Create Your Own Life Philosophy and Live it

Maybe you’ve been living the American dream. You have an attractive spouse, a nice house and car, two kids, and a membership at the country club, yet you’re strangely dissatisfied.

Maybe the American dream isn’t your dream. How can one version of how to live life appeal to everyone? You’re an individual, right?

It’s likely that you’ve never given the idea of a life philosophy much thought. It doesn’t get mentioned in school. Your parents probably never broached the subject.

It’s a personal decision. If you don’t decide for yourself, you’re stuck with the default version that everyone else is chasing. Rather than chasing after the standard version of success, it might be time to create your own.

At the very least, you’ll be more excited when you get out of bed each morning.

Create a life philosophy that makes happiness and fulfillment a possibility:

1. Educate yourself. Rather than starting completely from scratch, take a look at some of the more popular philosophies from the past to the present. You might find something that resonates with you. Feel free to tweak and experiment with what you find.

* The internet and local library are both good resources. There are people that spend their entire lives on this very topic. Learn from them.

2. Ask yourself how you got to this point. You already have a set of beliefs regarding what is valuable in life. How did you reach that point? Who taught those beliefs to you? Did you pick them up from your friends? Movies? Teachers? Books? How was your current philosophy constructed?

3. Determine what you want your life to be about. Will your life be about money and success? Altruism? Adventure? Family? Personal development? Will it be based on a religion? What matters to you?

* What do you think is most important? Can you be happy with that decision? For example, you might believe that family should be the most important thing, but what if you don’t have a family? Or maybe you don’t even want a family to begin with.

* Many philosophers argue that there is no inherent meaning to life, which is just a fancy way of saying that you can choose the meaning of life for yourself and be just as correct as anyone else.

4. Start at the end. Imagine that you’ve lived a long life and you’re reaching the end. What kind of life do you want to look back on? What sorts of things do you want to have learned, achieved, and experienced? How do you want to be remembered? With the end in mind, how do you need to live today to reach that ideal ending?

5. Give it a try. Once you’ve found a way of looking at the world that appeals to you, take it for a test-ride. See if it suits you. Have patience while you’re on this journey. It may take time to become completely satisfied with new viewpoint.

6. Find like-minded people and discuss. While this is a personal journey, that doesn’t mean it has to be solitary. Bounce ideas off of others. You might gain an insight that makes all the difference. Be open and share your ideas.

Be playful with the process of developing a new way of approaching life. The best philosophy will bring you a sense of peace and purpose. If you’re feeling a bit disenchanted with life, change your perspective. You can choose for yourself what is most important in life. Create a game that you can win and enjoy along the way.

15 Ways to Stay Grounded

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed as you’re juggling multiple responsibilities and trying to keep up with constant change? Maybe you feel like you’re bombarded by news and information, and being pulled in many directions.

It can be hard to stay grounded unless you train your body and mind to stay calm under pressure.

Try these daily habits that will keep you centered and peaceful.

Habits to Keep Your Mind and Spirit Grounded:

1. Slow down. Make a conscious decision to stop rushing around. Do less and accomplish more by clarifying your priorities. Focus on one activity at a time, and pause in between tasks.

2. Breathe deep. Lower your stress levels with simple breathing exercises. Work at breathing from your abdomen instead of your chest, and lengthening your exhalations. Try alternate nostril breathing to activate both sides of your brain by using your thumb to close off one side of your nose at a time.

3. Practice mindfulness. Daily meditation will help you to live in the present moment. Find a quiet place where you can sit down and let go of distracting thoughts.

4. Monitor your self talk. Replace doubts and limiting beliefs with more encouraging messages. Remember your past victories and cheer yourself on.

5. Soothe yourself. Be gentle with yourself when you’re having a tough day. Listen to soft music or take a warm bath.

6. Engage in meaningful activities. Understand your strengths and spend time doing things that create a sense of flow. You may find fulfillment in your job or hobbies.

7. Connect with others. Surround yourself with loving and supportive family members and friends. Create opportunities to share laughter and deep conversation.

8. Express gratitude. Count your blessings. Let others know how much they mean to you and look for ways to make them smile.

9. Strengthen your faith. Contemplate your purpose and beliefs. Find a community where you feel accepted and inspired, whether it’s your church or a secular discussion group.

10. Think positive. Look on the bright side. An upbeat attitude will increase your resilience.

Habits to Keep Your Body Grounded:

1. Adjust your posture. The way you hold your body can help you feel balanced and give you more strength and energy. Stand up straight and tall with your shoulders held back and your stomach tucked in. Check that your head is level, and your knees are slightly bent.

