I have spent my life struggling to find contentment and happiness. I know I’m not unique in this. No one is perfectly happy all the time. And the reverse is also true – I am not unhappy all of the time, or even a majority of the time. I certainly feel a lack of something, like something is missing, sometimes. But that is the ‘fun’ of depression, it tricks you into thinking you’ll always feel like shit.
I’m rambling and none of this is a revelation to anyone I’m sure.
But the idea of not looking for happiness in the same place I lost it is new to me. I keep doing the same things hoping something will change – isn’t that the saying about insanity? Anyway, that is not to say that everything in my life needs to change. But there are things we all can do to make us happier. Or at least attempt to be so.
- Stop hanging around with people who treat you badly. I’ve done this already, for the most part. It never hurts to remind yourself though.
- Stop hanging around negative people. Or people who make you negative. We’re not always shiny but constantly negative people do drag you down.
- Stop hanging around people you don’t actually like. I have a bad habit of doing this. I still do it now. I think it’s because I keep hoping something will click and I’ll actually like the person. Instead I’m just insincere and annoyed. How fun!
- Stop hanging around people who don’t like you back. Also true. You can’t make someone like or love you. You just can’t. And staying around them is tantamount to torture. This one is also, not coincidentally, the hardest one to actually DO.
- Go outside more. Yes, even when it’s cold. Dress warmly. Especially when the sun is shining. It helps the mood so, so much.
- ACTUALLY go to the gym. No, not every day. Just some days. Exercise and moving and other people are good.
- Talk to strangers. When it’s appropriate. No, this one may be the hardest. I need to learn to talk to people. Like, actually talk, converse, make verbal contact. I hate it. A lot. But it’s necessary.
- Read more! I love reading. Why don’t I do this more? Because I waste SO MUCH TIME on the internet. Must unplug more.
- Take yourself out on dates. Movies, dinner, long walks in Chapters. Just do it.
- Socialize. More. Ugh. Trying. Sort of successful. You can’t socialize more if no one invites you anywhere.
- Dress for success. Not all the time, but maybe I can look a little snappier even when I’m not at work. I KNOW. The idea blows me away too. But when you look good you feel good.
Do keep in mind that these are NOT resolutions. Not even the slightest bit because the minute I say I’m definitely going to do all the things, I set myself up to fail. But having a list of things that are the opposite of where I lost my happiness couldn’t hurt right? Sitting at home reading Metafilter and Reddit all day certainly isn’t going to improve things. New friends and loves are NOT going to come knocking on my door. I will not learn to be content with a life of singledom, of being alone, if I don’t learn to enjoy it.
On a similar note, stay tuned for my short story “The Procedure”.