The Full Mind Weigh® – Coaching that Empowers you to Stop Regaining the Weight you Lost!
During my professional career, I’ve worked with so many people whose goal is simply to “be happy”. For many, that simple-sounding goal has proven to be elusive.
A. Why is happiness important for successful weight loss maintenance?
Boosting your happiness will help you maintain your weight loss because you’re going to be less likely to turn to food in an effort to self-medicate or numb out sadness, anxiety, anger or stress.
B. So how can we become (and stay) happy?
Motivational speaker Maura Sweeney conducted a happiness survey and found that what people really want in life boils down to just five things:
- Healthy Relationships
- Peace of Mind
- Purpose and Fulfillment
- Personal Confidence
Another research study conducted by Professor Karen Pine and her colleagues identified ten everyday habits which have been shown to make people happier. Here are the 10 habits, with the average ratings of the people who were surveyed on a scale of 1-10, as to how often they performed each habit:
- Giving: doing things for other people — 7.41
- Relating: connecting with other people — 7.36
- Exercising: taking good care of your body — 5.88
- Appreciating: noticing the wonders of the world around you — 6.57
- Trying out: continuing to learn new things — 6.26
- Direction: having meaningful goals to work towards and look forward to — 6.08
- Resilience: having a toolkit of ways to bounce back when things don’t go the way you want — 6.33
- Emotion: having a positive outlook, being a positive thinker — 6.74
- Acceptance: being comfortable with who you are, even while working on self-improvement — 5.56
- Meaning: having a clear sense of being part of something bigger than yourself and your world — 6.38
The study showed that one of the strongest associations between these 10 habits and the degree of happiness that people reported was for self-acceptance. This category, though, got the lowest rating in terms of how often people actually performed the habit, with an average of only 5.56. Top of the list of happy habits that people performed was ‘giving’. In this category, one in six reported a 10 out of 10; just over one-third scored an 8 or 9; slightly fewer scored 6 or 7; and less than one in six (15%) rated themselves at 5 or less.
Professor Pine said: “Performing these habits really can increase our degree of happiness. It’s great to see so many people regularly doing things to help others — and when we make others happy we tend to feel good ourselves too”. She added, “This study shows that practicing self-acceptance is one thing that could make the biggest difference in many people’s degree of happiness. Exercise is also known to lift mood so if people want a simple, daily way to feel happier they should get into the habit of being more physically active too.”
C. How to build a healthy level of self-acceptance
Here are three ways to boost your degree of self-acceptance, as suggested by the researchers:
- Treat yourself as kindly as you do other people. If you make a mistake, think about how you can learn from it instead of dwelling on how you messed up. Acknowledge your skills, talents and the things you do well, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you. Likely, they are far from insignificant to others.
- Ask someone you trust completely to tell you what they value or admire about you, or what they see as your strengths. Be sure to not minimize or dismiss anything they tell you. Their words are precious gifts to you.
- Take some time, on a regular basis, to simply spend some quiet time with yourself. Focus on your feelings and simply try to be at peace.
D. Habits that create happiness
Other writers have pointed out that happiness is a habit – in other words, that we can choose to be happier. Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage, wrote about five fast habits that, if done daily, will boost both health and happiness. These habits are:
- Taking 2 minutes to think about 3 new (not the same as yesterday or the day before) things you’re grateful for. Be both novel and specific (“my kid hugged me” is specific, “love” is not).
- Taking 2 minutes to recall a positive experience you had in the last 24 hours, and focusing on every single detail you can remember.
- Doing 15 minutes of cardio exercise each day.
- Meditating for 2 minutes, and simply focusing on your breath.
- Taking 2 minutes at the beginning of the day to do a conscious act of kindness – it can be as simple as sending someone an appreciative or complimentary email or text
I’d love to read your comments on this post. What do you think of these ideas for creating more happiness for yourself? Are you using any of them? If so, how are they working for you?
Coaching can help you figure out how to create more happiness in your life so you don’t automatically turn to food in an effort to feel happy or content. Contact me to set up your free initial consultation and let’s work together to find easy, quick, doable ways for you to feel happier!
With your continued health in mind,
Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.
The Full Mind Weigh® is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.