Self-Love Challenge–The Happy List

Welcome  I did a self-love challenge in March.  While I don’t promote selfish or self-seeking behaviors, I do think it’s beneficial to take time to self-reflect and look for areas in our life where we have grown or could use more growth, as well as address any damaging self-esteem behaviors we may battle.  And sometimes, it’s just a fun way to improve yourself.  If you would like to participate in a self-love or happiness challenge, I have several choices on my Self Care board on Pinterest.  But today I’m going to talk about Day 12, and encourage you to participate in this activity, as well.

Food For Thought  On Day 12, I was directed to make a list of all the things that make me happy to be alive.  As I tend to be a more negative person, battling mood issues on occasion, this is an extremely beneficial activity.  And not only does this activity give me reasons to be happy for those moments when I may be struggling to find a reason, it is also a good way to practice gratitude.  If these things are able to make me truly happy, then I should be grateful that I have them as part of my life, right?  So, here’s what made my Top Ten for Things that make me Happy to be Alive!

My Happy to be Alive list
Make your “happy to be alive” list. What pattern do you notice in the first things you write down? What makes you truly happy?

 

After narrowing down my list to the “top ten,” I noticed some things.  This is where the valuable self-reflection part comes in.  I noticed the things that make me the happiest are NOT THINGS!  My list included nothing about my car, my home (although I am grateful to have this shelter!), clothes, jewelry, furniture, electronics, or my phone.  Most of the things on my list are also unrelated to money, finances, or wealth.  Savings account or investments don’t make the happy list.  The only things here related to money, is the finances needed to travel or purchase supplies for “creating.”  I can seek most of these sources of happiness without spending a single dollar.  I’m glad I took the time to notice this, since I can sometimes make the improper assumption that I must wait to be happy when I have more money.  This is a great reminder that my happiness is not wrapped up in what I own or what I have in my bank account, but present in the people I love and the experiences happening around me.  Life’s simple pleasures can bring so much happiness, if we just let them.

Today’s Scripture  Of course, our ultimate happiness should come from being children of God, so I will share this verse for today.Today’s Recipe  So, nutritionally speaking, I have been told by more than one doctor and through more than one publication, that some foods can actually help make us happy.  Yay!  I like to eat!  But seriously, I choose not to medicate for my depression and anxiety because of the L-O-N-G list of dangerous side effects, the fact that they only have about a 35% effectiveness rate, and I have other health issues that they can conflict with, so nutrition therapy is a way to address my mood disorders.  Now this is what I DO FOR ME!  I am NOT advising anyone to not take their medications or not seek them if you feel they are necessary.  My case is not your case, so please DO NOT look to me for your own treatment advise.  But even as far back as my diagnosis in college, I was given lists of foods to eat more of and foods to eat less of because of their direct impact on brain chemistry or the body’s production of hormones.  I’ve compiled a list of The 30 Best Good Mood Foods after viewing several different lists on websites and in printed texts.  Other foods are mentioned, but these are the ones that seem to have the most consistency across multiple sources.  What I notice about these foods is they are good for us anyway!  It’s funny how nature and nutrition work together in that way.  The foods that our bodies need for proper functioning of physiological systems are the same foods that provide benefit for our mental health as well.  In addition to this list, I have a recipe for a Mood-Boosting Super Salad.

Mood Boosting Super Salad
Using 7 of the top 30 good mood foods in this salad makes it a real “happy meal!”

 

Mood Boosting Super Salad with Citrus Honey Dressing  (This makes a very large salad with several servings.)

  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 4 oz spring mix greens
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (can substitute 1/4 cup sunflower seeds)
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Prepare vegetables and fruits and toss in large salad bowl.  For dressing, juice one whole orange.  Add next seven ingredients and whisk thoroughly.  When ready to serve salad, pour dressing over salad and toss to coat, or serve along side salad, if preferred.

Additional Reading  A few books that have offered some information in this area include 8 Weeks to Optimum Health by Andrew Weil, MD; How Come They’re Happy and I’m Not? by Peter Bongiorno, ND, LAc; and Super Foods RX by Steven G. Pratt, MD and Kathy Matthews.  I also have some articles and infographics pinned on the following Pinterest boards: Nutrition, Natural Remedies, Depression and Anxiety.

If you have concerns or questions regarding your nutrition and how it impacts your moods or emotions, please speak to your physician.