2. Exercise daily. Working out keeps your body and mind in top condition. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least 3 days a week. You might want to buy a gym membership or go for a run in the park before work.

3. Eat a balanced diet. Make natural whole foods the mainstay of your diet, including at least 5 servings of vegetable and fruits each day. Choose lean proteins and healthy fats. Cut back on excess sugar and salt.

4. Rest and sleep. Give your body time to heal and restore. While individual sleep requirements vary, 7 to 8 hours is sufficient for most adults. Pay attention to the quality of your sleep too. Darken your bedroom and block out background noise.

5. Limit irritants. Ironically, some of the things we do to manage stress can actually backfire. Consume caffeine and alcohol in moderation. If you’re trying to quit smoking, talk with your doctor about methods like nicotine replacement.

Your daily choices can help to introduce more peace and harmony into your life as you navigate minor and major challenges. Staying grounded will make you happier and more productive.

Transform your Life by Giving More Time to Others

If you’re feeling pressed for time, give more of it away. Studies show that helping others makes us feel like we have more time for ourselves.

In research done at The Wharton School, participants were divided into 2 groups. One group did tasks like writing to a sick child or tutoring at-risk students while the others were given busy work or told they could go home early.

Those who completed the prosocial activities perceived their time as being more abundant and spent longer working on additional tasks.

After a draining day at work, you may feel like crashing in front of the TV or focusing on your own to do list, but doing things for others will make you happier and more productive.

Use these ideas to get started:

How to Give More Time to Others

1. Call your parents. If you live too far apart to visit often, you can still phone your parents regularly. How about making it a video call so they can see you?

2. Volunteer in your community. Find a worthy cause that you want to support. You could sort cans at a food bank or deliver meals to senior citizens. Go on your own or bring along family and friends.

3. Help a coworker. Notice when a colleague is under pressure. Ask them what you can do to help. Maybe you can proofread a document or return some of their phone calls until they have a chance to catch up.

4. Greet a neighbor. Introduce yourself to the families who live on your block. Bring them extra tomatoes from your garden or invite them over for coffee.

5. Chat with a stranger. Give a compliment to a passerby who is wearing stylish eyeglasses or has a nice smile. Ask someone for directions on how to use the local public transportation or strike up a conversation about the new bakery selections at the grocery store.

6. Read to your kids. Turn bedtime stories into a regular ritual. Take turns reading to each other and inventing your own tales.

7. Date your spouse. Set aside time to spend as a couple. Go out for dinner and a movie or take a stroll through an art gallery or shopping mall.

8. Hang out with your friends. Nurture your friendships with regular lunches and potluck dinners. Share laughter and deep conversations.

How to Be More Present in the Time You Give to Others

1. Live in the moment. Focus on whoever you are with instead of dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. Put aside any distractions.

2. Listen closely. Practice attentive listening. Nod your head and provide encouraging feedback. Ask pertinent questions and paraphrase what you heard to ensure you understand the message.

3. Make eye contact. Meet the other person’s gaze. Let them know that they’re being seen as well as heard.

4. Provide validation. You can accept what others say even when you disagree. Recognize that their feelings matter. Tell them they have your support even when you have different opinions.

5. Show enthusiasm. Take a sincere interest in the lives of others. Remember how much others have done to help you, from teaching to you to read to curing your illnesses. Care about their happiness and wellbeing.

6. Hide your phone. If you’re tempted to check your phone, stow it out of sight. Turn the volume off for a while.

Being generous with your time will make you feel like you have more hours in your day. Show your family, friends, and colleagues that you care by giving them your time and attention.

Discover the Power of Conscious Breathing to Transform Your Life

Conscious breathing is an important method for maintaining your well-being. Luckily, anyone can learn the technique and use it on a regular basis to strengthen both mental and physical health. It’s easy!

Discover more about this powerful health strategy:

1. What is conscious breathing? Conscious breathing is becoming aware of the way you take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide from your body.

* It’s possible to use this technique during your normal activities.

* There are different types of conscious breathing methods, but they all have similar aspects.

2. Enjoy these mental benefits of conscious breathing:

* Conscious breathing can decrease stress and give you inner peace. It can help you focus during difficult moments.

* It can reduce fear, worry, and anxiety. It can help you deal with daily conflicts and issues.

