How to be Happy

It’s Mental Health Week this week, so I thought it might be timely to turn my thoughts to this topic.  I watched a television program earlier this week about this subject and in it, the question was posed that why, in Australia, where we have (relative) safety, freedom etc. are there such high rates of depression and suicide?  The panel gave their various opinions on this, ranging from increasing day to day pressures, faster paced lives, increasing social media yet declining community involvement, to financial issues and high unemployment rates, especially regionally.  Of course, there is no one answer – or reason – for this, because everyone, and everyone’s situation, is unique.

My theory – In some ways, I think it’s because we have it too easy, and have little else to complain about (see an earlier post of mine – The Stench of Affluence).  In this case, I am referring to people who regularly feel ‘depressed’ without being able to put a reason to why they feel this way.  Brain chemical imbalances aside, I think there is a large proportion of society who choose to think ‘sad’, because it’s sometimes easier.

My tips on how to feel happy:

*          Look for the good – in people and in situations – this can be difficult!  Try it though, almost everything has some positive to come from it.

*          Thinking ‘happy’ eventually becomes a habit.

*          One of my favourites – I remind myself regularly ‘This too shall pass’.  I love this saying because it works for everything, it helps one cherish the good moments and not take things for granted, and helps to weather the bad times knowing that they won’t last forever.

*          ‘What can I control?’  This is one my beautiful husband reminds me of when I wig out a bit, and things get overwhelming.  It’s a good way of not stressing about things beyond one’s control (e.g. other people and their opinions/behaviour, hierarchical decisions, etc.) and is a reminder that one’s own behaviour is always within one’s own control – both how one thinks about the situation and the subsequent reaction.

*          Do what you enjoy (without harming others).  Whatever you enjoy, be that reading, gardening, chatting to a friend, walking, sport – if it’s not hurting someone else and you gain pleasure from it, indulge!

*          Surround yourself with people who make you feel good.  Where possible, avoid the rest (not always easy!)

*          Be grateful for good things in your life – find something – perhaps you’re very healthy, have good friends, great hair – count some blessings.  If all else fails, there is always someone worse off!

*          Take pleasure in small things.  Be still for a few moments (walk away from all electronic devices) and go outside and look at clouds, see the beauty in a flower, watch birds, it is very grounding.

These things help me when I feel a bit rubbish. I’m not qualified in this field, I just thought I’d share these in the hope that someone else might find something useful within.  If it all gets too much though, don’t be too proud to ask for help.

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