This certainly isn't the best picture of me since I'm all hot and sweaty on a hike, but I still like it. Why? Well, there are many reasons. It was a beautiful evening and we were on a hike during golden hour. My husband and I had some time alone with our daughter and we all enjoyed being together. Without even planning it, I also happened to be wearing the perfect t-shirt for the moment - Positive Altitude. I love Life is Good t-shirts and I wear them most days during the summer. More than anything, I like this photo because I was happy when it was taken.
I feel like I'm generally a happy person and I'm grateful for that. I do think it's a skill you have to practice and keep sharp. Even with all the wonderful blessings in my life, I've had some struggles lately with feeling as happy as I should. When I get feeling down, I need to remind myself to take care of myself and pay attention to how I'm spending my time. It's easy for me to tell my children and husband that is what they should be doing, but much harder to actually practice what I preach.
I decided this was a great time to make a list of what helps me stay positive. These are things that give me altitude and lift me up! And since I'm lucky enough to live near some amazing mountain ranges, I'll share a photo I took on Saturday to illustrate my list.
- I'm not what you would call an "outdoorsy" person, but I've recently realized that I do need to get outside to feel happy and whole. I need a little sunshine on my face and being surrounded by nature brings me joy. Especially if I don't have to sleep in a tent. lol!
- Order and cleanliness are important to me. When my house is clean I feel so much better. Clutter and disorganization depresses me. I can deal with unmade beds, but piles of "stuff" make me feel anxious.
- Eating enough protein and fat makes a difference. I've lived off a very carb heavy diet for most of my life. Over the past 6 months I have come to learn how much better I feel when I get enough protein and fat (the healthy kind of fat). I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a year ago and I've been able to significantly lower my blood sugar with diet and exercise and a little metformin. I feel so much better now that I'm taking charge of my health. I still have a ways to go and I still love cookies way too much. I'm also learning to love the feeling of eating clean and strengthening my body.
- Reading books on a regular basis. I'm always happier when I'm incorporating time for reading in my life. It's so easy for me to get sidetracked with reading the news and social media and then not leaving time for books. Why is this so hard when I know better? Reading is actually very easy for me and I can get through books quickly. My biggest problem is that it's hard for me to put down a book once I've started it so I stay up way to late and then my sleep suffers. I wish I could find a happy medium on this.
- Spending time with family. When everyone is way too busy and over scheduled, it's stressful. I love having time to just be together. Now that my children are adults, I cherish those times even more. I love to just sit and chat with my family. I also love to play board and card games with them, go on adventures, watch shows, and just hang out.
- Time alone. That might seem counter to what I just listed, but I really do need time and space to myself. I spent 12 years as an only child. I went without a roommate for one year in college. I like the peace and quiet of being alone. That bothers some people. My husband and daughter don't like it. My son and I need it. I'm an introvert at heart but I also like to do fun things and be with people I love. I like to think of myself as a friendly introvert I guess. I definitely do need to recharge on my own.
- Finishing projects. I love the feeling of checking something off my to-do list. I like planning and making good things happen. I need to see results and progress or I get discouraged. I keep on top of this by constantly setting small goals for myself so I can feel accomplishment.
- Documenting memories is another big way to fill my personal bucket. When I combine words and photos I can tell a story that means something to me. It's also a gift for me to give to those around me. This is the way I create. This is what gives me a sense of accomplishment. When I get away from this, I notice a change in my level of happiness. My son even mentioned to me the other day that I haven't been scrapbooking and blogging like my usual self. It made me realize how important those activities are for my mental well being.
What lifts you up? How do you get to a Positive Altitude? Have you ever written down the things that make you happy? It's a great exercise and also a fun thing to include in a journal or scrapbook!