Okay so over the next while (again, I am not going to commit to a time period because it is boring and has been done, and also I don’t like committing to things) I am going to research happiness and try out some things that people say make them happier. I have made my own list of things that I think probably contribute to happiness, and if all these things aligned I can see no reason as to why one would not be happy. BUT they will never all align, that’s not how life works! And that is okay. I think what I have learned so far about happiness, from chatting to people in pubs and also from reading and watching things about happiness, is that happiness is maybe something about learning to put the negative things aside sometimes and allowing yourself to just forget about them and be happy. Anyway, here is the list, and feel free to comment with anything important that you think I have missed.
THINGS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO MY HAPPINESS:
- Having energy (not feeling tired/sluggish) – This is easier said than done when you have MS, because no matter how much sleep you get or how well you eat you will probably still be tired. Still, having a more regular routine can’t hurt, so I am going to try and be in every night by 1am, and I am going to get up the first time I wake up, rather than waking up and looking at the clock and thinking “Oh, I don’t have to be anywhere for ages, let’s go back to sleep”.
- Having good health (feeling healthy and well) – Again, I have MS, so this isn’t really possible, but I can aim to feel as healthy and well as is within my control. This means getting as much sleep as possible, eating well, and making sure not to over do it.
- Cultivating good relationships (keeping in touch with people) – I think for me this means sending messages to people who I haven’t spoken to a while, making sure they are doing okay. Friendships are like beautiful plants and you have to make sure to water them!
- Being a proactive friend/family member (keeping up with their lives/showing up when you say you will, or when they need you) – I need to make sure if someone is going through something, like an illness (their own, or a family members), a job change, or moving home, that I keep up to date on how things are going for them. Then, if they need me to be there for them, I will be.
- Helping others (helping a charity/friend/someone in need) – This makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile and not just wasting my life.
- Staying politically active (stay engaged, fight the good fight) – This is directly related to point number 5 in my book, politics is all about happiness. The right that every person has to by happy, and for those “in charge” to defend that right.
- Achieving things (finish tasks, master skills, get good feedback) – Whether it be things like finishing chores, performing on stage, or writing something.
- Enjoying your habitat (keep flat tidy/clean/free from clutter, enjoy being in) – I love just sitting in a room and thinking there is nothing that I would want to change about this room right now, nothing needs picked up, nothing needs rearranged, nothing needs fixed. I also love going to bed knowing that everything is where it should be. I used to be a lot worse about this sort of thing, like properly obsessed with chores to the point I was annoying. I moved into my flat in December and only learned how to work the hoover a couple of weeks ago, so I have definitely changed!
- Making money (get paid for jobs, get a regular income) – Well, this is obvious. I think that if you aren’t worrying about paying bills and paying back debt then you are obviously going to feel a lot more free, and capable of being happy. Also money is often very key in making you feel like you are worth something. That is even probably why we use that expression!
- Spending money wisely (buy things that you need/that make you happy) – I am all about spending money, why would you save for tomorrow when tomorrow might not come! Don’t save money in case you have a good idea, have the good idea and then save money for it! OR better yet be in a position where you can have a good idea and then get a loan and do the idea, and then save money to pay the loan back! IDEAL WORLD, right?
- Trying to see the best in the situation (stay optimistic/hopeful) – This is important. Allowing yourself to be optimistic and/or hopeful is hard. I have been trying to do this for things like hearing back from PIP, which I have been waiting on for 6 months, and thinking things like WHEN I am awarded pip rather than IF I am rewarded PIP. Also seeing the best in a situation, if I miss the bus then I get to have a wee browse around the shops until the next bus and who knows what I might find or who I might meet…
- Staying informed (read, learn, grow) – Read books, listen to people talk, watch documentaries, even just read Wikipedia…
- Dedicating time to fun (books, films, games, gigs) – Do what you love, and love what you do. Fun is important and I think, as adults, we often put it on the back burner. Not okay! I mean fun is the best part of life. Fun is the thing that makes life worth it. Why don’t we dedicate more time to fun? We deserve fun!
Okay so that is my list. Those are the things that I think contribute to happiness. You might not agree, and this list might not fit your life, but this is my list, not yours, so that is okay. Feel free to comment with anything you think I should consider adding!