'Most folks are as happy as they make their minds to be' Abraham Lincoln.
'Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.' Mahatma Gandi
Just like anger is an emotion, so too is happiness. Happiness is often said to be a state of mind we only have to choose in order to have. I describe myself as a happy-go-lucky person and I want to stay that way. I might not be happy all day of every day, but at least at some point within the day. The good days are when you are happy more times than not. There are things I consciously do to make myself stay that way. So, you may find that the things I do to be cheerful aren't what will work for you. If so, that's fine! The aim is to be the best, happiest version of yourself. Please note, I am not a professional and these are only what I do. It is so important to be happy, not just for your health. With increasing pressure on our appearance and behavior on social media, personal happiness has never been so important. So, for my top tips, read on!
During winter, when the wind is howling and the rain is beating your window, it is understandable that going for a walk may not be your idea of a cheery event. However, as we enter February, the weather is becoming milder, flowers are returning and it is the perfect time for walking. I have always been one to walk everywhere, partly because I don't have a driving license, and partly to stay healthy. It's less impact on the joints than other forms of exercise, it gets you out into the fresh air and best of all it's free. There are lots of parks near my family home and at university I take advantage of the beautiful shoreline that is seconds away from my front door. There are some absolutely beautiful things to see in nature, you just have to get out and find them. For me, the main reason walking makes me happier is because I have time to think about my troubles and get out into the real world. Sometimes all you need is the reminder that the world is a big place and those 'big' problems of yours may not be that serious after all.When I get in a miserable mood, I throw on my shoes, coat and I go. And you don't have to go alone, I often walk with friends. It's a good opportunity to catch up, it's healthy, doesn't have to take long and money is not an excuse.Trust me, happiness is always a short walk away!
Listen to upbeat music
I know we all have those moments where listening to Adele on repeat and wallowing in self pity feels like the best option, but it's not. It is completely cliche' but music really does affect my day to day life. My lovely boyfriend brought me some proper headphones for my birthday and I have been using them everyday. I wake up, shower, have breakfast and put music on whilst applying my makeup. I have a top ten list of songs I wake up to that get me happy and in a great mood for the day ahead. There are also those songs where you throw your headphones on, lie in bed and listen to relaxing songs. Any songs that get you pumped up and in a good mood for the day are the ones you want to be introducing into your day to day routine. For me, it's got to the point where I will go out of my way to walk further, just so I can listen to another song or two before a lecture. So, here are my go-to songs for a morning injection of happiness.
Happy songs are:
Bastille - Pompeii
The All-American Rejects - Gives you Hell
Florence & The Machine - Dog days are over
Rob Thomas - Little Wonders
Clean Bandit - Rather Be
Pharrell - Happy
Bob Marley - Don't Worry, Be Happy
Mystery Jets - Two Doors Down
Bury your head in books
I find reading books helps keep me grounded, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Reading stories about far off places and people with serious problems going on, makes you feel a whole lot better about your own situation. I will always remember my one English lesson at college where my teacher taught the class about Catharsis. This scary sounding word actually relates to the process of releasing, and as a result getting relief from strong or repressed emotions. So this applies to books because by following the sometimes difficult and problematic lives of characters, you actually end up purging those emotions of your own. No by all means, I don't go out and find the most heart wrenching books I can, I pick the stories that I find interesting and get 'relief' as such from them that way. There is a lovely armchair in my university room that I get cuddled up in with a cup of tea and a book. It's quite, peaceful and reading a good book in this way makes me so much happier as a result. By all means, this does not relate to everyone, I know my boyfriend has never finished reading a book in his life. But, if you are a person who enjoys a good book, making time for reading in your week will help to achieve a happier you!
Cuddle your pets
Okay before I even say anything, can we just take the time to appreciate how cute this picture is?! Thank you to the lovely person that created this image! I have a dog that would be happiest playing ball all day rather than having a cuddle. I would actually go as far to say he'd rather chew off his own arm than stay and cuddle me (he's a grumpy Jack Russel). That being said, my boyfriends dog would do nothing else but cuddle you all day. It is scientifically proven that stroking your pooch or kitty is enough to reduce stress and relax a person. If all it takes to cheer you up is spend a little time cuddling a pet, why would anyone not want to do it? The fact it makes their lives better is all the more reason to do it. It is these small steps, incorporated into our daily lives that create the happier, more fulfilled person.
So I need really no excuse to do this, but self indulging is one of the things that perks me up and makes me that little bit happier. Curling up and taking the time to paint my nails really makes such a difference to my outlook, so silly but true! I also get the added benefit of seeing the results of my pampering on a day to day basis, which again makes me happier. Painting your nails is a trivial, in-expensive hobby, but if it helps, it is something worth doing. If for you it's massaging your feet that you've been on all day or doing a face mask, then do it. It may seem a little selfish to make one of your priorities self indulgence, but hey, happiness is infectious so you painting your nails may end up a smile on someone else. I'm grasping, I know but go and do it, you'll always perk yourself up if you're feeling naff.
Smile Smile Smile
How trivial a pointer and how true. I remember once when I was little, there was an event I really didn't want to go to. I was sad about something and wasn't in the mood. My mom told me to put a smile on my face and that like magic, it would make me feel better. And it did. The science side of it is that smiling activates receptors located near your ears to release a 'happy' chemical. The more you smile, the more you add to your bloodstream (please do not quote me on this). So not only does it physically make a difference to you, it will also uplift other people. I can recall so many days where I've been in a rubbish mood and had a smiling face nattering away, and it's made me feel 100% better. Smiles are infectious. I once heard a (rather long quote) about two dogs. A woman observed two dogs entering a room. One came out growling and the other happy. Curious, the woman got up and looked in the room to see it full of mirrors. The angry dog saw nothing but angry faces looking back, the other dog, only happy ones. You mirror what you project to the world, so make it a smile. I am a big believer in Karma so do things for other people. Sometimes, I can be so wrapped up in my own little world with problems that really aren't important! Helping other people makes you feel better, be better and make the world a better place. Be good to people and people will be good to you.
To conclude a very long, but hopefully very useful post, be happy happy happy. If at some point in your day, you're unhappy, look at what you can do to change your outlook. And for those days when nothing and no one is going to cheer you up, look to helping other people. I have found that I overlook all the good things in my life because someone irrelevant has said something horrible, or I got grade below a first or I can't spend hundreds on clothes. At the end of the day, if it's people upsetting you, there is a saying from good old Dr. Zeus to help us out. The people who mind don't matter and the people who matter wont mind! Don't ever feel quilty for removing toxic people from your lives, be good to people and keep your chin up. If you're having an issue, you can leave it in the comments and we can talk it through or email. I'm always happy to help!
Stay happy readers!