* Conscious breathing can help your mind by giving it enough oxygen to focus and strengthen your concentration. It can have a positive impact on memory and test results such as exams in school.

3. See its impact on your body. Conscious breathing makes a positive impact on your overall health:

* Practicing conscious breathing on a regular basis can strengthen lung function and reduce asthma. It may not be able to reverse all damage or issues, but it can make a difference.

* Conscious breathing can also positively affect the cardiovascular system. Your body needs a constant flow of oxygen to function properly. By getting more oxygen, circulation and blood flow improves.

* Conscious breathing forces you to breathe through your nose. Breathing through the nose is healthier. It can make your mouth less dry. A dry mouth can cause tooth decay and affect the overall health of the tongue.

* You might even reduce or eliminate snoring because, when you snore, you’re breathing through your open mouth. Even your relationships may improve with a decrease in snoring!

* Conscious breathing can enhance your sleep and give you energy.

* Conscious breathing can also affect your weight. Deep breathing can reduce snoring, which can affect the hunger hormones. When you snore, you don’t get enough rest, so the hunger hormones increase and cause weight gain.

4. How to practice conscious breathing. Conscious breathing requires you to focus on how you breathe. It makes you think about the process and regulate it. Conscious breathing forces you to live in the moment and enjoy it.

* You can become more aware of the process by putting your hand on your stomach. Relax and breathe in deeply through your nose. As you breathe in, your abdomen will rise. Then, pause and exhale gently. You can feel your abdomen go back down as you exhale.

* You can even practice conscious breathing using various rhythms and patterns.

* Try conscious breathing in a quiet room or area. Avoid interruptions from phones or other devices.

* Combining meditation with conscious breathing makes the technique even more effective.

Conscious breathing is a teachable process that is easy to learn. It can have a positive influence on many aspects of your life.

How to Build the Courage to Leave an Abusive Partner

When you’re in an abusive relationship, it can be difficult to see the way out. However, you don’t have to be trapped in a relationship with an abusive partner.

Discover how to separate yourself from them in a safe way by using these strategies:

1. Understand why you stay. You can’t gain the courage to leave until you understand why you’re staying. Are these reasons preventing you from leaving?

* Perhaps you’re staying out of fear.

* In other cases, you may feel stuck in the relationship because it’s the only thing you have right now. Despite the issues, it’s a familiar place. You may even feel secure in the familiarity.

* You might even stay because you feel that you deserve to be punished. You’re worried that you won’t be able to find someone else who is better. And, because of the abuse, you may feel responsible for the situation.

* In addition, perhaps you believe that you can fix the issues. You may think that if you love your partner enough, then they will stop being abusive.

2. Strengthen your self-esteem. Low self-esteem is at the root of many abusive relationships. Increasing your confidence and self-esteem will help you gain the courage to leave the abuser. You can start by acknowledging that your self-esteem needs work.

* Look for causes for your low self-esteem. Were your parents perfectionists who expected too much from you? Did you feel inadequate growing up or at work? Once you have the answers, you can work to resolve your feelings about your past. You can put the past in the past and ensure that these negative feelings don’t affect who you are today.

* To raise your self-esteem, do a nice thing for yourself each day. Pay attention to what others say about you that is positive. Journal about it or take notes, so you always have a reminder of your positive aspects.

3. Get outside help. It may benefit you to get help from friends, family, or others. You may need to turn to therapy or a doctor. In some cases, outside help is needed to leave an abusive relationship.

* Your friends, family, coworkers, or others may be able to assist you so you won’t be alone and can develop the courage to leave. There may also be community resources, nonprofits, and organizations that can help.

4. Figure out your finances. Are you scared to leave your partner because you depend on them financially? If you know that you’re financially secure, then it’s easier to leave.

* When you have a job, set money aside that your abuser can’t access. You can also ask friends or family to contribute to your savings.

* When you don’t have a job, you have to be more creative. You may be able to save money from the stipends you receive. You may be able to sell some items.

* Even if you’re not certain about your finances, you can make plans for the future. Prepare for a job that can support you after this relationship ends.

You don’t have to stay with an abusive partner out of fear. Relationships can be difficult to end, but it’s not impossible. Figure out a way to escape and leave them, even if you need someone to help you do it. There are resources and people who can help you get out of your abusive situation and get started in a healthier life.

Finding a Meditation Community Made Easy

Meditating as a community has its advantages.

You can exchange feedback and teach each other. You’re more likely to show up regularly because you want to see your friends, and you feel like they’re counting on you. Most of all, you can pool your energy so that you achieve greater realizations and peace of mind.

