [always] do them because they’re fun – I do them because I KNOW that I am happier, less stressed, and more fulfilled when I stick to them.
Sure, you can get away with it for a day or two. Maybe even a week. But eventually, not following those habits is going to catch up with you.
Earlier this week, I noticed I was losing focus. My cup of coffee wasn’t giving me the energy it usually does. I wasn’t feeling as fulfilled with my work. I felt like my immune system was fighting something.
So I took an inventory of what was currently going on, and I realized that I was avoiding many of the anti-self-destruction habits I’ve put in place for myself that keep me happy and functioning – the same ones I’m about to reveal to YOU.
These are the habits that, when not practiced for a day or two, don’t really have a noticeable impact, but when you start skipping them for more than a few days that the problems start to arise.
And this was exactly what was happening. I was getting lazy with those habits, and my willpower, focus, and energy were suffering as a result.
So here we go…
These are 8 of my daily anti-self-destruction strategies
1. Wake up, drink water, and get outside.
During this time I’ll go for a walk or do some yoga. I almost never bring my phone with me (unless I need to take a photo for social media or I’m expecting an important text/call), and this is time that I use to clear my head and get ready for the day.
2. Solitude – I am not an extrovert.
Being with people typically drains my energy. (Hence the allure of recording workouts and adding them to my website, instead of meeting with people in person.) I also tend to cranky if I don’t have time to myself. So I make sure I spend time by myself – for the sake of everybody. 🙂 Note: If I’m in a situation where it’s strange to leave inconspicuously and be by yourself, I’ll go for a walk, run an errand, or just say I need to go exercise. Nobody who knows me would question that last one.
3. Green smoothie, make breakfast, brew coffee.
I’m convinced that having a green smoothie is one of the best things you can do for your nutrition – not to mention your digestive system. Coffee is a must, or that caffeine-withdrawal headache kicks in. (I also just function way better with coffee, and it’s been proven to lengthen telomere lifespan, which is important for anti-aging.) During this time I focus completely on these tasks. I review what I need to do for the day, but at this point I still have not checked my phone or computer. I, myself, determine what needs to be done for the day – I don’t let my inbox dictate that.
4. Clearly-outlined activities & schedule for the day ahead
I do this typically the night before, and definitely before I start my day, I list priorities, activities, and calendar items on a notecard for the day ahead. In the bottom right corner I write my schedule. In the top left portion I write the date, the day of the week, and list 2-4 priority items. Below this, I’ll write additional tasks (if I end up completing my priority items). To the right of the notecard, I will write personal errands that need to be attended to (picking up dry cleaning, buying something from the store, etc).
Unless it’s an active recovery day or I’m feeling sick, I make sure to spend at least 30 minutes exercising, in some way challenging myself to the best I can at that moment. This isn’t always an intense workout; it’s what my body needs that day.
It might mean a little nap somewhere around 3-4 PM, or taking 30 minutes to read on the couch, but if I don’t spend 30 minutes detaching myself from my obligations, I’m unable to relax in the evening, and I become irritable.
I meditate 5-6 times per week. If I’m going to bed 30 minutes or later than my typical bed time (around 9:45 PM) or if I’ve had more than 1 drink, I won’t meditate. I also usually skip meditating on Friday or Saturday night. Right now I spend 12 minutes in meditation, and I plan on increasing that to 15 minutes shortly.
8. Work-Evening Buffers
I try not to work after 7PM. If I do, it negatively impacts my performance for the next day of work, and it also prevents me from getting a good night of sleep. This also means not checking my email, avoiding social media, and doing any sort of stressful task (booking a flight, shopping for something that is intricate or complicated, etc).
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These aren’t all of the things I do on a daily basis, but these are definitely the most important.
It might seem like these things take a lot of time, but I don’t even notice anymore.
These are truly habits for me – practices that I do [mostly] subconsciously. But I didn’t start doing all of these things at once. I built them over time, through trial and error, and experimentation.
If you’re looking to create your own set of healthy, anti-self-destructive habits, I don’t recommend trying to do them all at once. Slowly implement them one a time.
Figure out habits that work for you, because you are an individual, and what works for somebody else might not work the same for you.
Try out things that make you excited, make a concerted effort to stick with them for a month, and then reassess to figure out if the habit you’re experimenting with has made a noticeably positive impact on your life.
If you’re looking for more on this topic, I HIGHLY recommend Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Have a great weekend!
It’s a chance for you to see me putting into action the practices and habits that I’m asking you to do for yourself, to show you that what I’m talking about in my emails, blogs, and on social media is exactly the same stuff that I’m doing on a daily basis in my own life.
You might be interested in some tips on starting off your yoga practice, so read on! 3 blogs covering some basics.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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6 thoughts on “How Do I Stay Positive & Happy – A Guide”
Hi I would like to sign up for the office the mat emails. Thank you
Hey John, you can sign up for the Off The Mat emails at https://manflowyoga.com/off-the-mat/
there’s a link at the bottom of the blog post now =)
I’m not an extrovert either which is why doing yoga in my home and when I want to, is SO important. Quiet time recharges me, people drain me (probably because I love people and become very animated when I’m with them), so working out at home is extremely important for my health. Plus your yoga is efficient and targeted so I get a LOT of exercise in a short time frame.
All of your anti-self-destructive habits are right-on-the-mark for staying happy and healthy but for me, being in nature with my cup of coffee first thing in the morning is transcending.
Thank you Dean for sharing your SELF with us.
Thank you, Colleen!! Glad that these habits resonate with you. 🙂 Happy to share!!
Could I purchase your yoga sessions?
Of course, George! You can purchase my yoga sessions by joining the Members’ Area. This will get you access to all 320+ of my workouts. Link here: manflowyoga.com/join