I’ve just had the most amazing two weeks. No really, AMAZING! It’s been adventurous, rewarding and fulfilling. I’ve laughed, I’ve danced, I’ve hugged, I’ve loved, I’ve seen my city through new eyes and I’ve made some lovely new friends. But three weeks ago I was feeling quite the opposite. I was lonely, a little depressed, stressed, unfulfilled, vulnerable and a bit scared.
Isn’t it crazy how life goes in circles like that, how one day all can be wonderful, and yet other days it all sucks? But I guess that’s what it is all about. There is a belief out there that true happiness means that we should always be happy no matter what, but this, I believe, is just a fallacy. I think the answer to true happiness is being able to deal with these ups and downs, understand that everything isn’t always great, but be aware that you have the power to handle situations as they arise and take positive steps to deal with the tough times.
By focusing on the good things in life we can better handle the bad. Research shows that people, who focus on brief, joyful moments, rather than focusing on the small, everyday negatives, tend to be happier overall. They don’t deny that there are peaks and troughs in life but by concentrating on what goes right rather than what goes wrong they set themselves up for longer-term contentment and greater resilience when dealing with negative events.
So how can we do this, how do we get ourselves out of the ‘funk’ and back in the game? Here are my five top tips for getting your happy back on:
When you are feeling sad and unhappy it’s easy to focus on the negatives in life. To counteract this start a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a place where you can list five things a day that you are grateful for. It could be something as small as a delicious meal, or as big as an amazing friendship.
Take a walk, explore your surroundings, and start noticing the little things that you miss as you walk swiftly by. The photo in this post is something beautiful that I discovered whilst just walking around my neighbourhood (who would have thought that St Kilda has canals?).
3.Remember that with the downs come the ups:
The ups wouldn’t be nearly so good if the downs didn’t exist so remind yourself that this time will pass and you have many happy, exciting times ahead.
4.Talk to someone:
I’m one of those people who others tell their problems too, not so much the other way around. Often I forget that there are people out there who can help me simply by listening, or sometimes providing advice. Remember that you can reach out. It might be a friend, a mentor or a therapist. Just know that you don’t have to do it all alone.
5.Stop thinking, start doing:
Yep start doing all those things you said you were going to do. Harness your energy, build momentum. Once your brain and body get active you will find that things will really start to roll.
So next time things don’t seem to be going your way try a couple of these out, you’ve got nothing to lose and heaps to gain. The most important thing to remember when life gets you down is that the feelings, the emotions, the pain, will pass, but by making a concerted effort to change your mindset you may just find that they pass more quickly!