Like anyone else, I go through bouts of melancholy laced with contemplative thought. I had a particularly eye-opening existential dilemma this past week that made me re-evaluate my life and remind myself of the things that are really important. In today’s world we are always striving for bigger, faster, stronger and better. If we let ourselves get too wrapped up in all of our worries and insecurities we become one big ball of angst and depression. It is easy to forget the reasons we have to be happy. Luckily, it is also easy to learn how to appreciate them more. Here are some ideas that I have come across that have helped me overcome a rut and up the ante of happiness in my life.
Appreciating even the simplest things in life can lift your spirits, give you a new perspective on living and get you into the mindset of positive thinking. When I am down in the dumps I try to think about all of the wonderful things in my life that I tend to overlook. It seems that when you are thinking of good things, then more good things will come. Everyday, try and be thankful for the big things you have: loving family and friends, a roof over your head, or a reliable vehicle. On top of that I like to sit down and list 5 small things I am grateful for and why. These things are usually silly, trivial and brought even the smallest amount of joy into my day. Creating these lists really help me understand more about myself and how to create a life full of the things I love. Today’s list:
- My simple lifestyle– I am quite the minimalist. My house is barely decorated and my desk is free from clutter. I only buy things I need and don’t over complicate thoughts and tasks. Sometimes I feel guilty for this or long for more, but in reality this simplistic way of living keeps me sane.
- Postsecret -If you have never been there, go now! Every Sunday postcards containing secrets of strangers are posted on this site. It is intimate and touching, and each secret reveals to you something about yourself that you never knew existed.
- Quinoa -I’ve always loved quinoa, but it has really been a lifesaver since going gluten-free. It allows me to enjoy the carby-goodness of grains without actually consuming them (quinoa is a seed). It also gives me a serious boost of protein, calcium, phosphates, B vitamins, and magnesium.
- The Cure– I’ve been listening to Disintegration non-stop lately. The Cure does not depress me but they do put me in a contemplative and poetic mood, which is where I really like to be. Fascination Street is probably the best song ever.
- Geriatric Yoga – Funny story. I signed up for a local community yoga class. The listing said the class was for advanced yogis only, and it was hella cheap. So I signed up for the 8 week session, only to discover that I was the only one in the class under 60, including the teacher. The class was also much less advanced then I had hoped. But quickly I grew fond of the time spent gently moving my body and focusing on my breathing. The devoted and spiritual women in the class are a serious inspiration to me. It may not be an extreme workout, but it is very beneficial to my soul.
Don’t dwell on your suffocating debt or your beater of a car. Don’t constantly feel sorry for yourself because your boyfriend doesn’t love you or you are under appreciated at your job. I know it sounds super self-helpish and pretty trite, but – All you could ever need is inside of you! Love yourself and you will be loved eventually. Think and act as someone in a comfortable financial situation and soon you will be there too. This doesn’t mean buying Bentleys and designer gowns you can’t afford. It means not stressing about your financial woes and just live life to the best of your ability with what you have. Do what you love and eventually prosperity will come, whether it is in your soul or in your hand.
Nothing makes you feel better or sleep more soundly at night than getting things done. Even if it is the smallest, most mundane chore like laundry or the dishes, it can still feel good to get it out of the way so you can relax and not have those thoughts in the back of your mind. The best way to benefit from getting things done is to make a list.
- Every night, make a list of the things you need to get done the next day. Be realistic, it is better to put fewer things than too many.
- As you accomplish each task, check it off. – Doesn’t that feel great?
- When you go to bed, dump your brain into a to do list for the next day.
- Sleep soundly
Don’t love that sweater? Don’t buy it, no matter how much it is on sale for. Don’t love your job? Quit. I know it sounds drastic, but if you surround yourself with the things you love, then you will be infinitely happier. Don’t settle for something that makes you unhappy just because its easy. Believe it or not you are 100% in charge of everything that happens in your life. So seek out everything in your world that makes you uneasy or melancholy and either take immediate steps to turn it into something you love, or leave it behind.
We seriously take advantage of our breath. It is the most wonderful and amazing thing we have and once we pay attention to it, we can control many aspects of living. During the day try and let your mind wander to concentrate on your breath.
- Inhale in through your nose deeply
- Hold it for a few seconds
- Slowly exhale.
- Repeat at least 10 times.
You will feel a release of stress you didn’t even know was there, and your mind should become clearer. Try breathing like this during your downtime in the morning, after work or before you go to sleep at night.
Never be anybody but yourself. Enjoy all the things in your life – clothes, movies, books, music, people, hobbies – because you genuinely want to, not because of what someone else is going to think. If you live life as yourself and don’t follow the crowds, you will ultimately be endlessly happy.
This isn’t a six step program to happiness or anything like that. These are just some ideas that I try to implement into my life to make it more enjoyable. None require much time or energy, but rather a change of thinking. Good luck on your journey through life. This is the only one you get, so enjoy it!