You now understand the relationship between stress and contentment. When you’re overwhelmed, it’s difficult to limit the complaining and to focus on what it takes to become happy. It can be easy to get stuck in a place of negativity. In yesterday’s blog post, I gave you some suggestions for working through stressful times. Today, I’d like to take that even further and talk about three specific methods for lightening your mood so that you can put your energy into achieving your goals. The power of mediation, prayer and journaling on your mood and outlook is great. These techniques can reset your mindset, encourage mindfulness and help you to sort through difficult feelings. Let’s take a look at how each works and the additional benefits they offer.
Meditation is a practice of mindfulness in which you focus on the current moment, controlling any intrusive or wandering thoughts. It has been studied by numerous researchers and found to have a number of scientific benefits with regard to the brain and your mood. In fact, the structure of your brain can actually change when you meditate regularly, leading to an increase in the area that regulates emotions. The practice has also been shown to decrease anxiety, depression and stress. Meditation leads to an overall improvement in positive emotion.
Praying offers emotional benefits, as well. Looking to something greater than yourself can be quite good for your mood and outlook on life. In order to gain the most impact from this activity, it’s important to make it a practice. Choosing to pray only during a crisis won’t be as beneficial. Reaching out to a higher power or even to something as broad as the universe itself can to a feeling of purpose or connection. In one study, therapy combined with a religious component led to greater optimism in participants over time. In addition, praying for the benefit of others has been linked with a decrease in the negative effects of stress.
Writing your thoughts, feelings and worries in a journal has a number of advantages to your wellbeing and state of mind. Journaling on a regular basis allows you to free your mind from clutter and get the jumble of thoughts you deal with on a daily basis out of your head. Putting your inner ramblings to paper or screen is quite freeing. Doing so also lets you sort things out, gain insight and to better make a strategic plan, rather than to just stew in your overwhelm. Journaling is a therapeutic and proactive tool that can really set you on a strong path toward contentment.
No matter which method you choose, it’s important to practice it regularly. Repetition helps to make these habits stick and to reinforce their benefits. You can engage in one or all three of these practices, as long as they resonate with you and you feel inclined to keep doing them. It will take time and dedication, but soon you’ll begin seeing the benefits of less stress and overwhelm. Contentment will be much easier to attain when your mood is lighter.