The fitness world is alive with all it’s research and the resulting conversations and debates amongst the participants about health benefits, weight loss, and cutting-edge routines that promise Greek god-like results in a matter of weeks, etc. The list could go on and on, and these hot topics are important and each has it’s place for the right person or group. In the midst of all your fitness (and life!) ventures, big or small, one very important factor must be at the forefront – the happiness element.
Happiness means different things to different people, but all can agree on referring to happiness as a positive well-being for each person. Everyone should strive for optimal health and a better quality of life. Through better fitness and eating habits, healthier lives can lead to happier lives. For most this occurs, but for some, the happiness element is left out of the equation. Some of the aforementioned research shows increasing evidence to happiness being a guard against illness risk and an aid in longevity.
Happiness cannot be wished for, because it is never “found”. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, said this about happiness:
“There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way.”
Happiness must be at the forefront of all your decisions in order to bring you to where you will find your positive well-being and your better quality of life. It all begins with optimism. You stand a better chance of choosing optimism to reach happiness than trying to choose happiness. Some can choose to be happy, but it doesn’t work for all. When you choose to start a new fitness routine or weight-loss journey, you are looking into your future and the person you want to be at the end of that journey. Optimism for the future starts with a choice for optimism in the present. If you believe you can reach your fitness goals, you can attain them. You may not attain them all, because optimism in not a guarantee of positive results, but heading into any situation without it will yield negative results. Positive results will come from positive thinking.
Choosing optimism is the first step to happiness, and your happiness can be enhanced by adhering to a few simple strategies:
- Take care of your body. Eat healthy, exercise consistently and make time for meditation and reflection.
- Be steadfast toward your goals. Set long-term goals. Then set shorter, more attainable goals that will lead to accomplishing the long-term goals.
- Track your progress. Journal your accomplishments and celebrate your progress.
- Develop encouraging relationships. Life is all about relationships, so surround yourself with positive, motivated people.
- Count your blessings. Focus on all the great things in your life too often taken for granted.
- Avoid social comparison. Don’t think too much in the gym, and don’t compare yourself to others.
- Forgive others. Bitterness and resentment are the opposite of happiness.
- Do random acts of kindness. Help a stranger in the gym, and then help a stranger outside the gym.
- Make time for you. Use your gym time as “me time”.
- Live in the present. Optimism is promise for the future, but living and enjoying each day in the present is the only way to get to the future.
Exercising your happiness is not the only way to exercise. People have been working out without happiness for years, but adopting an optimistic, happy attitude will lead to a better fitness experience, a healthier lifestyle, and a happier state of mind.