Finding Everyday Happiness

by - July 15, 2018

Happy Monday friends!  I hope you had a lovely weekend.  If you don't mind I'd like to get a little personal today and talk about happiness.  This is a personal reflection, I am not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, just sharing my journey.  

I'll start by telling you that for the majority of my life I have struggled with depression.  Not the kind of depression that keeps you from daily activities because I have always been motivated to keep working.  But instead the kind of depression that makes you sad daily and wondering why do I keep waking up every morning?  My depression has never been debilitating which I am thankful for.  I no longer struggle with depression but I do get little depressed inklings every once and a while.  Thankfully, I have learned (with help) how to adjust my outlook and my lifestyle so that it does not turn into a full on state of depression.  

I've never had high self esteem to begin with, then when I was in junior high school there was a large group of popular kids who taunted me for looking like a monkey.  I was the only brown girl in an all white school and yes my face does have monkey-like characteristics.  Nowadays when I look at my monkey-like face I think that is the prettiest, cutest monkey ever!  But as a pre-teen it was rough.  Around the age 18, I developed a serious case of body dysmorphia and then got into an unhealthy relationship at the age of 21 which only amplified it.  These were the larger moments in my life that caused me depression which are common and similar to moments in most people lives.  I won't go into the single moments of depression, because really, who needs to hear about that.  But I would like to share with you how I manage to find everyday happiness and keep depression at bay.  This task was not an easy one and required a lot of help from my family, friends and a couple professionals.  My mother is a happy person by nature and I am so incredibly lucky to have her in my life as role model.  It took me about 20 years to learn how to maintain everyday happiness but I am thankful for my path and happy I have learned so much (read more below).

Let It Go
This is the hardest lesson of all to implement.  Letting things go can relate to so many aspects of life.  I like to start with the present and work towards the past.  Let it go, forgive yourself, move on, make amends, if need be.  If you live in a world where you can not let things go it will devour you.  It's hard to explain 'letting it go' because it is such a vague topic but I can give you an example.  When I was 12 years old and the other kids were making fun of my monkey face I could have (maybe should have?) focused my attention away from their taunts and towards an outlet that would make me feel stronger and more content.  Often people looks towards sports, arts, crafts, writing, music, or a job, anything to direct your attention away from what is seemingly unbearable.  When it comes to letting go of the past I try to focus on what I have learned from any given situation.  
Even if you can not find a positive about a situation of the past it's important to reflect and put it to bed.  Say to yourself "I am am done with that".  Let it go. 

Realize Your Worth
You are worth it, you are smart, you are beautiful... does this sound something like that mantra from the movie 'The Help'?  Well, it's true.  It's good to take inventory, maybe write it down... 'these are my good qualities' and focus on them.  They are what's important about you.  And one day, when you are strong enough, write down your bad qualities and try to address those.  But if you are struggling from depression today, it is important to focus on the good and turn those good qualities into even better ones.  These qualities don't define you but they can help build you as a person and realize your worth.

Stay Present and Be Grateful
Stay present and do not compare your life to your neighbors.  Trust me, what your neighbor has doesn't look as good as it truly is.  I use the term 'neighbor' as meaning the people in our lives that we compare ourselves to.  Whether it be someone you know or an Instagram feed full of photos of people traveling the Amalfi Coast.  They are not you.  Don't focus on them and what they have or what they are doing.  Instead, focus on the present, what is making you happy right now.  Just to give you the simplest example, I get happy if my feet are warm.  My feet are always cold, so warm feet is a win.  I guess I am to saying simplify things.  Warm feet, that's pretty simple.  Maybe that's too simple.  Ok, you may not be traveling to the Amalfi Coast this year but maybe you put it on your bucket list.  I recently read a study shows that planning a trip can make you as happy as actually taking a trip.  It's important to also be grateful for these moments.  Being grateful for every moment of life seems like yet another mantra, but it is true.  Life is fleeting.  One way I like to stay grateful is by gratitude journaling which I wrote about here.  It's obvious that I'm a simplistic person so I try to keep daily gratitude simple.  A lot of 'thank you's' and many 'I appreciate that' to those in my life, including co-workers.  These words simple words that express my gratefulness, really help improve my daily relationships and my daily outlook.

If you are struggling from depression and experience ideas of suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Thank you for stopping by!

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