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5 Ways to Boost your Productivity

By: Centerstone

It is next to impossible for anyone to be 100% productive or motivated at all times. Most people need to find ways to prioritize their daily tasks. Though productivity looks different for every person, it is important to learn ways to adapt to your work style that influences your motivation. One useful tool to help yourself might be to ask yourself questions like, What motivates me? When am I excited to work on something? Self-reflection and self-awareness are key components of creating a productive work environment for yourself, but you can also try these five ways to boost your productivity and help you stay motivated:

  • Make checklists. Organizing your work into lists is a great way to start managing your time and goals. “Checklists are extremely helpful, and you start to feel good about completing a task and marking it out,” says Julie Bailey, Clinical Manager for Centerstone. Try avoiding overwhelming yourself by being too organized or by being too rigid with your lists.
  • Balance responsibilities. Managing time is already challenging enough, so you should also try to manage your tasks by prioritizing urgent items versus optional items. “Always remember to be kind to yourself, not completing the checklists the way that you anticipate can short-circuit your motivation. Even if a task wasn’t on your checklist, add it to the list of things you DID get done and check them off!” says Jenna Farmer-Brackett, Clinical Manager for Centerstone. To avoid losing stamina, schedule yourself breaks throughout the day.
  • Do challenging work first. People tend to procrastinate when there is more challenging work to complete. Do the challenging or even less exciting items first to get them done. Learn tools of self-discipline to get tasks done without avoiding them.
  • Limit yourself. There is not enough time in a day to complete all of the tasks you might anticipate getting done, and it is important to separate the workload. “Try completing the task, delegating the task, scheduling it, or even deleting it to avoid overworking yourself,” says Bailey.
  • Try new things. “Think outside the box and try to find ways to help you get through lower productivity time,” says Farmer-Brackett. Try to pay attention to the times of day that you feel the most engaged, and plan around your most active brain time. Use different methods like music, streaming a podcast, or opening a window to change up the routine and recharge your brain!

Finding the time and tools to create an environment that is specifically suited for you is the first step to boosting your motivation. Try to use your list when you can to make sure you are on task at the right times, and remember to give your brain a rest every once in a while.


By: Centerstone

Child and adolescent years are filled with significant changes that can often impact one’s mental and physical health. Young people experience new feelings they may not know how to process, which could result in behavioral, emotional, or social problems if left unaddressed. An increasingly common service to address these issues is school-based therapy.

School-based therapists work within elementary, middle, and high school facilities to help students overcome matters that interfere with success at school and at home. They can offer individual and family counseling, risk assessments, specialized training for teachers and parents, collaboration with other community providers, and more.

“Our job is to provide extra care and support to students on-site at school,” says Karen Hasselman, a school-based therapist with Centerstone. “This approach removes scheduling difficulties for parents and results in less learning time lost for students,”

When there are needs that exceed what a guidance counselor is there to provide, a school-based therapist can further help with advocating for a child’s needs and communicating with the family or guardian. Common issues they address include aggression, anxiety, depression, and trauma.

“School-based therapists work very closely with students and their families. We provide students with individual therapy and family therapy with and without the client. If a family member needs individual therapy for themselves we can refer them to services and we offer support and education to the families and students we serve,” says Hasselman, “We provide full comprehensive mental health services to students who might need extra help with various issues, for example, new adjustments, isolation or issues with substance use.”

The benefits of students receiving therapy at school often include improved self-esteem, access to care, less interruption in learning, increased quality of everyday life and relationships, strengthening the use of their emotions, and increased self-awareness.

Here are several positive ways to spread the word about school-based therapy:

  • Share experiences. “Be honest about your experiences with therapy. It’s okay to say that you or your child have received therapy and to share your positive outcomes,” says Hasselman. Encourage people in need to try a few sessions and see how it works for them.
  • Ask for help. There are plenty of life-changing moments that can happen to families, and it can be hard to help yourself or your children. Reach out if you or your child need extra support.
  • Express concerns. If you feel like a student or someone might need some more one-on-one support, let them know that this might be beneficial to them. Parents and students should also share their concerns as well by asking questions and learning about the process.

School-based therapy is available to improve skills and offer extra support to families and students who are in need.


What is Gaslighting?

By: Centerstone

Approximately three in four adults have no idea what gaslighting is and likely do not know the signs. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse intended to skew someone’s perception of reality in order to control them. It typically happens between romantic partners, friends, or parents and children.

