It might sound strange, but I don’t think happiness happens by accident. I think it’s a practice like any other skill, and that it’s one I try to work on everyday. Every now and then I like to share some of the small things that are making my life better at the moment, so if you want to try some new ways to make you life a little more lovely, these are some things that might do the trick…
It’s all kinds of lovely to get praise from the people around you- but you don’t have to wait around! Sometimes I don’t realize that my internal monolog has been dragging me down until I check it with a few moments of encouragement. It’s a tiny way to start working on changing your world view to be a little kinder, because if you struggle with trusting and valuing yourself it’s really hard to extend those things to others. Even if it feels silly at first, imagine what would your world look like if every time you poured yourself coffee or brushed your teeth, you reminded yourself of some of the natural gifts you posses just by waking up and being yourself?
When I’m stressed out, caring for myself becomes a top item on my priority list because it’s one way that I can really make sure I’m caring for myself. Taking a bubble bath before work is such a luxurious and frivolous thing that it’s one of my favourites, hands down. No matter what’s going on in my day, if I had a giant bubble bath to start it off, life really can’t be that bad!
Sometimes the daily grind can wear through your imagination, which makes it harder to be a creative problem solver and to pinpoint the fun that can be had in an every day situation. A fun way to bring yourself back to a creative place is to create backstories for everyone you cross paths with. Maybe your bus driver is cranky because she was out late with her drag king friends the night before and lost the papers to her 1964 Plymouth after a tense game of mini golf. Maybe your new manager is raising her lover’s baby after he was killed in a tragic storm chasing accident, making her huge cyclone back tattoo now more bittersweet than ever. Who are you to say these things aren’t going on? It’s a fun game, I promise.
Confession: I watched the first season of Survivor and then decided to opt out of reality TV. For over a decade. Last summer fall I started watching the occasional episode of Millionaire Matchmaker, and eventually I started watching Sister Wives. Since then I’ve been a goner, and I have been so happily addicted! Having a great guilty pleasure is amazing, and it can be anything from leaving work to have lunch alone in a quiet place and listen to podcasts to having a day a week when you get into your PJs as soon as your day is over and watch a great 80’s movie. For me it’s watching any entertaining reality TV that’s aired since 1999, while I eat breakfast. As long as you revel in it? It totally counts.
We all have our specific insecurities, but sometimes they’re things that we’ve held onto for so long that they don’t really make sense anymore. Try choosing one of the things that really scares you – a “people will think I’m weird if I _________” kind of thing, and then be the weird kid for an afternoon. Wear that dress you never make it out the door in, strike up a conversation with a stranger, do your grocery shopping without make up, ask a cute boy for his number… whatever it is that you shy away from? Try owning that part of your inner weird kid in an out loud, public way for an afternoon. The world might turn out to be kind, you might turn out to be strong, or it could just be an afternoon of quiet bravery. Either way I bet it will be a great story.
It’s easy to complement someone on what they’re wearing, but it takes a lot more guts to tell someone you admire how they approach life with a sense of humor, or that their selflessness makes you think about ways you could try to be more like them. It’s easy to fall into the habit of addressing surface level things- and don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for that – but it’s refreshing and surprising when you tell someone what you appreciate in their character. I love looking for opportunities where I can stop being polite in favour of telling people what they mean to me. Try it out, it might be your new addiction too.