3 Unique Ways to Create Your Own Happiness

3 Unique Ways to Create Your Own Happiness

Look, my life is pretty wonderful.

Not in a ‘yes, let’s brag about my incredible life of joy and adventure and constant beauty’ kind of way, but rather in a ‘let’s look at my life in comparison to much of the world’s population – the struggles, famine, war, catastrophic disasters, serious illness and death’ kind of way.

But the reality is that some days are still bad.

It could be lack of sleep, crappy diet, politics at work, an argument with your partner, no exercise, kids pushing your buttons, no parking spots, a whole heap of laundry, or just a bad, bad mood. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

And no, none of that is so terrible in light of the list written above. No-one is seriously ill, no-one is foreclosing on their house and no-one’s relationship is breaking down.

But when you’re living a shitty day, it can be really hard to find that perspective. It can be very difficult to see that, truly, it ain’t so bad.

Since I started simplifying life, I’ve had less bad days. There is less pressure, less stress and less clutter to contend with. There is more time for fun, more space for rest and more opportunity for spontaneity. But bad days? Yep, I still have ’em.

But I am getting better at managing them. And here are three ways I’ve learned to harness my negative mindset and turn it around.

And while these will not alleviate serious illness, fix marital problems or pay off debt, they do help me to put my problems in perspective. Which sometimes IS all it takes.

1. Music Soothes the Savage Beast

What song makes you really, overwhelmingly happy every time you listen to it?

It might be silly like Psy, or make you wanna dance like Travolta. It might make you cry with beauty or belt out a tune. Whatever it is, listen to it. Let it shift that crankiness. Even just a little bit.

I have an entire Spotify playlist called ‘Happy Tunes for THOSE Days‘. On it you’ll find Little Red, The Isley Brothers, Paul Simon, OK Go, The Middle East, Beastie Boys and Weezer. I haven’t met a bad mood yet that can withstand ‘Call Me Al’. 

You Can: Create your own playlist of happy music on iTunes, Spotify or your phone. Or, if you don’t use digital music, why not make an old-fashioned mix-tape or CD?

 

2. Do SOMETHING

We all have busy-ness. We have endless lists of things to do. And at any one moment you could spend your time on 10 different tasks.

Sometimes that feeling overwhelms us and makes us feel there is no point in starting. Why bother, when the work keeps piling up?

But instead of giving in to the malaise, force yourself to do something. Just one thing. Do that load of washing. Make that phone call. Start chopping vegetables for dinner. Do five push-ups. Write that email. Drink a glass of water. (No. Seriously. Drink a glass of water. You’re probably dehydrated.)

And once that thing is done, allow yourself to celebrate. You just had a win!

Bad Day = 0 You = 1

You Can: Think about the immediate tasks that need to happen. Focus on small tasks and choose one that will be easy to complete. Then go do it. Once you’re finished, let the momentum move you forward.

3. Tell Yourself that Today is Going to be a Good Day

Say it out loud. Say it while standing in front of the mirror. Say it in a ridiculous accent. I don’t know why, but it helps.

Perhaps the act of saying it out loud makes you realise the majority of the negativity is in your head. Perhaps it’s a little bit absurd. Perhaps it’s both.

You Can: Literally tell yourself that today will be a good day. Look into your own eyes, smile and say, “Today will be a good day,” even if you don’t believe it.

These three things have helped me turn numerous bad days around.  And, while life is not all sparkles and unicorns, creating a little positivity where there wasn’t any before is a hell of a lot better than crying into my coffee at 9am. If, however, these three tips fail you, it’s always helpful to go back and read the fifth paragraph of this post.

 

Tell me, what’s the song most likely to turn a bad mood around for you?

28 Responses to 3 Unique Ways to Create Your Own Happiness

  1. I always try and remember this ………

    SCULPTOR’S ATTITUDE
    Author Unknown

    I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have responsibilities to fulfill today. I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

    Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

    Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

    Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

    Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

    Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

    Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

    Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

    Today I can complain because I have to go to school or eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

    Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can feel honored because I have shelter for my mind, body and soul.

    Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.

    What today will be like is up to me. I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

    Have a GREAT DAY! Unless you have other plans.

    AND I also try and make a habit of writing down 5 good things that have happened to me during each day before I go to sleep at night.

