“When I was young I wanted to be an adult sooo bad. I was so excited at the prospect of being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted and with who I wanted.
Being an adult just seemed so fun, until I became one.
Don’t get me wrong, having more freedom is a great thing, but as the saying goes ‘there’s more responsibility’. And boy was that the case. Between trying to finish university with great grades, finding a job, paying bills AND maintaining a social life, safe to say I was totally knackered; mentally and physically.
I began to realise that the world is hard and the older you become the harder it gets. Studies have also found that more goals we have, to further our success, the more likely we are to feel utterly miserable. For me, all of these challenges often made me feel down in the dumps.
I struggled to maintain a balance between all my responsibilities and, when I did, I sacrificed something really important – my happiness.
Yet, happiness is so crucial to our existence. I mean think of all the happy memories you have and how much they make you smile, get you through a bad day or even help work out a difficult situation.
I was determined to get back to a place in my life where I didn’t dread each day.
Finding my happiness again during my period of ‘adulting’ was no easy feat. I learnt some important things along the way and I want to share them with y’all.
1. Get out your comfort zone
Okay, so why would you want to be all uncomfortable as well as unhappy? Good question, but sometimes trying something new is just the thing when you’re feeling low. For me, I started volunteering at an arts and culture centre and met some lovely people. I also became more confident in myself by just talking to my fellow volunteers who I otherwise may not have met. I felt proud of myself and definitely happier.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone is an important, and almost universal, factor in personal growth.
2. Write it down
I like to think of myself as a bit of a poet and I know-it. Writing all my thoughts and feeling down made me feel so much better about life. I remember crying because I had failed a module at university and had to do a re-sit it in the summer. I’d booked a holiday during the period of the re-sit and couldn’t go anymore. The pain! Anyway, I immediately started typing away on my iPhone notes, regurgitating all my worries and anxieties about the upcoming exam.
I would read it and then bin it to compartmentalise my racing thoughts.
This became an important habit for me whenever I felt low to help me move forward and ultimately feel happier.
3. Don’t seek approval
Whether it’s because you’re popping on Instagram or have a million followers in Twitter, we all have an innate drive to connect with other people.
It’s important, however, that we don’t let this stop us from having a strong stable relationship with ourselves.
External influences can often make us feel not good enough or stop us trusting ourselves. Seeking approval from things or people other than ourselves can affect our happiness. Learn to be confident in yourself no matter what you do or what people say
4. Appreciate the little things
The truth is, you won’t be feel monumental happiness all the time.
But, it’s often the little things in life that keep us feeling happy and good about ourselves. It could be having a lovely phone call with a friend, finding the perfect outfit for your next event or spending much needed time with your family. Reflecting on the small pleasures of life can negate all the things that have gone wrong and make you feel more grateful for what you do have.
5. Positive Affirmations
I’ve always believed in the saying, ‘You are what you think’, because most of our thoughts eventually dictate what we do in life.
Affirmations, comes from the Latin word affirmare, originally meaning “to make steady, strengthen.” Positive affirmations like; ‘I am superior to negative thoughts and low actions’ help to raise the level of feel-good hormones in our brains and enabling us to be happier and healthier. Try writing down some positive affirmations for yourself and practise saying them each day, you’ll begin to see a difference in your mood and wellbeing.
So those are my top 5 lessons I’ve learnt in making myself happy. It’s a really personal journey so not everything may apply to you, but ultimately take the time to find out what makes you happy. I swear it will empower you for the future.”