Anyone who has ever had a bad day in their life can tell you that life is not all about happiness. We are constantly told that we can be happy. We’re told we can be happy if we own that skirt, or that car, or that house. We’re told we can be happy if we eat a certain way, if we exercise a certain way, if we do this, that or the other. And my least favourite of all, we’re told that we can be happy in our jobs, relationships and bodies.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve grown up being told that you can be or do anything you want. That you can be happy in your work and your private life. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been led to believe that happiness is the standard.
Well, not to be a massive downer here, but we’ve been lied to. Jus’ sayin’.
This is not to say that you will never experience happiness, because you will. Just not all the time. And this is not bad. The problem is when you put yourself under so much pressure to be happy all the time that being happy some of the time becomes impossible.
So what do we do about it?
Well, I’m glad you asked, because I’ve made a list.
- Remember that happiness is just one of many emotions. Unlike Ron Weasley, most of us can feel dozens of emotions all at once, or at least in quick succession. It doesn’t mean we’re crazy or “just being emotional”, it just means we’re normal.
- Write a list of things you enjoy doing and schedule these things into your life. Got a day off coming up? Why don’t you go on a picnic? Go for a bike ride, or go to that café that you’ve been meaning to go back to because they make an amazing banoffie pie smoothie. What about reading a book just because you feel like it?
- Remember that sometimes the little things are the things that make you happiest. Meeting an awesome dog while you’re out walking, seeing a pretty flower, the smell of jasmine, lovely hot cups of tea…
- Stop trying to impress other people. This will sound harsh, but most of them don’t care. Most people are actually busy worrying about their own problems, so you don’t really need to worry about them judging you, because they’re too busy worrying that you’re judging them to judge you. Say that ten times fast!
- Stop trying to justify your choices to other people. They don’t need to know why you like to spend all your pocket money on dinosaur figurines. If you like something, you like it. End of story.
- Remember that what you see on social media is just the highlight reel. Everybody just posts the good stuff. No one is posting selfies of their fat days, or of their red, sweaty faces mid-workout. No one is posting photos of their boring spaghetti on toast that they had for dinner on that night when they couldn’t be bothered cooking. No one is posting about how they just had an argument with their partner about how they never help with the housework. All of these things are happening in their lives, too.
- Surround yourself with things that you genuinely love. Seriously, don’t buy that kitchen appliance just because everyone else has one. You’re allowed to love that frypan that’s really good for making pancakes. I keep an amazing assortment of random things in my house because I love them. I have old school tea cups and toy dinosaurs and a huge amount of art supplies, all because I love them.
Remember, if you’re stuck in a rut, try adding one little thing at a time. If you like a nice cup of tea, why not make sure that every day, you sit down by yourself and enjoy a cup of tea? Not while you’re doing something else, none of this multi-tasking nonsense. Just take 10 minutes to do something that you like doing. From there, you can slowly build upwards. Add in two things, and then three. Eventually you can drag yourself out of misery, and build your own happiness.
Have you ever been stuck in a series of down days? Do you have any tips and tricks of your own that you use to maintain your happiness?