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that can present in many forms and may differ in each relationship dynamic. “There are times when someone may not know that they are gaslighting you, and there are times when it is done intentionally,” says Deirdre Guilloton, Licensed Marital and Family Therapist at Centerstone. The person who might be gaslighting you (intentionally or unintentionally) is doing it with the intent to control you.

Someone who is being gaslit may pull away from their natural support system or friends and family, no longer engage in hobbies or joyful activities, ask permission to do things, or apologize more frequently. Being gaslit by someone you love and trust may alter your perception drastically. People who experience gaslighting often think that something is wrong with them. They may say they “feel crazy” or that things don’t make sense. Ultimately it hinders their ability to trust in themselves. They experience increased low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

Common phrases used to gaslight someone might be: You’re so dramatic, You’re imagining things, You’re not thinking clearly, You made me do that, You’re upset over nothing, You’re being paranoid, That never happened, I was joking—you take everything personally, You’re crazy, You know I never said that. While some of these might not always be used intentionally to gaslight you, they may still impact your mental and emotional health.

Here are some practices to help you or your loved ones prevent gaslighting:

  • Keep a journal. Try to record your interactions with the person if it is safe to do so. This can be effective when the gaslighter tries to convince you that something different happened. Journaling is not only helpful in preventing gaslighting, but it will also increase your self-worth and reinforce your experience.
  • Positive affirmations. “According to the theory by John Gottman, it takes five positive feelings or interactions to make up for one negative feeling or interaction, and in relationships, the ratio increases to twenty positive things per one negative thing,” says Guilloton. If you have low self-esteem due to being gaslit, try to write positive affirmations or record yourself saying nice things to boost your self-esteem.
  • Use “I” statements. “Practice saying phrases such as, ‘I had a different experience than you,’ or, ‘I remember this differently,’” says Guilloton. If it’s safe, compare experiences with the person who might be gaslighting you, and use “I” statements as a way to identify what you remember.
  • Find a support system. Seek support from a safe person, whether it is your therapist, church member, family member, or friend. Remember that not everyone is able to remove themselves from the person who is gaslighting them. Finding a perspective outside the relationship can help you better understand your experience.

Gaslighting and psychological abuse are difficult, but caring professionals are willing to listen and support you.


By: Centerstone

For many people, there is not enough time to devote to everything they want to accomplish in a given day. Because of this, it is easy to overcommit and invest a lot of our energy into attempting to get as much done as we possibly can. As a result, it’s easy to experience a buildup of stress that may lead to burnout.

Burnout is an accumulation of unaddressed emotions and a symptom of extreme stress, which is the body’s response to expected or unexpected loss or change. The most significant difference between stress and burnout is that there is an end date with stress if it is managed, but you cannot experience burnout without stress. Symptoms of burnout can vary but it is typically a more emotional reaction. Some symptoms include feeling stuck, overwhelmed, unmotivated, disengaged, detached, disconnected, or a depressive sign of feeling hopeless.

Suppose burnout and stress begin impacting your daily life function. In that case, it poses risks of both mental health and physical health issues such as generalized anxiety disorder, depression, chronic fatigue, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and more. It is important to notice how you feel and know the signs of stress and burnout to help you better manage it in the future.

  • Time management. As devoted students, employees, friends, or family members, we tend to overcommit and invest a lot of our time to make everything perfect. Consider your time, see where you might be overdoing it and make some adjustments. Set boundaries and learn to value your time to be with yourself.
  • Reflective journaling. Use this tool to identify and recognize your stress and notice the areas in your life that might need a change. You might see places that need more attention, like your sleep schedule or other obligations.
  • Mindfulness. Practice relaxation and deep breathing techniques to help you maintain peace. Mindfulness is not limited to meditation, and it can be a healing time for your mental health. Utilize mindfulness to focus your energy on the present. When stressed, we tend to focus on the past and future more than we do on the present.
  • Seeking support. Find a support system through friends or family to help maintain your awareness. Ask for help in the areas where you might be experiencing burnout, such as asking your supervisor for help at work or setting boundaries with family members. Talk with a therapist to help you manage your feelings and strengthen your skills.

Once you identify your stressors and where your burnout is coming from, you can learn to set boundaries and make yourself a priority. Setting aside time for yourself is necessary to be healthy and do well in other areas of your life. If you have tried to minimize your stress or motivate yourself but are still struggling, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional. They can provide more tools to manage your time, cope with your feelings and empower you to set boundaries.


