3 Steps to Finding Your Happiness and Keeping It


I am an anxious person. And I've been diagnosed with Clinical Depression.

It's not something I like to share a lot because there is still such a stigma around mental illness. Mental health isn't something that's well-understood. You can't physically see it, so it's sometimes hard to recognize. And we are so flippant about calling each other crazy and judging each other instead of supporting and accepting one another.

I've struggled and put a lot of emotional energy into this post because 1) it's very personal 2) it's very important. It's hard to figure out the correct way to approach this topic. Whether you're stressed, depressed, busy, lost, or down, your happiness should be a priority. Here are three things that have helped me, and I hope they help you, too:

Recognize when you need help

There is no shame in getting help. What's shameful is knowing there is something you can do to help yourself and not doing it. What's shameful is other people who make you feel bad, or embarrassed for wanting to feel good.

It is not normal to feel down, or tired all the time. It is not normal to have your emotions running so high that you burst into tears, or feel angry at a moment's notice. Forgetting things, losing sleep, sleeping too much, reduced appetite, increased appetite, decreased desire to participate in activities you normally do...that's no way to live.

Some people can find their happiness through yoga, coloring, running, massage, talking to friends. And by all means, you should find happiness by doing all of those things. But if it's not quite doing the trick, recognize it and talk to a doctor. It doesn't mean you're crazy. And you can start by just talking to your primary care physician. Your doctor can tell you if you have a physical condition, such as a thyroid problem or a chemical imbalance that is affecting your mood. Maybe it's just a lack of sleep (I went 29 years with undiagnosed sleep apnea and after getting my tonsils out, it changed my life). Maybe it's that you're working too much, maybe you just need someone to talk to. Whatever it is, your doctor is a trained professional whose job it is to CONFIDENTIALLY help you out. If you don't feel like sharing with your friends, don't! Going to the doctor is what healthy people do in order to stay healthy. Whether it's your blood pressure, a sprained ankle, or your mental state, addressing it with a doctor is key.

Cut the negativity

All of it! This is the hardest, and best thing you can do for yourself. Your friends stress you out? Get new ones! Your apartment stresses you out? Move! Hey, I said it wasn't going to be easy.

There are some stressors we are always going to have. For example, work. Even if you love what you do, your job is going to give you anxiety every once in a while. You're probably not going to be able to quit your job, but there may be some things at work you can change to make it less stressful. Try getting out of the office at lunch, going for a walk during your breaks, adjusting your shift to avoid rush hour.

Friends and family are a big one. Some people just bring you down. Set hard boundaries. Make stressful topics (like gossip) off-limits. Some of these people are going to make you feel guilty, call you over and over, or even get mad at you. Stick to your boundaries. You might lose some friends. Scratch that, you will lose some friends. But friends shouldn't be dragging you down.

Stop watching those sad movies and listening to those sad songs! You may think they're making you
feel better, or like you can relate, but you've got to get rid of them. You don't have room for that sadness anymore. Get rid of the sad stuff to make room for your soon-to-be-discovered happiness.

Maintain, maintain, maintain

Finding your happiness means maintaining it, and you will be doing this for the rest of your life. In time, you will get better at recognizing the people and situations that you should stay away from, but not without temptation. Or guilt.

Now here come the cliches: All the work that you put into feeling good will be worth it. Being happy is everything it's cracked up to be. You deserve it. Once you've found a routine that works, stick to it. Make time for the things that make you happy. Blah, blah, blah. You've heard them all and I am going to keep preaching them to you because they are all true. But the most important of all the cliches is...

THE ONLY PERSON LOOKING OUT FOR YOU IS YOU. Let me say that again: The only person looking out for you is you. It's not your mother, your spouse, your best friend. Yes, they love you. But you know yourself. You know what you need. You are more than capable of being your own advocate and you are strong enough to do it. Your happiness does not depend on other people to make it happen.

You deserve to be happy and it might not be an easy road to get there, so I am here to tell you to keep working. You'll get there. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Find your happiness and don't let go.

4 comments:

  1. The blessing about blogging is knowing there are other bloggers out there who experience this too. Coming across bloggers blogging about mental health can make a person not feel alone with this. Thank you for sharing! ��

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. You're totally right, blogging has been one of the best things I could have done for myself. It's scary putting yourself out there, but the blogging community is really great.

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  2. Thank you for sharing about mental health. Enjoyed the read

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