The Sneak Attack that Robs You of Hope and Happiness. There is nothing foolish about April. April is a month full of bright colors and hope. Everywhere you look, from tulips to cherry blossoms, life is in bloom and optimism is in the air. I can’t help but wonder if you feel it too? Are you feeling hopeful? Are you excited about a project, trip or your garden? Are you feeling good about your life?

If you aren’t feeling overly cheerful, I’ve got to ask. What are you doing about it? What are you doing to nurture happier and hopeful times?

Hope and happiness rarely just fall at our feet. That’s because stress somehow creeps into everyday life. Through seemingly normal exchanges, life can quickly shift from perfectly balanced to just trying to get by.  One day the boss asks for more than your job description and next the kids move from once a week practice to being on the travel team. At first, you think it’s all temporary and doable. But then, days turn into months and months turn into years. Before you know it, you went from managing your life to feeling stressed out. Stress is sneaky that way.

One of the best ways to recognize stress’s sneak attack is to be on the look out to see if you have traded away time for exercise, sleep, food preparation and fun. If one or more of these have gone by the wayside, it’s time to make a correction. Your hope and happiness depend upon it.

Do not spend a moment of your time trying to figure out what went wrong. It doesn’t matter now. What matters is that you decide what matters most. Do you want to be filled with more hope and happiness or do you want to continue to be stressed out?

Let me help you prioritize the functioning four.

1. Get some Sleep

Brian Johnson wrote in his blog today that our grandparents got an average of 10 hours sleep per night. Today, American’s are averaging 6.7 hours. That’s not enough. Period. Without adequate sleep, you are too exhausted to enjoy much of anything.

2. Get your move on

If you are like me and the word exercise stops you in your tracks, try replacing it with the word play. There are lots of ways to move your body. You only need between 150-180 minutes of (play) a week. That’s only 30 minutes a day. So mix it up. Do everything playful you can think of: Dancing in the kitchen, singing in the forest, race your kids to the stop sign and back, stretch, yawn, laugh, giggle, hula hoop, ride your bike, do yoga. Do whatever gets your heart rate up… just play. This is the stuff you that makes you sleep well.

3. Prepare Fabulous Food

Dive into your dishes by making them super delicious. Make one dish meals that satisfy your senses. Make it a family affair… cook with the kids, sing, play and tell stories and talk. This is equivalent to sitting around the campfire. It kept our ancestors alive and it will for you too.

4. Fun

If you have a case of “too serious for my own good.” Its time to remember what its like to be a kid again. Get down on the ground  crawl, jump, smell the grass, look for worms, dance in the rain, find a friend to play with.  Give yourself permission to have a popsicle or two.  Slide, swoon, take in a comedy, or tell yourself a bunch of silly jokes.  Whatever you need to do to conquer that inner giggle snitcher … do it!  You’ll be more productive, less reactive and more efficient. Plus you’ll be a whole lot nicer to be around.

The point is, you are the only one creating the story of your life. You want it to be happy and hopeful or not? Take matters into your own hands. Prioritize what matters most, sleep, move, eat and have fun…that’s the stuff hope and happiness are made from.

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