As you might have gathered from the lasts couple of posts, the last weeks have been difficult at times. Which naturally was tiresome, but did provide an excellent opportunity to (actively) look for moments of happiness. As the fact that I’m having a bad day (or week) doesn’t have to define each and every moment of that day.
Instead of waiting for things to get better, you can create small moments of happiness. For me this helps. To be able to feel that, because of such moments, on an otherwise crappy day something good has happened.
Since I’m feeling much better now, I had plenty of inspiration to write down this post. Reading blogposts of others with tips is one of my favourite things to do. I always get inspired to try something new, make plans or to try and change old habits. Which is why I’m very happy to be able to write such a post myself.
Five tips for finding moments of happiness
- Allow yourself to feel bad
This isn’t number one, but still the first item of this list. As it begins with no longer fighting yourself. To be able to let go of your plans and duties or at least to make some choices. This step always takes me some time, as I just want to participate and don’t we all have bad days? However, when having a bad day means laying in bad for most of the day and having to recover the following day as well, it might be time to listen to your body. (I can give such good advice to myself afterwards :))
- Enjoy a guilty pleasure
To get away from your negative feelings, consciously do something that you enjoy. For me this is enjoying a delicious and unhealthy piece of cake, chocolate or ice-cream, or rewachting a nostalgic movie or series. Instead of worrying about all what you should be doing or things beyond your control, you do something that brings you joy. The challenge is to stay in the moment, to enjoy it and to put your worries aside.
- Name three thing that you’re grateful for
Every night I try to name three things that happened that day and for which I’m grateful. These can be really small. The feel of a freshly made bed, a stranger picking up something I’ve dropped, or getting freshly made coffee from my colleague upon entry. By doing this I find that I notice these positive moments more and it makes me more appreciative. Especially on those dark days it helps me to consciously try to find the things I’m grateful for. So I can end the day with a positive feeling. Even when all I can think of is being grateful for the rain as it lessens the noise outside, to possibility to go to bed three times that day and the ability to sleep during the day.
- Go outside in nature
This time of year is the perfect time to find moments of happiness in nature. I regularly walk past ponds and canals and every time I spot little ducklings, it makes my day. Seeing these small, fluffy animals discovering the world, always brings a smile to my face. No matter the season, being in nature always has beneficial health effects. So if you can go outside, go somewhere green, look around and find some peace.
- Ask how others see you
I’ll admit that I find this one challenging. In my case, it has helped during a time when I really doubted myself. I had gotten the assignment to ask three people, who know me well, to pick three positive characteristics out of a list, which they thought best describe me and to explain why. It’ll help you to discover how other people see you. We all tell ourselves stories about who we are and how others perceive us, but we don’t know if our stories are true. Hearing how others saw me, helped me to break through some of those negative stories I was telling myself.
- Lose yourself in music
When I feel that I need a distraction from my thoughts, I take out my mp3 player. I pick one of my favourite instrumental pieces, put it on repeat and loss myself in the music. It gives me something else to focus on, allowing myself to let go of my thoughts and regain a feeling of space and peace in my mind.I was reminded of this in a cave in Wales. I had decided to visit some caves there. Which was a fine idea, until I realized in the first cave that my brain injury hadn’t cured me of my claustrophobia (one can always hope, right 🙂). Despite my fears I wanted to visit a second cave as well. I was there after all. Fighting my fears I heard snippets of music and two steps further I recognized it. It was Pachelbel’s Canon in D, one of my all-time favourites to listen to when I need it. It felt like a surreal, almost magical, moment. To hear that song at that particular time. It enabled me to admire the rest of the cave smiling and was a perfect moment to feel grateful for.
I hope that this list can inspire or help you. If you have other tips on finding moments of happiness, share them in the comments below!