How To Be Happier

Mandy Ingber is a yoga instructor to the stars, having worked with the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Chelsea Handler. Mandy recently released a book of her teachings titled, Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy. You can catch Mandy on her book tour on these dates, or take a weekend workshop with her

From Mandy Ingber.

Everyone goes through transitional times. Periods of loss and grief are a normal part of life. No matter how wealthy one has become, regardless of one’s greatest achievements, or if they have found their life partner and soul mate, there are always periods of low energy and feeling stuck. This is a natural part of the cycle of growth.

Yes, everyone can lose sleep due to the mutterings of an overactive mind, have periods of self-doubt and insecurity…even emotional swings. What most people forget is that there are actions we can take, largely within our own bodies, that can mellow us, regulate our moods, and correct erratic patterns. Healthy habits go a long way in healing and helping us to embrace a joyful life.

Here are my top ten tips for getting happy from the inside out:

1. Eat whole foods and eat them consistently. You are what you eat. Juicy, whole, and natural are words that I would like heard to describe me, as opposed to processed, artificial and packaged. The mainstay of your diet should consist of whole grains and vegetables, fresh organic fruits, nuts, seeds and lean organic proteins. Stay away from processed and packaged foods. It is just as important to have a good attitude about what you consume, and to be consistent with your consumption. A general rule is eating a palm sized portion of food every 3-4 hours.

2. Fill your pantry with heart healthy treats. In my latest book, Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy, I have an extensive list of foods that are supportive for your heart health. By increasing fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, potassium, vitamins like E and B, and minerals like magnesium, you will support your heart health quite naturally. Blueberries, walnuts, salmon, broccoli and black beans top my personal favorites list.

3. Hydrate with 2-3 liters of water a day. The general rule for water intake is to calculate your body weight and divide that number in half. That number, in ounces would be your minimum daily water requirement for remaining hydrated. Hydration is vital for your digestion, metabolism and for the general function of your body’s systems. By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Take some time to calculate your number. So if you weigh 130 lbs, your daily dose would be 65 ounces.

4. Move your body 30-60 minutes daily. Cardiovascular activity is good for your mood. The best plan is to aim for a daily workout. I aim for 7 days a week and end up doing 5 days. Try not to restrict yourself by adding a lot of rules and requirements. Even a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood can lift your spirits and increase your happiness quotient. Spinning, walking, hiking, playing basketball, and roller-skating are all viable options. Do what you love.

5. Shift your attitude with a gratitude list. I take some time each day to write 10 things I am grateful for. I find that when I focus on what I DO have, and I place attention on what life is offering me, I begin to magnetize even more goodness. You can’t change life’s circumstances, but you can change where you focus your attention and awareness.

6. Reach out and touch someone. Studies show that a 10-second hug releases happiness hormones like oxytocin. This has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and therefore is beneficial to reducing the risk of heart disease. Touch is incredibly healing, and connects us. Try giving and receiving hugs as part of your daily practice.

7. Help a friend in need. The happiest people are those who are of service to others. Often times, the last thing we think we can afford when depleted is to give, yet being of service has the exact opposite effect. It fills the giver with joy and self-esteem. The next time you are feeling down, look for where you are able to help another and watch your spirits soar.

8. Make yoga a part of your life. In Yogalosophy for Inner Strength, I offer 5 new yoga-based routines. Yoga serves many purposes. It can relax you and calm your nervous system when you are feeling stressed and it can energize you when you are feeling depressed or lethargic. There are so many different styles of yoga, it may take some time to find the one that is right for you, but once you do, you won’t want to miss it.

9. Take time to sit and be with yourself just as you are. Meditation is getting more and more traction and attention these days. All sorts of meditation studios are popping up. I have heard of apps like Headspace or the 28-Day Deepak/Oprah Meditation Challenge. I recommend trying it all and doing what works. Ultimately, the point is to be present in your body, in the moment. Meditation is simple mindful breathing. I set my timer for 20 minutes. Just like going to the gym, when I show up consistently, my meditation muscle gets stronger.

10. Say yes. Yes to life. Yes to sadness. Yes to joy. Using a word like “yes” as your mantra means that you accept life as it unfolds to you. The greater your acceptance, the smaller your problems and fears become. Just say “yes.”

For more wellness advice, see how the food you eat affects your mood, or how to be more focused