Hello all! Long time no write.
I'm still on a journey to finding happiness (or maybe creating my own version). I've made some significant improvements, but I've also had a lot of stumbles, too. Part of this being because I moved out of state and ran into a lot of issues along the way. I definitely did NOT mentally prepare myself to handle any of it, which was my mistake.
Lately I've been focusing on making a routine. I adopted a cute little puppy to help with this. Every hour almost on the dot, this puppy has to go out to go potty... or else the carpet becomes the potty place. This has really helped me build the foundation for creating a routine with all other things in my day.
I think my biggest problem has always been that I don't fill my day enough. I figured this out when I noticed that during my work day is when I'm the most happy and worry free, believe it or not (when I'm extremely busy, especially). My work day stresses me out, but this means I'm focusing on other things... things that actually matter and are worth worrying about because the worrying inspires productivity, and, the productivity in the end makes me feel happier and more fulfilled. However, my second problem, which doesn't help this, is that when I DO find something to take up my time, I find that my worrying ruins my mood and I get bored easily... thus, my day becomes empty again. So, for the past few days, I've been testing out what I think is the solution to both of these problems of mine. I've made a list of readily available activities I can do when I start to worry or realize I have nothing to do including: jogging, taking the puppy for a walk, cooking/baking, playing video games, cleaning, writing, scrapbooking, decorating, etc. Even though these things aren't extremely exciting or out of the ordinary, I realized that I had to aim low to make sure they were things I could pick up and do at the drop of a hat. Things like scrapbooking and decorating are my favorites. Activities like this show results, and they remind me of why I should feel good about myself.
Here's a note to jot down, from experience... when you spend your day worrying about nothing, by the time a task or problem comes along that requires (or at the very least just comes along with) worry, the task/problem will seem utterly impossible to handle. The worry will spiral out of control, and you will react accordingly. Spend your day taking part in activities that make you happy or are in some way productive. That way, when bigger situations come along, you can handle them with ease because you're mind has been relaxed (and thus, prepared), and you won't humiliate yourself by acting like a baby.
Another thing I've known for a while, but never really put into place until now, is the idea of faking it until you make it. This meaning, of course, to fake happiness until it becomes a reality.... or in other words, almost forcing yourself to be happy. We must all remember that sadness isn't an emotion that we need to dwell upon... or even experience much at all. Happiness can be found in most situations, and we should do our best to find it. Take a break-up, for example. Look at it as a chance to grow and learn to be happy with yourself. Or, look at it as an opportunity to step back and re-evalutate your relationship and what it is you're looking to get out of it. If all else fails, including the relationship, maybe even look at it as a time to find someone new... whether that's yourself or someone else.
Surely we must all find it to be common sense that sadness is brought on by thinking of things that make us sad, correct? So, in that way, we almost make ourselves feel that way, am I right? Then it should be easy for us to turn that around and realize if it is so easy to make ourselves sad with a thought, we can also make ourselves happy in the same way.
I've said it before (and thought it a million times), and I'll say it again. Being unhappy is a habit, and being happy is as well. And what is it that smoker's try to remember when quitting? The same idea that is taught for anyone trying to erase an old, bad habit. In fact, I just had this brought up again in an Executive Assistant training session I took part in recently. You cannot ERASE an old habit, you must REPLACE it with a new one. The brain needs to follow a new pathway to forget the old, unwanted pathway. So, when the feeling of boredom, worry, negativity, etc. comes about, create a new pathway. Instead of worrying, go for a walk. Start a new craft or project. By all means, get a punching bag and blow off some steam! Replace the old habit, because that's all it is. After doing this for a while, your brain will remember the process, and it will become second nature.
If you are like me, you'll need to push yourself to stick to the new habit. I was sitting down last night playing a video game, and every time a worry came up I wanted to stop and focus on the worry... but I didn't let myself. When I was out for a run, every time my mind brought up a negative thought, I pushed myself harder. When we were kids, we never said "I'm going to stop playing and go inside so I can worry about the grade I'm going to get on my homework tomorrow". We did what we wanted... what made us happy (until our parents told us to come in for the night, of course). Why should we be any different now? If I have the time to be sitting around playing Kirby's Avalanche for a couple hours at night, I should be happy about that and completely involved until the next responsibility arises -- because it's FUN!
So, on to that point, my next objective is to allow myself to have fun. I notice a lot of the time that I don't laugh as loudly as I used to. I've never been one to get really involved in any activity... so I'm going to now! I'm creating a list of things I want to try and places I want to visit. One of the things I've discovered is geocaching (http://www.geocaching.com/). This is an activity that I can do on my own time, it'll get me out and about a little more, and there's a way to network with MANY people who are all over the world doing the same thing. I also want to get involved in volunteer work (double duty... makes you happy, and makes others happy, which makes you happier!) and join a couple aerobics classes. I've been interested in many things, I've known they are fun to do, but I've never pushed myself enough to get involved. Now I'm going to. I've always wanted to get happier and know myself better, but how am I going to know who I am if I don't explore what I like doing and what I'm capable of?
Cheers to staying strong... and busy. Remember, no matter how bad you are feeling, everything must come to an end; even the negative things.