Happiness is a state I’ve always strived to achieve. Almost like a medal. Something I would have forever and never have to give back! How wrong was I?!
In 2009, after I turned 21, I decided I was going to change my life for the better. I decided that constantly feeling anxious and down was no longer good enough. I was going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and find the life I had been searching for!
The first thing I realised was that I would never attain happiness the way I had imagined. I had to get rid of my “if/when” mindset and came to see that I had to find joy in the everyday things.
Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Get up early!
This is just a recent endeavour of mine but it has made such a huge difference! Getting up early in the morning and doing a few different bits and pieces allows me to set my mindset for the day ahead, whilst also allowing me to have a peaceful and relaxing morning! I always feel very proud of myself too because I know that I’m up before most other people and have already accomplished so much before they’re even out of bed!
2. Have a morning routine.
Every morning for the last 40 days, thanks to Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning, I have been getting up early and engaging in the following practices: Meditation, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Journaling. Every night as I lie down I look forward to getting up and doing my SAVERS each morning! I feel both energised and calm, knowing I’ve started my day well!
3. Go to bed early!
Getting up early inevitability equates to going to bed early! I get up each morning at 5am (except the weekends which is usually around 7.30 or 8.) Going to bed early ensures I get enough rest and am prepared for the day ahead. I usually aim for about 7 hours sleep.
4. Have a Nighttime routine
Routines just seem to work well for me! Every night I take care of my skin: I cleanse, tone, moisturise, and apply a serum! I then tackle my teeth; brushing, flossing, using teepee sticks, mouthwash etc. Then I like to go and make myself a cup of chamomile tea, hop into bed and read my book for a half an hour. I follow this with a nighttime meditation and go to sleep!
5. Read every day
Reading is my passion. I love to read! By setting aside time to read everyday I am able to enjoy my favourite pastime and escape the real world for a while.
In the mornings I choose to read Self Improvement books and I love how I get to expand my knowledge and better myself in as much as I can!
6. Get fresh air!
I love to get fresh air. At night we are stuck inside, as well as all day and we generally don’t get any fresh air. We’re stuck inside at work, and for the majority of us, our commutes are the same; stuck in cars, tubes, trains or buses. However, when you consciously decide to step outside, be it to read or walk or sit, you will find that you feel instantly better, calmer and more relaxed. Win/win!
7. Set little goals
A little goes a long way. Setting small, measurable, and achievable goals can work wonders! I’m going to use myself as an example here and look at weight loss. Instead of thinking “I want to lost another stone and a half” (which, I might add seems impossible when you’re longing for that weight to be gone!) I will say to myself “My goal is to lose 2lbs this week.”
Setting goals that feel more manageable lead to a more positive mindset. They allow us to see results and monitor progress as well as the final result. If you are someone who beats themselves up over all the little things then I highly recommend this tactic! Lots of little goals such as lose 2lbs this week, go for a walk today, ring Karen… these little goals give us a great sense of achievement! If crossing things off a to-do list gives you satisfaction then I highly recommend this goal setting strategy!
When I was studying for my Undergrad, I took Psychology as a minor subject. One of my modules was Positive Psychology. That one module set me on the right path. I learned more in that one module than in any other class. It was not so much educational learning (if that makes sense) but life-learning. I learned all about being positive and how to learn the required skill set that would allow me to lead a more positive and fulfilling life.
My first ever experience with meditation was in this class. We meditated with raisins. Yup… raisins. I know it sounds crazy! It was a mindfulness meditation and at the time I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. However, as the term progressed I could see a noticeable difference in my mood after these classes. I approached the lecturer to discuss meditation and the effects it can have on a person and it was then that I realised that I was a highly anxious person, on constant high alert each moment of every day, always afraid of what lay ahead. In the times that we meditated, I was able to leave all of that aside and focus on the here and now. There was nothing to fear in the here and now. I was not a horrible person in the here and now because all I was doing was sitting and breathing. I could not be afraid in the here and now because, again, all I was doing was sitting and breathing.
After this module was completed I decided to take some action and went about seeking help for my anxiety. And I have never, ever looked back.
Here are some meditation podcasts, YouTube channels, and apps that might help if this is something that you would like to try out:
The Meditation Podcast – Podcast
Meditation Oasis – Podcast
Headspace – App
Buddhify – App
Jason Stephenson – YouTube
9. Use affirmations
This is something I feel I still haven’t mastered. I’ve tried writing affirmations and have felt like an absolute idiot. Telling yourself how wonderful you are can feel pretty strange at first! YouTube can be your friend here! Louise Hay has some great affirmation videos as do many others. I’m going to post a video below that is by Jason Stephenson who I mentioned above. I like to listen to this in the car on the way to work to try to set myself up to have a fantastic day.
10. Plan Happy Things
I truly believe that you should always have something to look forward to. I’m not talking anything extravagant here. It could be a Prosecco Picnic with your girlfriends or a dinner date with your SO; a walk in the countryside or a DIY Spa-night with your bestie. All it needs to be is something small, at the end of the month, that you have to look forward to!
11. ALWAYS make time for your friends.
I’m talking quick coffees, Whatsapp group chats, nights away, endless FaceTimes, midnight phone calls, work-day ranting, general banting, long car drives filled with deep conversations, and days and nights full of fun and laughter. Once you have your tribe you’ll never be running solo.
I am very glad to say that we are now in an era where women seem to be more empowering to one another than ever before and because of that I feel our connections run deeper than ever. Shout out to all my girls – ye know who ye are and I’d be so completely lost without ye!
12. Don’t Watch/Listen to the News!
The news… there’s no doubt we’re lucky where information is so freely and widely available but for me, I’ve found that the news makes me really down. Have you ever noticed that the news is always full of negativity?! Always!! There’s always something about war, corrupt politicians, natural disasters, etc. And I’ve just found that listening to this information makes me unhappy. I don’t like being reminded of all the negativity in the world. I need to be shown the good things, the happy things, the inspirational things! So now I just turn down the radio or change the channel! Cutting the news out of your life might sound drastic and might leave you wondering how you’ll find out about the world but lets face it, if it’s big news you’all hear about it anyway!!
13. Unfollow People on Facebook!
Personally I would delete my Facebook account in an instant if I could! But with so many friends of mine living in different countries it’s not practical to delete it! However, I’ve started unfollowing people who make me feel annoyed, sad, or uncomfortable. For instance, a woman I know kept posting images of animal cruelty. I am all for promoting animal rights but when I’m constantly seeing things such as dogs with their ears cut off it makes me really upset and brings me down for days, so I’ve just started to unfollow these people. It’s meant that I’m essentially censoring my news feed and it’s making me a much happier person!
14. Dance it Out
Meredith and Christina were onto something with this one. When you’re starting to notice your mood deflating, throw on one of your favourite songs, shut the door and dance your ass off. Grab a hairbrush if you want to and sing your heart out! Moving your body releases happy hormones and you’ll soon be feeling better in no time! Have a Happy Playlist ready on Spotify for this one!
Let me know what you think of My Guide To Feeling Good in the comments below! I love to get feedback!