    • Jo, thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is incredibly beautiful and I’d love to share it with more people. I know you didn’t write it, but do you mind if I include it in an upcoming post??

  2. Ave Maria as sung by Beyonce. It’s a mix of modern & peacefulness that I just love.

    I also love Kiwijo’s Sculptor’s Attitude! This is perfect to hang up by the copier at work!

    • Yes and yes to moving in nature Dan! Also, for me anyway, getting out in the garden. Breathing the air, feeling the dirt – it’s really grounding for me.

      I haven’t heard of Pat Metheny – will definitely look it up. I’m always hunting for good new tunes.

  3. Lately it’s the despicable me minions rendition of the beach boys Barbara Ann song that does it for me. ‘baba ba baba nana…potato naaaa”

    • Haha, I haven’t heard it Van, but I love the Beach Boys so much! I’ll look it up because the kids (OK, the kids and the grown-ups) love Despicable Me too. Good combination. :)

  4. Brooke! I love your posts so much. There’s always such wisdom to be gained.

    My favourite ‘artists’ for THOSE days are Taylor Swift, NKOTB and Backstreet Boys. Yes, seriously! The more teeny boppy-ish the better for improving the mood. So sad but SO good!!

    • Kate, that is such a kind thing to say – thank you.

      And yes to the teeny bopper tunes. I haven’t listened to Backstreet Boys for YEARS, but I may just add them to my Spotify list too.

      Backstreet’s back – alright! ;)

  5. The three things you mentioned are tools I use to “snap out of it” when circumstances are getting the best of me. When I tell myself it is going to be a great day, I also repeat why I am grateful for the day. It’s not long before my attitude changes and I am content. Thanks for the reminder that most of the time, we control our attitude.

  6. Walking clears my head and my mood but the music that really sets me going and gets me happy again is …The Naughty Step’ by the Peatbog Faeries it starts off slow and builds up to a really good stomper of a tune and gives me such a buzz!
    ( -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX1OHcsb_nw)

    • Nice one! And thanks for the recommendation too – will have to check it out. I’m always looking for good upbeat music to run to!

    • Exactly. All of that. Cat, I really hope it wasn't a mistake to write an adventure story – I don't think so because there are some great adventure stories out there. My kids' book group loved 'Chasing Vermeer' and 'Framed'.Adele, you're so right – it's the proportions. We know there's wonderful stuff being written (and going out of print too fast) but it's becoming invisible. Hidden by piles of poo. Old age, Adele? – pah!!!!

  7. Yesterday was a tough day, so this morning I was determined not to have another downer. #2 is really relevant to me, as the feeling of getting stuff done gives me positive energy, so I threw a load in the wash, got my daughters ready and we headed off to the park. This day is turning out so much better.

    • So glad to hear it, Joelle!

      And I definitely agree about the positive energy from getting things done. Sometimes the only way to help yourself is to take that first, tiny step. Hope your day keeps up! :)

  8. I especially love #2. I feel overwhelmed a lot by the many, many things I feel I should do every day. I’ve been trying to focus on just doing a few things and feeling good about those accomplishments instead of focusing on everything that hasn’t been done yet, and that really helps! Thanks for the encouragement :)

  9. Thing is, happiness is not an inside job. It’s a collective job orienting our mind towards the end of suffering. I can minimize all I want (which I do), but my existence is founded and perpetuated on the oppression of others and my ideas about happiness come straight from capitalist socializing. Minimalism is negative freedom and is just another way to ‘do’ capitalism. Obsession with stuff, little or a lot.

    • I completely understand your point here, Craig, but I have to disagree. Perhaps if you come at minimalism as being about stuff (ie the less ‘stuff’ you own, the better) then, yes, your obsession is still about stuff. But if you approach it in the way that I try to – which is more about simple living, mindfulness and nourishing parts of yourself that are removed entirely from stuff – then it’s much easier to see how happiness is an inside job.

      Absolutely, it needs to be our responsibility – ‘our’ being the human race, particularly those of us in developed countries – to help end suffering, but it’s my philosophy that small steps are the way to achieve this. (Need less, buy less, get educated, find our personal values, live by those values.) By focusing on what we can change in the immediate future, we don’t feel powerless.

      Thanks so much for your comment and for getting me thinking. I love a good discussion. :)

Leave a reply