If you’re ready to share your practice, take a look at these 3 simple approaches to finding a meditation community.

The All-Encompassing Approach

Advanced practitioners regard the time between sessions as a meditation break. If you like the idea of your practice being all-encompassing, welcome everyone into your meditation community.

1. Contemplate gratitude. It’s easier to cherish others when you focus on their kindness. Spend a minute thinking about the stranger who holds a door for you or a salesclerk who goes the extra mile.

2. Meditate on helpfulness. When you can’t offer practical assistance, you can still give others your best wishes. Imagine feeding the hungry or curing the sick.

3. Welcome irritations. Meditation isn’t all smiles and hugs. Instead of backing away from someone you find annoying, open your heart. Try to see the situation through their eyes.

The Local Approach

Meditation is more powerful when you integrate it into your daily routine. Deepen your relationships by sharing your practice with those close to you.

1. Bond with your partner. Enrich your marriage by starting the day with a joint meditation session. Go on a retreat together for your next vacation.

2. Train your kids. Studies show that meditation helps kids do better in school, as well as manage their feelings. Keep your sessions brief and fun so they’ll want more. You can play music or buy colorful cushions.

3. Team up with friends. Examining your mind could take your friendships to another level. Invite your pals to sit together. You may be surprised by what you learn about each other.

4. Reach out at work. If you spend long hours at the office, you may want to invite some of your colleagues to join you for a little quiet time. Ask if you can use the conference room or visit a nearby park.

5. Get physical. Meditating is good for your body as well as your mind. Plus, exercises that correct your posture and increase your flexibility make it more comfortable to sit for extended periods. There may be another member of your gym or yoga studio who would love to work some meditation into their workouts.

6. Ask around at church. Meditation encourages spiritual growth as well as relaxation. If you already have a faith community, you might want to add meditation to your usual group activities.

The Technological Approach

You probably wouldn’t dream of taking a trip without going online to look up airfares and weather forecasts. Let the internet help you on your spiritual journey too.

1. Use social media. Maybe there’s a meditation group on Meetup waiting for you or you can host one of your own. Start a conversation by posting some comments about your practice on your Facebook page.

2. Broaden your perspective. You may not have the time and money to travel to India, but you can communicate online with monks in Dharamshala or schoolteachers in Cleveland. Seek inspiration and learn from what others are doing.

3. Meditate anytime. While face-to-face contacts are usually more intimate, the internet is there for you around the clock. Chat on forums or listen to podcasts when it’s too late to call a friend.

There is power in numbers. Meditating as a community will help you to feel more connected and reinvigorate your spiritual practice.

Enjoy Greater Abundance by Sharing Your Time and Money

Consider sharing your time and money with those that are less fortunate.

You’ll be surprised by the benefits you receive by sharing your resources. Most of us feel we don’t have any time or money to spare, but that’s rarely the case. Even a couple of hours each week can make a meaningful difference.

Give to others and get more in return. Consider these benefits:

1. Enhance your community. When you donate your time and money locally, your community is improved. Not only do strangers, friends, and family benefit, but you also benefit. Take an active part in your community and help everyone around you.

2. Boost your position in the community. You’ll become well known as a generous and important person. Volunteering can help your career and overall social status. You never know whom you might meet along the way.

3. Those that volunteer have fewer health issues and often live longer. You can expect to be healthier and happier if you volunteer regularly. Several studies suggest that volunteering is more beneficial to seniors than diet and exercise are.

4. Helping others can be a great distraction from your own challenges. It’s hard to think about yourself while you’re helping others. Give yourself a mental break and volunteer your time.

5. Feel good about yourself. Helping others give us another reason to feel good about ourselves. Sharing your time or financial resources with others is a form of kindness. You’ll feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment by helping others.

6. The more you give, the more you get. The more you help others, the more others will want to help you. It never seems to fail. When you’re generous, good things just seem to happen. You can never predict the benefits you’ll receive.

7. Your social circle will grow. This is especially true if you donate your time. You’ll come into contact with others that share your desire to be altruistic. Not surprisingly, those that volunteer can make great friends. You already know they’re likely to be wonderful people. Imagine spending more time with others that are motivated to be kind and helpful.

8. Discover that your life is better than you thought. You may have a few challenges, but you’re likely to come across others with challenges that are far greater. Realizing how difficult life is for some people makes your own issues seem a little easier to manage. Your perspective is changed.

