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Life can be ironic. So many of us have more blessings than we can possibly count. We wake up every morning with our five senses intact. We have good jobs and good education. We live surrounded by friends and family who love and support us. Yet somehow, getting out of bed to take on the day happens to be a struggle. Simply because thoughts of anxiety suffocate what little optimism we can muster. If you are reading this and it’s difficult for you to find your smile – take hope. Because in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct.”

It’s your Choice

Happiness is a byproduct of self-determination. It’s a byproduct of a conscious decision to live in your own truth and be at peace with who you are. Regardless of what you may be going through, do not let your mind become consumed by negative thoughts. Choose instead to take responsibility for your own life, and your own attitude. Choose to be hopeful in the face of despair. Choose to be composed in the face of threat. Choose to have the courage to lift your head high, and make it known that your problems do not own, or define who you are. Even if choosing to be optimistic at this moment seems impossible, fighting against your sadness is worth it for the sake of your health, and peace of mind. Be deliberate about pressing through your struggles and you will eventually weather the storms of life. It may be hard, but rising above adversity is not impossible.  Here are four small things you can do to find your way back to the joyful person you are meant to be:

1.- Get Active:

Exercise does more than condition the human body. Physical activity specifically releases endorphins that improve mood and boost energy. Not only does exercise improve the way you feel in the moment, it also helps eliminate the restlessness of insomnia by inducing fatigue which compels the body to sleep soundly. Both physically, and mentally, exercise can provide activity that significantly distracts from the issues which bring about stress and sadness. If you’d like to learn more about how to maintain a fitness routine, check out the RISE Fitness posts on our YouTube channel.

2 .- Lighten the Load:

One of the biggest reasons why people wrestle with depression today is overexertion. This might sound like a problem that’s mostly professional in nature, however overexertion can happen because of multiple reasons beyond work. On top of the demands that come with having a job, we all have to make time for family and friends; do chores and errands; keep up with current events; exercise to stay fit; satisfy religious responsibilities; attend school; practice hobbies… and the list goes on. If you find yourself gasping for air at the end of the day, try to reduce or eliminate activities in your life that aren’t essential. If everything you do is essential, try breaking down your schedule into small tasks and making sure to take intermittent breaks. Pushing yourself too much will only cause frustration and feed stress.

3.- Get in Touch:

Human beings are social creatures by nature. We instinctively experience the most fulfillment in life when immersed in strong communal environments. If there is someone you can talk to about difficulties you’re experiencing, even if it’s purely to vent, take the opportunity to converse with them and express your feelings. In fact the deeper your sadness, the more important it is for you to be able to reach out to someone and have a therapeutic talk. Experiencing prolonged sadness that lasts for weeks is a symptom of clinical depression which can even require medical diagnosis in order to alleviate. Don’t bottle in your feelings until they boil over into destructive habits.

4.- Get Away:

If it’s been a long time since you took a vacation, stop putting it off and set some time aside to get away. Breaking monotony is always an invigorating experience. In the same way that our bodies need time to shut down during sleep, our psyches need time to dissociate from predictable routines that can end up dulling our passion. It doesn’t even have to be some elaborate trip overseas. A vacation as simple as a road trip on the weekend can end up resetting your perspective and refreshing your enthusiasm for life. Don’t wait, don’t think, just let loose and go for it.

Life is always going to be unpredictable and demanding. This is exactly why tethering your happiness to a specific goal or set of circumstances is a mistake. Stop expecting other people, and other things, to provide you with contentment that can only come from loving yourself and appreciating the little things. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.

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