Mental Health Tips for Single Parents

By: Cornerstone

Families come in all shapes and sizes, including single-parent households headed by a widowed, divorced, or separated parent with children under 18. According to the U.S. Census, about three in ten families with children are headed by single parents. Some of the challenges that may come with single parenting are financial struggles, time management, and finding quality time for yourself or with other people.

“When you are a single parent, there can be a shortage in emotional and financial resources because you don’t have that second support person there to help, and that can take a toll on mental health,” says Sally Mondino, Early Head Start Manager at Centerstone.

Here are several ways for single parents to be mindful of their mental health:

  • Include the kids. Children of single-parent households can learn and develop many great characteristics such as responsibility, independence, and compassion. Including children in your routine may help distribute the household responsibilities and can be another great way to spend quality time together.
  • Schedule time for you. “Occasionally you can set aside time for self-care like reading a book or taking a relaxing bath after the children have gone to sleep,” says Mondino. “It’s also possible to incorporate self-care by letting your kids tag along with you for walks outside, cooking, and meal prepping.”
  • Avoid comparing. “Try to avoid the tendency to compare yourself or your family with others,” says Mondino, “The key is to remind yourself that there are all kinds of families and every family can be different.” Social media may be misleading, and it is oftentimes a curated moment—try to avoid comparing those situations because people don’t tend to post the challenging moments in their life.
  • Ask for help. Everyone needs help at some point or another. Research local resources that will benefit you and your family. Find financial assistance programs, family services, and hobbies, afterschool care programs, and others to help you along the way. Reach out to any family and friends that you are comfortable with asking for help.

At times, being a single parent may feel overwhelming and taxing to one’s mental health, but there are habits and resources to help manage along the way.


Mental Health Tips for Step-Parents

By: Cornerstone

“Family” can hold a variety of meanings, roles, and relationships for everyone. One dynamic often overlooked is being a step-parent. Step-parents (or bonus-parents) are parental figures that are not biologically related to a child but linked through a relationship or marriage with a biological parent.

Movies, television, and society show a lot of different pictures of a step-parent that can be unpleasant. It can be a challenging new role to take on! “Step-parenting is met with many new obstacles, and there isn’t a lot of guidance available,” says Casey Stover, Family Life Educator, and Family Support Specialist at Centerstone. Some of the most common struggles step-parents often face include navigating each new relationship, adapting to their new roles, building a cohesive family structure, and maintaining patience and understanding through all of the transitions.

When faced with change, it is not uncommon to meet resistance and discomfort. Step-parents may often feel lost or struggle to figure out how to approach their new role; however, growing with each relationship can be rewarding and even bring healing. Benefits of being a step-parent may include bonding with a child or children that are not biologically your own, growing as a person while navigating various transitions, and ultimately becoming a family.

Here are some tips to help you in your journey in step-parenting:

  • Patience is key. Consider that relationships with the child or children may not happen overnight; it will take time and work to build trust and establish boundaries early on. Children often have a lot of hesitations and may act out as they are adjusting to the transition—this doesn’t have to be something you take personally. It is important to try and give yourself as much patience and compassion as you would provide the children and your partner.
  • Maintain self-care. Check in on yourself and how you are feeling. Try to do the things you love and maintain the aspects of your life before becoming a step-parent that brought you the most joy. Allowing yourself the space to have hobbies or take care of yourself will create more balance.
  • Find support. Try to research what works well in other families, join virtual or in-person support groups, or talk to trusted friends or family members who might understand what you’re going through. If it becomes too overwhelming, try to seek help from a mental health professional or try out family counseling.
  • Establish roles.  It is essential to set expectations for each other. “One of the most crucial keys for success is to take time with the biological parent to figure out your role(s) at the beginning, and how you will navigate that as a team,” says Stover. Every person will struggle at some point, so be mindful and listen when someone communicates their needs.

Remember that being a step-parent is a big transition and will not always be easy. Support and many resources are available to you and your family as you try to navigate this change.


What is Trauma?

By: Cornerstone

Have you ever experienced an event that changed your life, and it still affects your well-being or day-to-day activities? It is likely that you might have experienced trauma. Trauma is an emotional response to the exposure of actual or perceived death, serious injury or sexual violence. Examples of traumatic events might include car accidents, accidental deaths, school shootings, physical or sexual assaults, natural disasters, life-threatening fires, kidnappings or exposure to war and combat.

