NOTE: I wrote this article last night but didn’t publish it yet bcuz I hadn’t drawn the illustation to go with it as the featured image (and I decided not to draw it yet because it was almost 4:00am and I was tired af).
And then I wake up to the news that far-right protesters have stormed the US capitol building in an attempt to overthrow our presidential election.
And I thought, “Maybe this isn’t the best time to be posting this on my blog right now.”
But then after letting the events of today soak in a little – along with feeling pretty stressed out and frustrated about the state of US politics – I realized I NEED to post this today more than ever.
Some readers might argue and mumble something about sticking your head in the sand. And they’re entitled to their opinions. It’s a free country.
But I didn’t write this article for them. I wrote it for you.
You…the person who NEEDS this today more than ever.
Never feel guilty about taking care of your own mental health.
Never apologize for self-care.
Don’t let anyone lay a guilt trip on you for taking a time-out from things that make you feel shitty. We all need that from time to time to balance out our mental health and keep our sanity in check.
The person who spends 20 or 30 minutes watching the news next week will be just as informed about this as the one who watched the news five hours a day all week long, hanging on every word, waiting for something new to happen. But one of them will continue living their life, while the other wastes many precious hours of their life glued to the tube.
Anyway, blah blah politics blah…here we go…
OK, short and quick, guys,
I’m about to share one of the easiest, simplest and fastest ways for you to increase your happiness. It pretty much works instantly and is basically guaranteed to make you feel happier. It won’t solve all your life problems – the BIG STUFF.
But it will literally make you feel happier and boost your mood.
So the more you do it, the more you’ll benefit.
But some of you won’t do it.
Because you’re not programmed to do it.
Some of you will reject this the instant you hear it.
You’ll dismiss it without any consideration at all – like a knee-jerk reaction – saying to yourself that something so simple and obvious couldn’t possibly work. Because if it worked, then everybody would be doing it, and then everybody would be happier.
When your mind has become conditioned over the years to habitually do things that make you feel anxious, depressed, fearful, angry – UNHAPPY – and even avoid activities that could actually make you feel better, then you’re probably not going to just override that conditioning overnight.
Well, maybe you’ll give it a try. Briefly. But in no time at all your mind will switch you right back into your old habitual thought patterns and behavior patterns that feed into feelings of unhappiness.
And that’s too bad.
Because this really does work.
It’s not a trick or a gimmick.
It’s just basic psychology.
Basic, simple, human behavior.
And here it is…
Do more of what makes you happy.
“Get that hippy New Age crap outta here!”
What did I tell ya?
But it is true.
Think about it.
Think about some of the things you do – or used to do – that make you feel happy.
Some activities make you feel good when you do them. Sometimes you even feel better just THINKING about doing them.
This also works with people.
Spending time with certain people makes you feel happier. You enjoy their presence. You enjoy doing things together, being together. You enjoy your conversations. You make each other laugh.
Some of these things can be complicated activities that take a lot of time, planning, resources and effort. But they’re definitely worth it.
Others are simple.
Simple and free and readily available right now.
But some of you still won’t do them.
Because you’re not programmed to do them right now.
(Little bit of a pattern developing here, isn’t there?)
So what happened?
Think about this for a minute.
When did you stop enjoying these things?
What makes you think that you won’t enjoy them now?
Well, I suppose you might have some snappy, instant response that sounds good enough.
Perhaps something like, “I’m too old for that.”
But have you tested that out?
Have you tested that out?
Do you know for a fact that if you did some of those things you used to love, that you would not enjoy doing them anymore?
Or have you simply become programmed over time to BELIEVE that you won’t enjoy them because now you’re too old?
(Or…too busy…too fat…too skinny…too broke…too…whatever it is that you tell yourself.)
What if that wasn’t true?
What if your conditioning…your programming…is bogus?
Have you tested it out?
You might be surprised.
“But…I’m Too Busy…”
This one might be true.
At least, mathematically…or…SCIENTIFICALLY…I suppose. Time is finite.
If you’re going to spend more time doing something that makes you feel happy, then you’ll first need to free up some time. That makes sense.
What should you let go of to make room for more happy stuff?
This one is easy.
You got it.
Do less of what makes you unhappy.
There’s that hippy crap again.
But it’s true, too. Isn’t it?
Think about it.
Now, maybe you’re almost kinda sorta starting to warm up to the idea – possibly – that maybe you might try doing one or two things different in your daily routine. Like, maybe you’ll try – for a minute or two – to do a little less of something that makes you feel upset and a little more of something that makes you feel happy.
Where do you start?
I think a good place to start would be to simply pay more attention to the things you’re already doing in your daily life right now.
Increase your self-awareness.
When you do something, notice how it makes you feel.
And trust your feeling on that.
Don’t overthink it.
Just notice how that thing makes you feel.
Same with people.
How do certain people make you feel?
You don’t have to judge them or anything. This isn’t personal. We’re not attacking anyone or labeling them “toxic”. We’re just noticing stuff. That’s all.
Does talking with someone on the phone leave you feeling a little more up or a little more down?
Whichever way that goes, make a mental note of it.
Changing Your Behavior Patters Takes Practice
Now, since you’re not programmed – conditioned – to think about how little things throughout your day make you feel, you’ll probably forget to pay attention sometimes. Especially at first.
It’s not a big deal.
Making changes like this takes practice.
Even just REMEMBERING to think about making changes takes practice.
But you’ll get better at it if you make up your mind that your happiness is worth it.
So pay attention to how certain people, places, things, activities make you feel.
- TV shows
- Body movements
(There’s tons of possibilities here.)
When you catch yourself doing things that leave you feeling unhappy or drained or angry, decide to stop. Right then and there. Just stop.
Then spend that time doing something that make you feel a little happier, more energized.
Again, as simple as this sounds, it remember that it does go against your old conditioning. So it’s going to be harder than you’d think. It might take some practice before you start changing those habit patterns.
But it’s worth it.
But Wait…There’s More…
Before, we wrap this one up, there is one little caveat.
While all this stuff above is true, there is this flip side that is CONTRADICTORY yet simultaneously…true too.
If you don’t want to feel happy, nothing and nobody can make you feel happy without your permission.
Positive, happy things can only make you feel happier if you allow them. Your own thoughts can only make you feel happier if you choose to allow them.
That’s the rub.
Some of you have become so conditioned over time that you are literally choosing unhappiness over happiness. It’s a pity party. That happens a lot, actually. It’s a classic case of depression. And over time, habitually, it becomes a biological state of being. Your ability to feel happiness literally become weakened.
But that is reversible.
Again, it will take time and practice. It won’t be an instant thing. Reconditioning takes time.
But it all starts with a decision.
You have to want to be happy.
If you can at least get to that point, then you can reverse that mental and biological conditioning and get back to a happy place again. You just have to keep at it.
So work on that today.
And when you forget about all this hippy crap and then remember again in a day or two – work on it some more.
Over time – or INSTANTLY – if you keep it up, you’ll start to notice a difference. In fact, someone else might even notice a change in your mood before you do. That wouldn’t be a surprise.
So test it out for yourself.
And if this helps make a difference for you, I’d love to hear about it.