Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Be Happy: A Guide

First off, I'd just like to inform everyone whose blogs I read and normally comment on like crazy, that for some reason Blogger hates me and whenever I try to comment on a blog post lately, the screen just turns white and I can't : (

After struggling with depression for years and years, I have finally reached a point where I can be happy most of the time without Prozac.  These things that I am about to share probably wouldn't help that much during actual bouts of depression, but when I get a little gloomy, they work wonders.  So I'm sharing them with all of you, so you can all be happy too : )  Of course, some of them are probably just things that make me happy, but I'll try to generalize.

1. Wear clothes that make you happy.  For me, this means bright colors and clothes that I feel like I look good in, as well as sometimes just clothing that has good-feeling soft fabric.  I especially enjoy wearing brightly colored shoes.  Since I live in a region where there's not always a lot of sunlight, wearing bright shoes is like carrying sunshine with me on my feet.   I have turquoise sneakers and red flats for this reason.  I had some green Converse as well, still have them but there's a huge hole in the side so I don't wear them too much.  Most importantly, know yourself: it's important to know if you'll feel better wearing clothes that make you look hot or if clothes that are super comfortable and maybe not the most attractive are what it takes to put a smile on your face.  For me, it changes a lot.  Most of the time, when I'm staying at home, I'll choose comfy clothing and when I'm going somewhere, I'll wear clothes that make me look good.  Also in this category, I usually feel happier after doing my makeup even if I'm not going anywhere.  When I look good, I usually feel good.

2.  Another thing that makes me feel great is exercise.  But don't exercise by doing something you hate.  Like for me, I love hacky sacking but hate running, so I would much rather hacky sack for an hour than run for five minutes.  Exercising actually makes you happier because it makes your brain release endorphins.  Endorphins are really cool because they relieve pain, enhance the immune system, reduce stress, and delay the aging process!

3.  What you eat can also help you be happier.  I try to eat pretty healthy the majority of the time, but sometimes I just crave some ice cream.  So I eat it.  And it makes me happy.  Because ice cream is awesome.  Which leads me to my next point, which is still something I'm working on.

4. Don't focus on your perceived failures.  All that will happen is you'll get unhappy and start to feel like a failure, which is never fun.  This is especially important around the beginning of the year when everyone is breaking their New Year's Resolutions.  Surprisingly enough, sometimes failures can be a good thing.  Maybe by "failing" at a goal, you'll realize that your goal was a little bit ridiculous.  For example, if your goal was to go to the gym every single day and workout for an hour, and you missed a day, instead of thinking you failed, maybe you'll realize your goal was too strict.  Especially if you're trying to completely change something about yourself, like in this example let's say you never work out, it's important to start small.  Maybe you should just go to the gym once or twice a week to start with.  Then , once you get more used to it, you can modify your goal and take it to the next level.  That way, instead of feeling like you failed and just giving up, you're constantly challenging yourself to do better.

5.  Know when you are feeling unhappy.  When you aren't in the best mood, try your hardest to constantly bombard yourself with things that make you happy.  Listen to your favorite music, watch a favorite movie or TV show, eat food that you love, wear clothing that you like, take a bubble bath or an extra long hot shower.  And if you are still feeling depressed after all of that, don't be afraid to seek professional help.  I didn't even realize I had depression until I had already been dealing with it for four years.  But when I did, I went to a therapist and they put me on depression medicine.  You need to know that being on depression medicine doesn't mean that you're crazy.  You have no idea how many people around you are on depression medicine.  It's important for some people to take it so they can feel happy again.  And someday, you'll probably realize that you don't need it anymore.  For me, I wasn't okay without it for three years.  But now I am.

6.  Try your hardest to be optimistic about everything.  It is best if you are so optimistic that if you shared every single optimistic thought you have out loud, people will be annoyed by your cheerfulness.  For example, when I couldn't walk last year, my main optimistic thought was that my arms were going to get so strong from being in a wheelchair that I would be really good at arm wrestling.  If you really can't think of any reason to be optimistic in your situation, then think 'at least it isn't raining', unless it is and then your best bet is probably 'at least I have my health, friends, a place to live, enough food to eat'.  Any or all of those that are true for you are good to be grateful for.  And whatever you do, never say, "At least it isn't raining" out loud, because if you've learned anything from movies, saying that out loud will inevitably make it rain.

And if you are struggling with depression, find someone who has been through it that can support you or just listen.  Like me, perhaps.  It doesn't have to be me, but don't try to deal with it alone.


  1. I don't know what's up with Blogger these days. I had to check to be sure I'm still a follower of your blog because it never shows in my dashboard/feed thing. I probably screwed something up messing with html. Anyway, awesome advice. You're so smart. There are people twice your age who haven't been able to figure out things about life that you have.

  2. That sucks that Blogger's been acting up for you. I haven't had any problems with it, but maybes it's a leftover from yesterday's stop SOPA?

    I like your list, and you're absolutely right about not concentrating on failures. We all learn from failing, and beating yourself up about it is counterproductive. I should take your advice!

  3. @Jerk Parking Blogger has been doing that to me on at least three blogs I follow since last year. Thanks for saying I'm smart :) That made me smile.

    @Tsaritsa I don't think it's from stop SOPA, because it's been doing it for a while. And I should take my own advice, haha.


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