May 25, 2016

A Very Important Request

In my rant post, I talked about difficulty of maintaining positive emotions and how I tend much more towards the neutral or the negative now than when I was a kid.  I also have fewer up and downs, which is a perk, but I spend probably more time than I should chasing that elusive feeling of joy and fun that I used to feel with minimal effort.

I'd like to leave that behind, and try to focus more on figuring what happiness means as an adult and what things make me happy now instead of continuing to jump into swimming pools and try to convince my brain that, "Hey, this is fun, remember!  No?  Well, I'm staying here until you think it's fun again so settle in..."

I also used to like the beach, art, and playing imagination games.  Alas, adulthood has ruined all these things for me.  As for what I like now, some things I know already - I like organizing, design, planning events, and books (though to be fair, I always liked those).  I know that a clean house makes me feel better than a messy one, and I need elaborate to do lists to keep my mind "uncluttered."  I know that new purchases make me happy at first, but then fade into the background and social events are mostly good, but only if I don't overload myself.

Outside of that, I'm really still learning about myself.  I've tried 30 day habit-changing plans and I know I have trouble sticking to anything for that long.  I've made gratitude lists and tried tons of little "happiness hacks" and I'm still trying to figure out which ones are actually effective and which are bogus.

Here's where I could really use your input.  I'm going to try to collect tips, tricks, and habits from people I know that they've found to be effective and then give them a try.  Some of you have helped me already - thanks a ton!  But anyone who wants to chime in, please do.  June is my "birthday month" and what better present to myself than to try to find new ways to be happy?

So tell me what you do to make your life better!  Is it planning your day or a daily ritual like exercise, meditation, reading?  Do you make your bed in the morning to increase your happiness, or maintain a minimalist lifestyle?  What contributes the most to your overall happiness that you can recommend to others?

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  1. I started to feel really happy when I stopped living the life I thought I should live and lived the life I dreamed of living. So many people look forward to retirement so they can "live their dreams" but why? Don't you want to enjoy that dream now?

    Also I feel like as I've gotten older I've just naturally become more happy and comfortable with myself as a person and it's easier to f*&k off/that to people and things that don't contribute to what makes me happy. Does it piss people off? Yes. Have I hurt some people's feelings? Yes I have, but what's important is my happiness and well-being.

    Finally, I love to plant pretty flowers and watch them grow. It makes me ridiculously happy, if 39 year-old me had told teenage me I'd enjoy gardening teenage me would have laughed and laughed.

  2. I've found that what makes me happy is to "Be Me". For example, I enjoy going out with friends but sometimes, what I really need is a weekend at home. So I've learned to listen to myself and not feel like a HAVE to do something because I think I SHOULD do it.

    1. That's a really good one. I remember talking to my roommate and I was trying to explain the pros and cons of a social event. I said something like, "I feel like I should but I don't want to" and he didn't understand that those two things weighed equally in my mind. He said, "That doesn't sound like much of a dilemma" because he thought it meant I'd already decided not to do it. He didn't realize I do stuff all the time that I don't want to do simply because I feel like I should and while that helps me to achieve goals and keep up with chores, it also leads to me spending a LOT of time doing things that don't contribute to my happiness.

  3. Dogs, get a dog. I realize you already have dogs but for anyone potentially reading this. Get a dog, you can't be unhappy around a dog (post potty training, of course.)
    I like to live in a very minimal house, because while I CAN clean, I don't enjoy it. I like how nice it is when the cleaning is done but I don't like cleaning (on that note - hiring a cleaning service makes me very happy.) So the more minimal it is, the less I have to clean, so my overall happiness is higher. If only I could live in a tiny house with 2 changes of clothes and a pair of boots! And Hawkeye.

