I have been trying this year to focus more and more on happiness and what it means. I think what it means is as tied up in how you approach happiness as the happiness itself. So I have been gleaning information from self-help blogs and websites and books and have come up with a few ideas that make some sense to me. They are either ones that I have heard or have read or sometimes just figured out myself. So here goes…
- Get enough sleep but not too much. It is hard with all that goes on in our lives to get enough sleep, but sometimes it is easy to wallow in our beds when things are tough. I find this wallowing easy to slip into. A “just pull the covers over my head and wait til the bad stuff goes away” is an unfortunate part of my character. But I am working hard on breaking this cycle. Sleep and naps are a big treat for me, so I try now to get up in the morning and get going rather than lingering in bed and leaving naps for days I get lots accomplished in the morning. That way it is a treat not an escape.
- Fake it til you make it. This little tip is from my mom who went through some pretty serious crap in her life in her last few decades. She had breast cancer; a very rare and potentially deadly form; and survived it for over 15 years. Then she got terminal lung cancer; after never smoking and living a healthy life. She always seemed to have such a positive outlook and just plugged along through those tough days and will always be an inspiration to me. Sorry, having a little crying break here….I miss her so much. But she did leave me with this little tidbit to nag in my ear when I am feeling less than confident or down.
- If your belly’s full and your pants are dry, you have nothing to complain about. Another mom-ism. She always said that when your basics are covered, you really don’t have that much to complain about. And she certainly meant more than hunger and bladder problems, she meant all the basics for life. All the extras we take for granted are just gravy really. I hear myself quoting my mom with this little saying when I hear people complaining. I just have to hear it myself.
- Be truly thankful for the little things. This is kind of a repeat of the previous, but in a broader scope. Once the basics are covered, the wonderful other “stuff” should be appreciated and recognized that they are the sweet things in life. Like a good book, a great hug when you really need it, good music to dance to, or the love of a great dog (although to me, that’s a basic). The little things really matter, the details that spice and sweeten our lives need to be acknowledged. I need to recognize these every day and say thanks.
- Don’t nag. Simple, straightforward and so hard to do. And I don’t just mean nagging your partner or your children, but yourself. Lighten up, give yourself a break. I am my own harshest and most vicious critic, no one could be harder on me than me, and I have to just let it go and recognize my good qualities and characteristics.
- Do go to bed angry. Sometimes it feels like you need to just vent, like an anger vomit binge, but really, who does it serve? Words are weapons when used in anger, and in the heat of an argument can be deadly. Let the sun go down and hope that in the morning rationality will rule and you will be able to either let it go or talk with kindness or at the very least, not plot a murder.
- Pick your hills to die on. This is one I have tried to use through out my life, think this may have come from my mom or dad. When it comes to those battles with people that you come up against, decide if it is worth the fight. Most of the time it isn’t, people just have to agree to disagree. But if the other person isn’t willing to retreat from the battle, then gather your forces and your dignity and high-tail it out of the argument. Decide if it is just a skirmish or a full on battle, and if the ground conquered is worth the price.
- Have a good cry now and again. I know this might seem counter productive when I am trying to focus on happiness, but there is nothing like a good cry to let loose the pressure of stress, of life and frustration. It lets the valve go and brings you back to a more rational mind-set.
- Have trust in something or someone. There is nothing like giving over total trust in something whether it is fate or faith or what ever gets you through the rough times that takes some of the pressure off you. Just believing that things will get better often helps me get through the rough times. Trusting someone totally is very freeing as well, I know that no matter what, my husband has my back, totally and without equivocation. He is my rock and he gets me and my weird and quirk stuff and he has helped me through the good times and the bad with total support and advice and encouragement.
- Get Help. This post is not a frivolous one. I have been through some pretty rough times in the past, have experienced deep depression and these previous ideas have helped, but not all the way. Get help for your feelings, by talking to your partner, a friend, a medical professional; what ever it takes. There is no shame in admitting that sometimes it can all be too much and you just have to accept that you need help sometimes. This one is a hard one for me as I am a bit of a control freak and admitting that I don’t have control over my emotions or my experiences or my reactions to them is sometimes difficult to accept. But just do it, accept a helping hand when you need it.
Hopefully this post isn’t too serious for my readers, but I don’t want to be just all about thrifting or refashioning or recipes. I want to share some things I have learned the hard way and the good way. Cheers, Michele