9. Gain a sense of purpose. When you choose a volunteering opportunity, you’ll naturally choose a cause that you believe is meaningful. When you spend your time on meaningful activities, you’re filled with a sense of purpose.

* Find an organization that resonates with your values. You’ll look forward to the time you spend there.

There are many people that need help for one reason or another. When you have more than you need, it only makes sense to share some of your excess with others. You can gain a new perspective that makes your own life seem more manageable.

You’ll also expand your social circle and enhance your position in the community. Help others and help yourself in the process. You can’t do something nice for someone else without benefiting in some way. Over 75% of the population doesn’t volunteer in any capacity. Even one hour each week can provide benefits, both to others and you.

9 Calming Strategies That Help You Find Inner Peace

Finding inner peace in the modern world is a significant challenge. Everything about modern society feels like an obstacle to experiencing peace of mind. But there are ways to find and maintain inner peace. Inner peace is a choice, and many of your habits determine how much peace you experience in your daily life.

Experience inner peace and enjoy life on a deeper, more satisfying level:

1. Focus your attention on those things you can control. Why worry about those things you can’t control? It sours your mood and makes you less capable.

* Literally ask yourself, “Is this something I can control? Will worrying be beneficial in any way?”

2. Spend time in nature. The original humans didn’t live in a 3-bedroom ranch and eat microwave popcorn. Take a long walk in the park or spend a weekend camping. You’ll feel dramatically different compared to sitting in a building 24 hours every day. There’s something peaceful about spending time among the birds and the trees.

3. Be true to yourself. Few things are more disconcerting than living a life you weren’t meant to live. It continuously gnaws away at you. Live a life that’s congruent with your values.

* It’s too easy to allow society dictate your choices. You don’t have to spend your life on a career that’s impressive to others. You don’t have to chase after a fancy house. Make your own decisions about what’s most important to you.

4. Eat nutritiously. You might not realize how bad you feel because you’re so used to it. Try eating the way you know you should for just a week. Note the change in how you feel.

* Now try eating some junk food and see what happens to your mood and your overall sense of well-being. You’ll feel like you’ve been run over by truck.

5. Exercise regularly. Have you ever noticed how great you feel as you’re walking out of the gym? Exercise feels good, and you feel good about yourself for doing it.

6. Do something nice for someone else. This is a great way to take your focus off of yourself. You become more aware that others are struggling, too. When you are kind, you receive kindness in return. You’ll also feel a sense of pride and satisfaction when you help someone else.

7. Be assertive. Be open and forward with your needs and desires. You’re not only more likely to get what you want, but you’ll also feel more in control of your life. Being passive results in having less control, which runs counter to inner peace. Be bold without being aggressive.

8. Meditate. Meditation is calming. It also helps to see life and its challenges more accurately. Things are often better than they seem. Meditation can prevent your mind from making a situation seem worse than it really is.

9. Avoid trying to change others. You’ll have as much success trying to change the weather. It’s hard enough to change yourself. How will you ever manage to change someone else?

It’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Eat properly, exercise, and be true to yourself. Be assertive and take control of your life. All the accomplishments in the world can’t replace inner peace. Avoid chasing after those things that society has determined to be important. Decide for yourself and live the life you were meant to live.

How to Meditate in 3 Minutes or Less

Finding time to meditate can hold you back from beginning your practice. Maybe you try to carve out time, but doctor appointments and business trips get in the way. You can’t find a free hour to sit down.

While extended meditation has its benefits, you can also boost your mindfulness with brief breaks of a few minutes or less. Try these tips for calming your mind even on your busiest days.

Brief Meditations: How to Do It

1. Focus on your breath. Pay attention to your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils. Follow its path up and down your body. Notice how your abdomen and chest rise and fall when you inhale and exhale deeply.

2. Scan your body. Search for areas of tension. Massage your stiff shoulders or hands as you imagine your breath warming and healing them.

3. Observe your thoughts. Check out what’s on your mind without making judgements. Let your mind slow down.

4. Embrace your feelings. You can meditate when you’re feeling content or dealing with major stress. Remember that your emotions are temporary and you decide how to respond to any situation.

5. Watch closely. Lock your eyes onto a chosen object. Pick a candle with a flickering flame or a tree bough swaying in the breeze.

6. Chant out loud. Fill your mind with a spiritual mantra or an inspiring saying of your own. Repeat it 3 times.

7. Reach out and touch. Many religions use beads to count prayers and maybe even avoid falling asleep. Try wearing a bracelet or holding a charm in your palm as a trigger to bring your mind back to a beautiful and wholesome state.

