It is easy to get overwhelmed by the daily dose of bad news around us. There is UI doing its thing, Nigeria testing our endurance and the world just “turnioniown”—literally. There are also our personal struggles but we refuse to be depressed, right? Our eyes are fixed on maintaining happiness. Distractions may come, but no! We have got to remain focused on being happy (*inserts smug look.)
These are some tips on how to stay happy even with the gloom hovering:
- Find joy in the simple things.
We tend to focus mainly on the big things and neglect the small things that can potentially make us happy. We do not need a massive credit alert or all our wishes coming true at once. Tiny things around us could resurrect the dying flames of joy. It could be a sunset or sunrise, flowers, a child smiling at you, learning a fun fact, or a friend making a funny face. It could be anything at all. Channel that inner child. Ensure that you are not closed off to the extent that you don’t appreciate the beautiful things around you. Bring back that child-like quality of beholding the world with wonder.
- Be grateful
We should never forget that despite all the negatives in the world and all the bad things that happen every day, there is still some form of good. Those things are enough to be grateful for. Just imagine how worse it would all be if those positives were removed. Practice saying “thank you” to others and meaning it. When the big good things happen, be grateful. With the small things that can be easily overlooked too, be grateful. The mosquitoes didn’t bite tonight? Be grateful. Breakfast was delicious? Please be grateful. You could have breakfast at all? Show gratitude. Dwelling on the negatives will just infuse you with gloom that will then make the light of joy hard to find.
- Make others happy
There is something about seeing other people happy that makes one happy. Happiness seems to be a contagious thing. A lot of times, seeing somebody smile makes me smile too. And when I am the cause of the other person’s smile, ooooh, the happiness is simply glorious. You do not need to do something extravagant before you can make others happy. It could be a simple sincere compliment to somebody, a smile at a stranger, helping somebody out, giving little gifts. Acts of kindness have been shown to brighten people’s days while also making yourself satisfied and happy. Make somebody happy and be happy too.
- Detach yourself from your phone
Our phones definitely have a lot of usefulness, but sometimes, we need to stay away from them. It might sound too extreme, but it does make a difference. Research has shown that phones, because of the blue light they emit, can cause sleep problems that can then lead to anxiety and depression. Social media has its own downsides too. Take some time away from your phone for a change. Use this time to take a walk, have conversations with people, read a book, pray, revel in nature or meditate. Declutter your mind. You will find that it helps.
- Plan your time
Do you sometimes feel like you are everywhere and nowhere? Or you can’t think straight because there are too many things to do? Planning your time can help to restore a sense of order. Even if you don’t follow the plan to the letter, seeing that you have apportioned certain times to do certain things will quiet the mind and reduce stress.
Harbouring resentment towards people can fill us with bitterness. It might be hard to let go because of what the person has done, but keeping the ill-feeling in will do more harm to us than the other people we have those feelings towards. Reach out to that other person and let them know that you have decided to let go and forgive. You do not necessarily have to let the person back into your life. You might even need to end the relationship, but just ensure that you let go, forgive and move on.
- Try counselling or therapy
If you feel like you’ve hit a wall and cannot seem to cope, try seeking help from a counsellor or therapist. Note that you do not need to have a diagnosed mental health illness or a major hardship to seek professional help. Therapists and counsellors are trained to help people improve their coping skills and will help you if you seek them out.
Always remember that while our life circumstances might not always be in our hands, the way we think and approach these circumstances are. So keep your head up, believe that things will turn out good and work towards making things better. Stay positive and don’t forget to smile.