Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Boosting happiness in eight ways

The global pandemic related struggles of the past two years as well as the racial, social, economic, and political clashes of America that have been brewing since our inception coming to a head in that same time period have made it harder for many people to maintain a baseline happy life. If you’ve found that your natural happiness has taken a hit, you are surely not alone.

We can all do our part to contribute to public health as well as fighting for racial, social, and economic justice, but we do not control any outcomes there that extend beyond ourselves and whatever power and privilege we can lean on to make change happen. 

To get a happiness boost, there are some things we can control though:

Remove financial stress to the best of your ability
It’s very difficult to focus on the positives when the weight of financial problems is on your shoulders, so you can do some winter work inside on seeing if you can do anything different financially. Financial management apps that track your income and spending are helpful in this process. 

Most of us living above the poverty line have some financial waste in our lives. Some things are so easy to trim. Starting with home entertainment packages - what streaming subscriptions do you have versus what you actually use? MFD is constantly subscribing to shit we don't need and I am always unsubscribing. $5 here and there can add up.

Invest in your wellness
Go for a walk, talk about your feelings with someone you can be totally honest with, find a therapist, join a club, read a book, sing loudly and activate your vagus nerve, ground your bare feet to the earth, get fresh air, wear comfortable shoes, stretch, eat good food, sleep, rest, hydrate, say no to things you don't want to do or don't have the bandwidth for without explaining yourself. Adding good habits is an amazing happiness booster. 

Removing the negatives is equally as important when thinking about your happiness. The fallout of persistent bad habits will continue to stand in the way of true happiness. Quitting cigarettes is a popular choice. When that finally stuck for me it was from reading a freaking book our friend Lyndsey mentioned as being the way she quit - if I had known it was that easy I would have done it in the late 90s.

Be with the right people
Human interactions hold the key to our happiness. Giving the most toxic interactions the most time and energy leads to toxicity internally and life is too short for that. Unfollow, let the interactions drift, make a clean cut, whatever works. 

I don't care who they are to you or how long you've known them - toxic friendships and relationships in general do not serve you. Remove these people from your circle and you'll have more room for people who fill you up. 

Likewise, we are not contorting to fit other people. It is not our job or be likeable or palatable to people. It is our job to be ourselves. Your people will love you for you. Anyone who doesn’t is not your people. It is so freeing to be fully yourself. Try it if you are not quite there. 

Do something bigger than you
Volunteer. Donate money. Advocate for equality. Work to abolish oppressive systems. Clean up the park on the corner. We are hyper focused on ourselves, which is good until it isn't. Step away from yourself to gain perspective. 

Paint your nails
Or whatever your nails are in your life.  I am not well with chipped nails. Painting them makes me feel immediately more put together. Changing your look is superficial but packs an immediate flush of happy for most of us. New hairstyle, fresh nails, a little bit of lipstick or mascara, wearing a favorite outfit you love. Simple, easy mood boosters. You can of course go further. MFD got his million dollar teeth as we call them years ago. Many of my adult friends have gotten braces. The average braces cost will give you another reason to smile for years to come.

Social media is not your life, your life is what happens outside of it
Don't let the social media lead to an inferiority complex. You're not perfect, nor is your life, and no one else's is either. Worry about what you're doing. Make sure you're living your life outside of facebook, instagram, twitter, tiktok, etc. How much time are you spending on them? Use them as intended, not as your main life. 

Realize constant happiness is not going to happen
The cult of positivity might have you thinking you should be happy all the time but not only is it not probable, it's not possible. We're human. We have a range of emotions. Your life doesn't suck if you aren't always showing a happy face. 

Take care of your loved ones
Spending time with the best people is one thing, but knowing that they are happy and healthy brings a new level of joy. Taking care of your family is the natural starting point. It could mean working with home care agency experts to assist your elderly parents. Or it may focus on acquiring extra support for your child’s development.  

Knowing that you’ve done everything to support the most important people in your life is key. Aside from boosting their quality of life, it allows you to live without mental distractions. In turn, you’ll be in a better position to take care of yourself too. Whether you need outside help or not, providing for your family is one of the most rewarding things you’ll do.

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