We focused a lot on your body, but we need to take care of the mind too: keep it happy and active.
Even though some of us try to “live in the present moment”, the past influcences our character and how we (uncounciously) react now. Childhood experiences, from physical abuse to a “simple” lack of affection, or a missing parent, have a strong influence on our development and emotions, including on how we perceive love.
If applicable, work with a good psychologist to help you make peace with your parents, childhood events, and past relationships. There’s no need for years-long therapy. 3-5 day workshops can help you experience emotions which were missed, give back experiences and words which hurt you, separate the pain from real memories which will always remain, while still recognizing and appreciating your parents for giving you life.
Being happy is your choice. You can either wait to be happy until you get a spouse, bigger sallary, house, vacation, or be “happier” now with what you already have. Happiness is not a true or false state, but a mix of emotions that we experience, one at a time.
Shame, guilt, fear, anger are human and useful for a sane life, but we don’t have to be continuously trapped in them. Acknowledge them, manifest yourself in ways which don’t hurt anybody (eg. swear loudly, but at the situation/universe, not at a person), then invite those emotions to move on. The simplest way to do that is to generate another emotion, which will take the old one’s place, since we can only have one emotion at a time (succession can be fast, though). Take action and do what makes you proud, courageous, joyful and loved. Even remembering past experiences which gave you these emotions works.
What else helps?
When you wake up, while still in bed, recognize some things that you can be grateful for. Some people can’t even get out of bed. Remember those during the day.
Before you go to sleep, write down in a journal 3 things that happened today and you’re grateful for.
Learn something new every few years, in completely different areas that you aren’t already familiar with, to lower risks for cognitive degeneration. Examples: playing an instrument, dance, painting, mathematics, poetry, chess, boat sailing, biology, a foreign language.
Genes related to inflammation became less active in people practising mind-body interventions, such as meditation, yoga and tai chi. These might help reduce the risk for inflammation-related disorders.
People with a greater sense of purpose live longer. Purpose seems to reduce the risk of stroke and depression. It helps people recover from addiction.
To identify or strengthen your sense of purpose, start small, by focusing first on making work more meaningful or becoming more invested in relationships. Try setting a different purpose for each of four domains in life – family, work, community and personal – and acknowledging that your focus will shift between them over time, and the goals themselves can shift too.