  4. well i just rambled on about this on your other post, but like you said - you are still learning about yourself. i do not do well on 30 day challenges or anything like that either, unless it's something i decide to do on my own and it benefits or makes me happy.. which unfortunately, i don't know until i start/am halfway through it.
    i used to try and do the thing where i forced myself to do something and told myself 'remember, this is fun! you used to like this! LIKE THIS NOW' and it made me miserable. i really don't know what changed or what advice i can share, except that i just really try and do what makes me happy. so many things that i do seem so insignificant to other people, or they can't understand why i do this or that, or why i don't do what they love. some things i do, it took me years to realise i enjoyed them and they made me happy, you know? i take a bath almost every night. i love it! it took me ages to realise it makes me happy and it seems ridiculous to say a bath makes me happy. i also like being a little messy. i like organisation and cleanliness, but then i like to mess it up. it's perfect to me when it's half organised, half messy. i like to read, and i like collecting books and stuff. i am not a minimalist. i really like stuff. but i like to love all of my stuff, and i hate to have stuff i don't love. i don't make my bed. i hate it haha. i go to the gym often, but i don't berate myself if i miss. i get to work much earlier than i need to because it lets me ease into the day. i never stay late and i never do anything in the evenings (working out or errands) because i like my evenings to myself.
    i know this comment is ridiculous, but honestly, all of those little things make my life and make me happy. i think for so long i was like well i need to have this or that and this amazing life, but there is nothing wrong with all of that on a smaller scale, you know? i know this is the most cliched thing ever, but honestly - be yourself, listen to yourself, and make time for yourself. i feel like everything else falls into place after that? maybe?

  5. I'm staring at the comment box wishing that I had something helpful to contribute. Unfortunately, I'm relating to your mindset and not necessarily finding myself in an overly "happy" place. Best of luck on your journey!

  6. Songs amiga listen to happy songs. ur cough cough Disney collection should work that's what I'm listening to now, but I also have my favorite song. and at the moment I have flo rider my house stuck in my head which this week is my happy song. Let loose n Bob the head not just bop metal dance moves man let it flow.

    1. Gracias mi amor! We'll have to hang out and listen to my 90s pop songs which no one else appreciates. "I got the right temperature to shelter you from the storm!"

  7. Songs amiga listen to happy songs. ur cough cough Disney collection should work that's what I'm listening to now, but I also have my favorite song. and at the moment I have flo rider my house stuck in my head which this week is my happy song. Let loose n Bob the head not just bop metal dance moves man let it flow.

  8. So what is your experience with meditation? My best suggestion based on my own experience is to make it a habit so that meditation itself will not only clear out some of the "gunk" but also point you toward other things that just make you naturally happy. Things you don't have to work at. I would highly recommend beginning a meditation practice and for you specifically, a chakra balance meditation. (I can point you toward a specific one.) I've never used meditation apps so I can't vouch for them, but I also think they can add pressure in a weird way. I'd be happy to give you my 101.
    Also, get a Himalayan pink salt lamp!
    Also also, for me, my apartment being in disarray is sign #1 that my life is not on the track I want it to be. I like it tidy all the time, and make my bed every morning. Not having little things like that, dishes in the sink, unopened mail, etc. make it a lot easier to feel like there's less to keep up with, and let me relax just a little bit more. It all helps.

  9. I agree on meditation. It's not a perfect thing, it's PRACTICE. Simply sitting in silence casually observing your thoughts IS meditation. Some think it has to be this grand production and it doesn't. Taking a walk and just observing what crosses your mind is meditation. That grounds me and helps me feel centered (when I do it). When I don't, I feel it. I just feel... off. Melancholy for no real reason.

    Being in the sun or near water is probably one of my biggest happiness factors. Instant grounding. Instant peace. Instant calm and serenity. It just brings out the best in me.

    Journaling helps too. As well as happy music and party-of-one dance parties. Playing with my cats or my niece. Kids aren't my favorite but watching young children play (without looking creepy) brings me joy because they're so pure and innocent.

  10. I read this when you first posted it and intended to come back and write about what makes me happy and in the cliche excuse, life got nuts. I'm glad I didn't answer as I feel my answer would have changed. I had been holding onto some anger and guilt with a family member for a few years and I was able to speak my peace recently and that has changed what makes me happy aMD how to escape the stresses of life. I know that probably sounds odd, but with all of that heaviness of emotions on my back I had completely forgotten what made me happy. I kept trying new things and wasn't quite sure what it was I was interested in anymore.

    I feel like I can breathe again. Journaling and meditation have really been a big help. I feel whole and fresh after writing down my thoughts and periodically quieting my mind.

    Thanks for this post. It really made me think and rethink a few things.


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