Lately I have been feeling happy.
At the start of the year I was decidedly unhappy, what with stresses of house moving/failing to sell, sister moving overseas, etc. I’ve really enjoyed realising that I am happy again and it has inspired me to think about how I managed it. I hope that by sharing what I’ve learned I can inspire more happiness in the people around me.
Step one for me was listening to a podcast about happiness by Gala Darling, article and download here. Her messages are simple, common sense things but I’ve noticed that common sense doesn’t necessarily occur to me unless someone points it out. It might be the same for you?
So, taking stock of I really want from life and making steps towards making it happen. I’m hugely jealous of Amphigori right now who has finished her job at Trade Me as of yesterday and is going to do painting and sewing and making steampunk accessories until the next job comes along. Sounds like bliss to me. Of course my dream, you all know, is to make a living from writing and I have managed so many giant steps in that process by thinking small and just doing a bit at a time. What you want you can get, eventually, by working towards it. Well, unless you want to fly to the moon on the back of a sparrow. That might be a bit difficult.
Being in the moment has also helped me, there are heaps of cool articles on The positivity blog, the one that really helped me I linked to some time back was the one about questions to ask yourself. “Why am I feeling angry right now?” also, letting myself feel that emotion, just giving into the anger for a half minute or so often seems to bring the real reason to mind, which means I can solve it and get over it.
Gala Darling also taught me the benefit of being grateful. I don’t just do Things I Love Thursday because I am a pink fluffy bunny who wants to sprinkle the world with glitter (although I am and I do) it’s kind of like therapy. I was skeptical when Gala talked about the benefits of practicing being grateful, but once I’d given it a go I really noticed a difference. I guess it’s to do with making yourself think about things that you genuinely like, love or enjoy. You can’t help but feel a bit better about the world afterwards. I can recommend starting a Things I Love Thursday list enough, it doesn’t have to be online or anything, just start keeping a list for yourself in a notebook or on post its.
Asking for help and being honest about what you want to other people. This is two different things but I think they go hand in hand. In kiwi culture it’s not really done to ask for what you want. I’m not too sure why this is impolite, but I know that when I talked frankly to my new boss about how working at Trade Me isn’t my life’s goal and that I wanted more time to write my heart was beating in a panic rhythm and I was frightened that she would yell at me or tell me I was being stupid, or conceited or something.
I have found that if people like you then they generally want to help you. (Again, this seems obvious but I’m not sure that knowing this and actively using it are the same thing.) As kiwis we are not supposed to ask for what we want and there’s a huge pressure stopping us ask others for help. Which is stupid. If you want help and there is someone who can help you who wants to help then why the hell wouldn’t you ask them?
The converse is also awesome for making yourself happy. Helping people achieve is karmically good for you. And yes, I just made up a word. Karmically.
Other things that I have found give me happiness: dancing, learning new things, indulging whims by having baths, watching silly movies or reading ‘comfort food’ books. Eating well, a salad a day really does keep me healthy! Achieving goals, spending time with people I like who are not negative, making other people happy even in small ways.
Please feel free to add things that have helped you get happy in the comments. As with anything I write on here, this is all based on my own experience, so you might have a totally different view on how to achieve happiness.
PoF: It’s freaking cold and I am an icicle