Traumatic events may cause extreme levels of stress to an individual, and over time it has the ability to affect the way that someone might function or begin to cope with stressful situations. The important thing to remember is that no one is alone in their trauma, in fact, about six out of ten men and five out of ten women experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.

Individuals who experience trauma might exhibit various symptoms while for others it might be more challenging to identify. “Some people might not realize that they have experienced trauma at all, so one of the ways to identify your trauma is by addressing the event and how it has impacted you,” says Venee Hummel, Assistant Director of Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone. “These events might be something that directly happens to a person, something that is witnessed, something that is learned about that impacted loved ones or by experiencing repeated exposure to traumatic events due to occupation.”

Some of the symptoms that traumatic experiences might cause are recurring memories or nightmares, emotional or physical reactions, avoidance, lack of interest in hobbies or social interaction, mood swings, risky behaviors, trouble sleeping, or difficulty concentrating. If these symptoms persist for more than one month, this may be indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) present, which may impact an individual’s ability to perform daily functions.

Here are some tips to consider when helping yourself or your loved ones cope with trauma:

  • Offer support. Whether an individual or a loved one experienced the trauma, it is best to determine what kind of support would best suit them. Communicate what and how the needs might be met. Sometimes that might look like giving the individual space or offering a safe space to listen.
  • Share education. Symptoms of trauma might look different for each individual. Try to learn the symptoms and triggers that go alongside trauma and PTSD. Share your knowledge with loved ones and community members. Sharing educational insight and pulling from experiences may encourage others to be more open about their own traumatic experiences. Learn to address stigmas with others that aren’t productive to conversations surrounding trauma.
  • Seek treatment. “Sometimes it takes a while for self-awareness to catch up to us; it is not uncommon to be unaware of how trauma has started to shape our day-to-day functioning. Even if months or years have passed since the trauma(s), reach out,” says Hummel. Various methods of treatment that are commonly used for trauma or PTSD symptoms include specialized forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Traumatic experiences are life-altering, but there are resources available to help. Remember, you are worth it.


How to Get Your Life Back Into Balance

By: Centerstone

Do you ever find yourself feeling exhausted or overwhelmed? Most people are busy with family, work, hobbies, or community responsibilities. Sometimes people allow their schedules to take control of their lives, and priorities might get disorganized. As a result, people may feel stressed, frustrated, and tired.

When your life is feeling a little imbalanced, it may feel as though you have neglected your needs, values, or priorities. Although it may be easy to feel regretful and burned out at that moment, you can still work toward achieving a sense of equilibrium.

The following practices will help bring balance back into your life:

  • Be reasonable. People have a limit on resources like time, money, and energy. It is completely understandable to want to accomplish so many things; however, it is important to consider how much time is in a day. Know that you are one Erase the idea of perfection and problem-solving for others—it’s okay to not get everything done. You are doing your best.
  • Find a support system. Find the people in your life who build you up and support you, who add value to your life and inspire you to be a better version of yourself. Try to avoid people who add or create more stress for you. Remember that stress will affect you physically, so, within reason, consider phasing out those who might be causing your stress or imbalance.
  • Take control and say no. Often people say yes to others because there might be an unreasonable pressure to immediately please people. It is essential to consider your current list of responsibilities. Take time to think about what you can complete. Try to alleviate adding extra stress by learning how to say no.
  • Make a schedule for rest. Resting doesn’t always have to equate to sleeping, but scheduling time to relax can be beneficial to your health. Intentionally do things that give you comfort, peace, health, and happiness. Make a deliberate effort to prioritize your needs.
  • Focus on today. There will always be something that we will need to do, haven’t gotten to, or something we have always wanted to do. Try to avoid obsessing about the future, and focus on what is happening today. Creating a healthy, balanced life requires you to be present in your family, friends, hobbies, and work.

Remember there is more to life than the daily stressors that create imbalance and unhappiness. Start taking steps toward a more balanced life by learning how to take control, set boundaries, and focus on today.


Why Eating Healthy Matters!

By: Michelle Kirby

You know that healthy habits, such as eating well, exercising, and avoiding harmful substances, make sense, but did you ever stop to think about why you practice them? A healthy habit is any behavior that benefits your physical, mental, and emotional health. These habits improve your overall well-being and make you feel good.  Healthy habits are hard to develop and often require changing your mindset. But if you’re willing to make sacrifices to better your health, the impact can be far-reaching, regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability.

