Monday, August 31, 2015

100 Things to Make You a Little Happier, Part 8

I originally thought I would pound out this ten part series in 20-30 days. A new post every few days right? But it turns out it was more difficult than I thought. Happiness is about so many different things, but to find things that apply to everyone has proved hard. But I have found ten more. Please share with others who are perhaps downtrodden or currently in a state of being bummed. And if you haven't had the chance, go read the first 7 segments, for we are nearing the end.

71. Quit saying "That's just the way I am."- This is a most tired excuse that people use when trying to rationalize their way of living. Maybe it's being lazy, or not understanding technology, or struggling with relationships or honesty. Maybe that's how you were. But how you currently are is a choice, and the past has no baring on the future unless you have decided that you cannot change.

72. Veer a bit from your daily habits- Some habits are good, but if you examine your days you will likely find that you do a lot of stuff out of sheer routine, and you will probably find that much of your habitual day is not conducive for change and betterment. So look at your day. Do you always sleep in? Do you always watch Netflix before bed? Do you always text people first thing in the morning? Maybe these aren't bad things, but try something new for a day. Abandon your mindless rituals for a day and see how you feel.

73. Try a full week without television (Okay maybe just a day to start with)- Maybe you are already too busy and intellectually elevated to watch TV on a regular basis. But for most people it is a regular part of each day. The fact that most people watch their TV these days on their phone, or on Netflix of Hulu does not change the fact that you are watching TV everyday. I myself love TV. I am usually ensnared in several vital TV series, and then I have my old standbys. But I am going to experiment on the benefits of a week without it. We will see if I last a full week, but I am confident I will read more, accomplish more, and probably sleep more. For me, these three things equate to greater happiness.

74. Refuse to be discouraged by your past- We all have storied pasts. Whether yours includes awful misdeeds or simply a long road of heartache, don't let it discourage you. Yesterdays have a way of haunting us. They tap us on the shoulder and remind us that we suck, or that we have made terrible mistakes. But nothing can alter the past. So smile at the notion of 20,000 tomorrows instead of frowning from misused yesterdays.

75. Don't rage text- Since people can text so fast without having to look the other person in the eye it is easy to thoughtlessly send hurtful texts that you will regret. Use the space that text provides to think of rational responses and altruistic solutions. Some people are good at biting their tongue in person, but via text message fiery darts are hurled quickly and mercilessly. So take a breath, don't worry about responding instantly. Maybe take 5. Maybe go get some groceries, and then respond with a cooler head.

76. Go for the occasional jog- At many and most times in my life I have found jogging to be an abhorrent use of my time. Who is chasing me? Who is timing me? What is the point? But I have at sundry times found that nothing clears the head better, or mixes around the endorphins better than a little yog around the neighborhood. I am not telling you to go buy expensive running shoes and snug shorts, but from time to time take in some fresh air and let your moving legs and swaying arms declutter your brain.

77. Be economic with your time- People are so stingy with their money and their material items, yet are often grossly liberal with how they spend their time. If you are at a party and aren't having fun, leave. If you are watching a movie that blows, turn it off or leave the theater. Our time is so very limited. Don't waste time because you are bored or worried about what others will think. The irreverent author Charles Bukowski said, "People are strange. They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice."

78. Actually work on your bucket list- If you have made the first great step of creating a bucket list, good for you. But the sad reality is most people make this sort of list with little plans to cross anything off until they are retired and sipping flavorful drinks on powdery beaches. Don't wait until you are 76 and tired and have pancreatic cancer to do the things you want. Make goals and accomplish them as soon as you can. If they aren't that important, don't write them down at all.

79. Notice the happy people around you- Ugh, sometimes it is so bloody hard to be happy. But all you need do it look around you. Look at the fresh smiles unfurled on passing strangers. Appreciate loving comments and friendly reunions that you overhear. Sit back and realize that these people aren't any different from you. If they can be happy, so can you.

80. Don't frantically concern yourself with the next chapter of life- Oh it is far too easy to be bummed as a teenager because you aren't 18 yet. But oh how most adults would give several fingers to be 15 again. And the single, the single so desire to be married and in love they don't enjoy their freedom, their years of unmatched solitude. Stop waiting for your better job, your next vacation, or your next stage of life. The past will always seem woefully unattainable, and the future will seem like it can't arrive quick enough. Just enjoy your current stage. Work for the next, yes. But enjoy, and don't fret about being off your life's schedule.

As always, who knows if I am right. Who knows if any of these things will help you in any capacity. All I know is they have helped me. So if any one thing has resonated with you, let me know, and more importantly let others know by sharing this post.