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8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood

How you handle situations impacts your attitude, your happiness and your quality of life. Here are some tips for looking at the "glass half-full."

1. Attitude
Caregiving is stressful, time-consuming and depressing. But you have a choice every day as to how you will approach the day. Life throws us many curve balls, but the one thing you can control is your attitude. A famous quote by Charles Swindol sums it up: "We have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our circumstances. We cannot change that people will act in a certain way. The only string we have to play is our attitude. We are in charge of our attitude."

2. Be happy for no reason
Play and be happy even if you don't feel like it. You can be happy wherever you are. Do something silly: Put on some music and dance in circles until you're dizzy. Make faces to your kids or in the mirror. In other words, do something that makes you smile. The purpose of our lives is to be happy. However, you are only as happy as you make up your mind to be. You control your happiness; no one else does.

3. Focus on the love you have to give
People seek and enter relationships wanting to be loved. And being loved is one of the best experiences in life. But do you love yourself? This is crucial, because you can't expect others to love and respect you if you don't love and respect yourself. Loving another person, and all the giving and caring that go along with loving, can be more fulfilling than being loved. Focusing on the love that you have to give will change every relationship in your life.

4. Breathe
Breathing is a no-brainer, right? We don't even have to think about it because it is a natural function that gives us life. Most of the time, because we aren't aware of the breaths we take, we breathe very shallowly. Consciously focusing on your breathing and taking deep breaths can relieve stress and increase relaxation immediately. It's very easy to do. Here's how: Sit back. Place one hand on the abdomen and one hand on the lower ribs. Practice filling up those areas with air. In other words, take a breath that starts in your abdomen and works its way up your body. Control your breathing by breathing in for 3 to 5 seconds, hold for the same amount of time and exhale then exhale the air out through your mouth slowly. Do this for 3 minutes and you will feel the stress melt away.

5. Have a shoulder to cry on
Who do you turn to when you need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, or a friend to listen? Whether it's someone to remind you that you're doing a good job, or a little advice on an impossible situation, we all need someone to rely on during tough times. That network of support doesn't have to be large. Those of us who have just a couple of people we can always count on, should consider ourselves lucky.

6. Face fear head on
It is the unfamiliarity of uncharted waters which causes us the most distress. If we choose to constantly fight change, we will struggle our entire lives. We need to find a way to embrace these changes or at the least accept them. Hope is something we create. It's not something that magically appears from an outside source. We each have within us the capacity to generate hope. It's critical that we be absolutely intentional about nurturing hope in our lives.

7. Celebrate yourself
Honor yourself every day. Build self-esteem and self-confidence and enhance feelings of self-love. With better self-esteem and self-love, you can find inner peace and will have more confidence to face the curve balls that life has thrown your way. Believing in yourself and recognizing your strengths and limitations will go a long way in your ability to set goals and boundaries for yourself and for your loved ones. Each day presents a new struggle we must grapple with. If we try to redefine our personal definition of peace, and look for ways to incorporate it into our everyday lives, we might find a way to weather the storms.

8. Find peace among the chaos
Find your own personal space. Every one needs some alone time. Make time to be alone with your thoughts and refresh your spirit. If you can't take the time to leave the house, find your own space within the home. Use the office, the den, the back porch…even the basement and turn it into your own personal retreat. Use your time - even if its only 15 a minutes a day - to relax, practice your deep breathing, meditate - whatever works for you.

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