Here are five benefits of a healthy lifestyle:

1. Controls weight

Eating right and exercising regularly can help you avoid excess weight gain and maintain a healthy weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, being physically active is essential to reaching your weight-loss goals. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health, boost your immune system, and increase your energy level.  Plan for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. If you can’t devote this amount of time to exercise, look for simple ways to increase activity throughout the day. For example, try walking instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or pace while you’re talking on the phone.  Eating a balanced, calorie-managed diet can also help control weight. When you start the day with a healthy breakfast, you avoid becoming overly hungry later, which could send you running to get fast food before lunch.  Additionally, skipping breakfast can raise your blood sugar, which increases fat storage. Incorporate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet per day. These foods, which are low in calories and high in nutrients, help with weight control. Limit consumption of sugary beverages, such as sodas and fruit juices, and choose lean meats like fish and turkey.

2. Improves mood
Doing right by your body pays off for your mind as well. The Mayo Clinic again notes that physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Eating a healthy diet as well as exercising can lead to a better physique. You’ll feel better about your appearance, which can boost your confidence and self-esteem. Short-term benefits of exercise include decreased stress and improved cognitive function.  It’s not just diet and exercise that lead to improved mood. Another healthy habit that leads to better mental health is making social connections. Whether it’s volunteering, joining a club, or attending a movie, communal activities help improve mood and mental functioning by keeping the mind active and serotonin levels balanced. Don’t isolate yourself. Spend time with family or friends on a regular basis, if not every day. If there’s physical distance between you and loved ones, use technology to stay connected. Pick up the phone or start a video chat.

3. Combats diseases
Healthy habits help prevent certain health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. If you take care of yourself, you can keep your cholesterol and blood pressure within a safe range. This keeps your blood flowing smoothly, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases.  Regular physical activity and proper diet can also prevent or help you manage a wide range of health problems, including:

  • metabolic syndrome
  • diabetes
  • depression
  • certain types of cancer
  • arthritis

Make sure you schedule a physical exam every year. Your doctor will check your weight, heartbeat, and blood pressure, as well as take a urine and blood sample. This appointment can reveal a lot about your health. It’s important to follow up with your doctor and listen to any recommendations to improve your health.

4. Boosts energy
We’ve all experienced a lethargic feeling after eating too much unhealthy food. When you eat a balanced diet your body receives the fuel it needs to manage your energy level. A healthy diet includes:

  • whole grains
  • lean meats
  • low-fat dairy products
  • fruit
  • vegetables

Regular physical exercise also improves muscle strength and boosts endurance, giving you more energy, says the Mayo Clinic. Exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and gets your cardiovascular system working more efficiently so that you have more energy to go about your daily activities. It also helps boost energy by promoting better sleep. This helps you fall asleep faster and get deeper sleep.  Insufficient sleep can trigger a variety of problems. Aside from feeling tired and sluggish, you may also feel irritable and moody if you don’t get enough sleep. What’s more, poor sleep quality may be responsible for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, and it can also lower your life expectancy. To improve sleep quality, stick to a schedule where you wake up and go to bed at the same time every night. Reduce your caffeine intake, limit napping, and create a comfortable sleep environment. Turn off lights and the television, and maintain a cool room temperature.

5. Improves longevity

When you practice healthy habits, you boost your chances of a longer life. The American Council on Exercise reported on an eight-year study of 13,000 people. The study showed that those who walked just 30 minutes each day significantly reduced their chances of dying prematurely, compared with those who exercised infrequently. Looking forward to more time with loved ones is reason enough to keep walking. Start with short five-minute walks and gradually increase the time until you’re up to 30 minutes.

The takeaway

Bad habits are hard to break, but once you adopt a healthier lifestyle, you won’t regret this decision. Healthy habits reduce the risk of certain diseases, improve your physical appearance and mental health, and give your energy level a much needed boost. You won’t change your mindset and behavior overnight, so be patient and take it one day at a time. And remember eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, get an accountability partner and share dishes. Some fitness clubs already have healthy pre-made meals. The decision starts in YOUR MIND!

Click link for 100 calorie snack ideas:


By Joshua Becker

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln

Happy people realize happiness is a choice. They are not held hostage by their circumstances and they do not seek happiness in people or possessions. They understand that when we stop chasing the world’s definition of happiness, we begin to see the decision to experience happiness has been right in front of us all along. Research in the field of positive psychology continues to reinforce this understanding.

