These days, I have to practise being happier because I don’t think I’m so good at it anymore. Going through depression has been pretty tough but I learned early on that I have to develop my own “tool box” of sorts; skills and other things I need to be doing to get out of my head. Here’s what I’ve started doing:
Stopped Comparing Myself to Others
Everyone has their own path in life and we’re all where we need to be right now. I can’t compare my journey to anyone else’s because we just aren’t the same people with similar backgrounds and lifestyles. I have to remember, I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
I’ve mentioned this before, but working out regularly has been easily the best change I’ve made to my lifestyle. Apart from the obvious benefits to my health, I see the changes everyday in the mirror and it makes me feel good and keeps me going. This is something tangible and real and helps me carry forward with all the other changes I want to make in my life. My biggest tip here is to make sure you follow a plan at the gym – pick an 8 to12 week weight lifting plan off the internet and get at it. You’ll see results sooner than you think; just make sure you pick challenging weights.
Being Less Judgmental
This one was a difficult one for me in the beginning because the “judgy” voice started in my head without me even realizing it. I had to learn to consciously pause; listen to the dialogue in my head and change it. It takes a lot of practise and conscious thought but when you replace judgmental thoughts with empathy, you become happier, more empathetic and an overall better person.
Getting a Hobby
Welcome to my hobby! I decided that this blog would make a great hobby for me while I was off work and focusing on getting better. JTgr has been a great way for me to organize my thoughts and ideas all in one place. This is my virtual toolbox and I refer to it everyday to remind myself that I can get better, and how, when I’m not feeling so great. If you’re reading this but don’t keep a blog, I highly do recommend starting one, even if it’s private. Think of it as your dumping ground for your thoughts and a toolbox to help yourself.
Spending More Time With People
I’m about this close to being classified as a recluse. I prefer my own company and spend my time working out, watching a couple of episodes of whatever show I’m into at that moment, and maybe seeing my boyfriend a few times per week. I have other hobbies like knitting plus real life things like cleaning and doing laundry but really, I lead a very simple life. I could be by myself for days without having any human interaction and I would be fine. I’ve realized I have to put in a greater effort to see my family and friends because it was getting a little out of hand. They were happy to see me and although I dreaded it at first, I was happy I went out in the end as I had a good time, like always.
Being introverted growing up, I gravitated towards books. I would completely lose myself in novels and be happy when the protagonist overcame his obstacles and then be sad when the book ended. The power of books to make people and places seem real is incredible and that’s why I decided to get back into reading regularly. Non fiction is great and informative, but a good fiction book will win with me anytime as it really gets me out of my brain.
I make the effort to go outside everyday especially now in the summer. The sun and fresh air always leave me in a much better mood and the Vitamin D doesn’t hurt either. Try to get out with friends and kill two birds with one stone or if you have a pet (or even if you don’t) go for a nice long walk. I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better coming back than when you left.
Letting Go of The Past
There’s a saying by Buddha, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Just let the past be. There’s nothing you can do now but either forgive and forget, or forgive and remove.
Learning to Laugh at Myself
This ties into the question, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” My biggest fear before was looking like an idiot in front of people. Over time, I’ve learned that people are so into themselves that they aren’t paying attention to me and that with a quick smile and a laugh, something potentially really embarrassing can turn into nothing, that fast.
The more you smile, the better you feel; the better you feel, the more you smile. Easy, right?
Doing these things on my list helps me little by little become happier over time. I can tell you it won’t be overnight but the more I’ve been doing these things, the better I’ve felt. So,what things do you do be more content in your day to day? Leave me a quick line below!