For many of us, happiness can be hard to find. Once we’ve found it, it can be even harder to keep. There are a number of reasons for this, some biological, some societal. Many of us no longer have to struggle just to survive, but our minds are still built to keep us in that pit of despair all the same. That’s why it doesn’t always feel like everything’s going your way, whether it is or not. Here are a few things you can do to keep the negative feelings at bay.
- Talk to Yourself. We don’t mean that you should have literal conversations with yourself (but hey, don’t feel bad if you do–totally normal). We mean that sometimes it’s necessary to remind yourself that it’s okay to sit and relax. We don’t need to be productive all day long, nor should we be. Heck, we don’t even need to be productive every day. Take as long as you need to in order to unwind. You know what’s best for you
- Keep friends. Remind yourself of the important people in your life. Who haven’t you seen in a while? Who would you like to spend more time with? Make a list of people who you care about. When you’re feeling down, take a look at that list. Give someone a call, text, message, or try to get out to see them. Sometimes all you need is that list for a small boost. Knowing that you care about someone and that someone cares about you, can reduce anxiety and distress.
- Stay Alive. Get outdoors as often as you can to remind yourself when and how you’re happiest. For most of us, that means engaging socially, even if that doesn’t seem like you. Studies indicate that those who live the longest, happiest lives have the closest social connections and family structures.
- Make A New Plan. Not every goal needs to be achieved, but it’s important to have them all the same. It’s important to acknowledge that these goals change over time. Even more than that it’s important to realize that looking too far ahead can cut motivation in half. Make a list of things you need to get done today, tomorrow, the next day, and focus on those small goals. Keep lists of long-term goals, and keep those goals in mind, but don’t be too upset if you can’t meet them. Learn to make long-term failure a part of your short-term happiness.
- Train Yourself. It’s easier said than done, but if you’re angry or depressed then you can train yourself to think about something else. Go back to the first item on the list, and call someone you love. Listen to a song you love. Watch a movie you love. Don’t repress the feelings, but don’t let them rage out of control either. Emotions can be both controlled and experienced if you learn how.