But simply knowing that happiness is a choice is not enough. Fully experiencing it still requires a conscience decision to do so each day. How then might each of us begin to experience this joy?

Consider this list of 12 Intentional Actions to Choose Happiness Today. Embrace one new action item… practice all of them… or simply use them as inspiration to discover your own.

1. Count your blessings. Happy people choose to focus on the positive aspects of life rather than the negative. They set their minds on specific reasons to be grateful. They express it when possible and they quickly discover there is always, always, something to be grateful for.

2. Carry a smile. A smile is a wonderful beautifier. But more than that, studies indicate that making an emotion-filled face carries influence over the feelings processed by the brain. Our facial expression can influence our brain in just the same way our brains influence our face. In other words, you can actually program yourself to experience happiness by choosing to smile. Not to mention, all the pretty smiles you’ll receive in return for flashing yours is also guaranteed to increase your happiness level.

3. Speak daily affirmations into your life. Affirmations are positive thoughts accompanied with affirmative beliefs and personal statements of truth. They are recited in the first person, present tense (“I am…”). Affirmations used daily can release stress, build confidence, and improve outlook. For maximum effectiveness, affirmations should be chosen carefully, be based in truth, and address current needs.

4. Wake up on your terms. Most of us have alarm clocks programmed because of the expectations of others: a workplace, a school, or a waking child. That’s probably not going to change. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose control over our mornings in the process. Wake up just a little bit early and establish an empowering, meaningful, morning routine. Start each day on your terms. The next 23 hours will thank you for it.

5. Hold back a complaint. The next time you want to lash out in verbal complaint towards a person, a situation, or yourself, don’t. Instead, humbly keep it to yourself. You’ll likely diffuse an unhealthy, unhappy environment. But more than that, you’ll experience joy by choosing peace in a difficult situation.

6. Practice one life-improving discipline. There is happiness and fulfillment to be found in personal growth. To know that you have intentionally devoted time and energy to personal improvement is one of the most satisfying feelings you’ll ever experience. Embrace and practice at least one act of self-discipline each day. This could be exercise, budgeting, or guided-learning, Whatever your life needs today to continue growing. Find it. Practice it. Celebrate it.

7. Use your strengths. Each of us have natural talents, strengths, and abilities. And when we use them effectively, we feel alive and comfortable in our skin. They help us find joy in our being and happiness in our design. So embrace your strengths and choose to operate within your giftedness each day. If you need to find this outlet outside your employment, by all means, find this outlet.

8. Accomplish one important task. Because happy people choose happiness, they take control over their lives. They don’t make decisions based on a need to pursue joy. Instead, they operate out of the satisfaction they have already chosen. They realize there are demands on their time, helpful pursuits to accomplish, and important contributions to make to the world around them. Choose one important task that you can accomplish each day and find joy in your contribution.

9. Eat a healthy meal/snack. We are spiritual, emotional, and mental beings. We are also physical bodies. Our lives cannot be wholly separated into its parts. As a result, one aspect always influences the others. For example, our physical bodies will always have impact over our spiritual and emotional well-being. Therefore, caring for our physical well-being can have significant benefit for our emotional standing. One simple action to choose happiness today is to eat healthy foods. Your physical body will thank you… and so will your emotional well-being.

10. Treat others well. Everyone wants to be treated kindly. But more than that, deep down, we also want to treat others with the same respect that we would like given to us. Treat everyone you meet with kindness, patience, and grace. The Golden Rule is a powerful standard. It benefits the receiver. But also brings growing satisfaction in yourself as you seek to treat others as you would like to be treated.

11. Meditate. Find time alone in solitude. As our world increases in speed and noise, the ability to withdraw becomes even more essential. Studies confirm the importance and life-giving benefits of meditation. So take time to make time. And use meditation to search inward, connect spiritually, and improve your happiness today.

12. Search for benefit in your pain.
This life can be difficult. Nobody escapes without pain. At some point—in some way—we all encounter it. When you do, remind yourself again that the trials may be difficult, but they will pass. And search deep to find meaning in the pain. Choose to look for the benefits that can be found in your trial. At the very least, perseverance is being built. And most likely, an ability to comfort others in their pain is also being developed.

Go today. Choose joy and be happy. That will make two of us.


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