Brief Meditations: When to Do It

1. Adjust your commute. Look forward to red lights. Use traffic signals and stop signs as a reminder to breathe.

2. Take a break during meetings. You can stay up to date with your mind at office meetings the same way you check on phone calls and text messages. Ask yourself how you’re feeling while you’re looking to see if a client responded to your last message.

3. Intensify your workouts. Connect with your mind as you build up your body. Meditate for a few minutes on the treadmill or at the swimming pool.

4. Connect with your partner. Make a date with your spouse. Mediate together for a few minutes each morning or before bed.

5. Bond with your kids. Mindfulness exercises can be especially beneficial for children. Make your sessions fun by keeping them short and simple. Throw in some yoga poses, singing, and visualizations that will appeal to your child’s imagination.

6. Line up. Your daily life is probably full of long lines. Next time you’re queuing up for a blockbuster movie or rushing to mail a last-minute present at the post office, remember that meditation will help you pass the time without losing your spot.

7. Skip commercials. Do you enjoy watching 30 seconds of advertising before you can watch the video you clicked on? Hit the mute button, and enjoy the silence that surrounds you.

8. Consume consciously. Do you automatically reach for a donut or a margarita after a rough day? On the other hand, maybe you try to soothe yourself with a little retail therapy. Meditation could be a healthier and less expensive response to stress.

Let go of stress and boost your concentration with a quick meditation session. While instant weight loss products are often disappointing, you can enjoy greater peace of mind in just a few minutes a day. That’s a miracle worth celebrating.

16 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Day

There are lots of things that can darken your day. Maybe storm clouds are covering up the sun or you just learned that your son needs braces that will cost more than your last car. If you need quick relief, take a look at these fast and easy treats for your mind and body.

Fast Ways to Lighten Up Your Mind

1. Count your blessings. Cultivating gratitude makes you happier. Write out a long list of things that you’re grateful for and post it somewhere where you can see it throughout the day. Tell someone how much they mean to you.

2. Hang out with friends. Connect with others. Invite a bunch of pals over to watch a movie and eat popcorn.

3. Volunteer in your community. Support a worthy cause while you take your mind off your troubles. Pull weeds for elderly neighbors or make fundraising calls for your local public television station.

4. Shop for others. Studies show that money can buy happiness when you spend it on others. Surprise your mother with a heated mattress pad to help her sleep.

5. Head outside. Communing with nature also lifts our spirits. Eat lunch in the park.

6. Learn something new. Adding to your accomplishments provides lasting satisfaction. Sign up for an online course and complete your first lesson in gothic architecture. Ask a neighbor to show you how they keep their lawn so green.

7. Laugh out loud. Smile wide and think about something that makes you want to chuckle. Watch cat videos online or remember the funny thing that happened at your child’s school play.

8. Listen to music. Upbeat music is contagious. Put together a playlist of songs that make you want to dance. Sing along with the band.

9. Pet your dog. Your dog is an excellent role model for teaching you how to put aside your cares and enjoy the moment. Let him cheer you up when you’re feeling blue.

Fast Ways to Lighten Up Your Body

1. Breathe deeply. Breathing has a powerful effect on how you feel. Concentrate on the flow of oxygen entering and leaving one nostril. Follow your breath down through your throat and chest. Feel your stomach rise and fall.

2. Lower your shoulders. Scan yourself from head to toe. Open up any areas of stiffness and tension. Draw your shoulders back and down.

3. Massage your feet. Maybe you’re irritable because your shoes have been pinching your feet. Kick them off and dip your toes into a tub of warm water. Dry off and roll a tennis ball around under your arches.

4. Try aromatherapy. Pick an invigorating scent like grapefruit or peppermint. If you’re agitated, choose soothing lavender or sandalwood.

5. Move around. Exercise is a natural and beneficial stimulant. Rev up your heartbeat with some laps around the track or ten minutes on an inclined treadmill. Share a game of catch with your children.

6. Stretch out. Want a yoga pose that will perk you up? Sun salutations will do the trick. To settle down, lie on your back and extend your legs straight up against a wall.

7. Take a nap. On the other hand, maybe you’re dragging around because you need more rest. Lie down for a quick nap and go to bed early so you’ll be bright and fresh tomorrow.

Some days are gloomier than others, but you can be prepared for conflicts and challenges. Use these pick-me-ups or develop your own favorite rewards that keep you smiling and content regardless of what’s going on around you.