I wrote a short story, once, with that title – How to be Happy. I know – pretty shocking for something with ‘happy’ in the title to come from my pen, but there you go. It’s still in draft form, so I may even get back to it at some point.
I chose that title for my post today because, although I haven’t been unhappy, my recent posts have been a bit complainy (yep, totally a word!) and perhaps 2020 is starting to get you down as well. Although, I must admit, the news from the US on Saturday definitely lifted my spirits.
So, today I’m going to share some of the ways I cheer myself up when the world is crashing around me… (whoops, sorry!)
During lockdown (then and now) my gym has been closed, so I’ve been walking my dog and lifting weights in my bedroom. There are countless ways to exercise, but remember it should be fun – if it’s not, it’s a chore, like housework.
You could try cycling, running, wild-water swimming, dancing around your living room to your favourite music, an old exercise DVD or try one of the many YouTube channels. I like Fitness Blender. As long as your heart rate increases, it’s exercise.
Bonus points if it’s something which takes you outside, for the added benefits of fresh air, Vitamin D, and stopping for a chat with a neighbour.
Yes, a moment ago I called housework a chore, but actually it can be really fun… Okay, not fun, exactly, but there’s something satisfying about a spotlessly clean bathroom, or a tidy room, or a pile of unwanted clothes to donate. You get to move around, focus on something different for a while, and – the biggest joy of all – know you don’t have to do it tomorrow!
I mentioned music above in relation to dancing, but just sitting and listening to a favourite album, or something new from your favourite band, or switching on the radio can be hugely beneficial to your mood. While editing recently, I tuned in to Classic FM because I didn’t want to be distracted by songs I could sing along too, and it was a really lovely, uplifting afternoon.
Films and Books
I’m an avid re-reader and re-watcher. There’s nothing quite like the comfort of falling into a favourite story and mingling with characters you love. It’s easy, there are no surprises, and you’ll have a warm, snuggly feeling at the end of it.
Connecting with people
It’s an easy trap to fall into. You feel a bit low, so you avoid people. Personally, being a big people-avoider, I know this is a slippery slope. A quick message to a friend, a phone call, or even just a random tweet a stranger might respond to can make you feel slightly less alone. It’s easy to fall into negative thoughts, but talking to someone – even if you ignore your problem and just have a laugh – can make the bad stuff not quite as bad. If the pandemic has proven anything, it’s that we’re here for each other.
Avoiding the news
It’s so depressing, isn’t it, sometimes? I stopped watching breakfast news last year, around the time of the general election in the UK. I start my day in a much more positive frame of mind. I sometimes watch the 10 O’Clock News, but not always. If anything important happens, I’ll find out about it soon enough.
Likewise, social media can be toxic at certain times. Life seems to be more divisive than ever, so if you don’t want to deal with it, you don’t have to. Just step back for a couple of hours – or days – until you choose to go back to it.
What have I missed? Is there something you like to do when you find yourself unhappy?
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