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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Being Happy Without Explanation

The other day I was inexplicably happy and someone asked me why. It’s not the answer I struggled with but the slight surprise, as if being happy was something of shock. Americans are known for their happy nature and I know us Brits can turn our noses up at that a little, but personally I think we should take note from our friends across the pond. Because, what the hell is so wrong with being happy?!

I’ve not always been this way. Over five years ago I was the complete opposite - I hid away from the world and suffered from mild depression. I call it mild because in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as some people have it, but at the time, it felt pretty bad. It was a dark time of my life and I didn’t think I’d get out of it, but I did, and it’s because of that darkness that I saw the light. They always say it takes bad times to appreciate the good and for me, it couldn’t be more true. I can’t exactly pinpoint how my life turned around - part of it, as I’ve mentioned before in previous posts - is down to the people in my life, but I think I also have to give credit to myself a little. Whilst it’s great to find happiness in and from the people around you, I think it’s even more important to find happiness within, as said people can't devote 100% to you and ensuring you’re hunky dory. And it’s important to know you’re okay alone without needing dozens of loved ones surrounding you at all times.

Another part that helped me switch my mindset was changing my view on the world. During my depression, I wallowed, I asked “why me” on most situations and thought the worst of everything. But why not me? Why always think the worst? What good is there in that? Where will that get you? Even more sad. Appreciation is key and realising just how fortunate you are. My friends always joke that I’m a walking quote book, and it’s pretty much true as I think a few wise words can help remind you that the world ain’t so bad.

Take for instance:

“Every day may not be good but there’s something good in every day”

Sometimes happiness may not be obvious. It may not be staring you in the face. Sometimes you have to search a little harder for it, but it’s always there - a needle in a haystack if you will. But it’s always worth the search. At my work, we do something called ‘Positive Vibes’ on a Friday before we leave for the weekend. We all write down three things we’re either grateful for or that have made us happy and then read them aloud to each other. To some, it may sound stupid. It’s a simple concept, but it works. Hearing other’s appreciation is just as fulfilling too.

Happiness can be as simple as that. It can be just jotting down reasons you’re happy or if you’re having a down day - reasons why you should be happy. My friend recently was feeling blue about life so, because she struggled to see why she should be happy, I wrote down reasons for her. I’m not going to share the personal ones on here, but some of them were really stripped back - like - ‘you’re alive and healthy’, ‘you have great friends and family that love you’, ‘you have a job’ and ‘you have a roof over your head.’ Sure, they may not be groundbreaking but they’re true and not everyone is fortunate to even tick all of those boxes.

Seriously bring it back to basics - remember all of those things you love about life. Some of the best things in life are free. I, for instance, love watching the sun set - and never tire of it. When I first met one of my friends a few years ago, I thought she was a little crazy when she was telling me how much the world blows her mind, and that she sometimes just stands there in awe of it. But do you know what - she was right. The world is an amazing place. Every day is a new opportunity to seize or a new day to put things right if you’re not happy with something. Go out there and feel the wind on your face, dance in the rain, stay up all night and watch the sun rise - just make the most of life and what is has to offer. So the next time you order a bottle of champagne out and the barman asks “What are you celebrating” - you can answer as I do - “life!"

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