Seven Simple Things to Increase Daily Happiness

1. Go to the grocery store, the coffee shop, on a walk, and have a conversation with your cashier, your barista, your neighbors. We’re all humans trying to figure it out, and having a simple conversation about your day with a stranger will make you feel more connected, more here. Eye contact helps.

2. If you walk by someone and you like their shoes, or their hair, or their personality, tell them about it. Giving compliments that you mean will make you smile, and it will make the receiver of the compliment smile, which will make you smile more.

3. Ask a friend for a hug.

4. Look in the mirror everyday and say “I love you” to yourself. It’s weird at first, but it’s a great habit to get into.

5. Clean your room.

6. Smile at baby. That sounds kind of creepy. Just, if you see a baby somewhere, smile at it, they’re cute.

7. List your three favorite things about yesterday. They could be as small as not burning your toast in the morning, or as awesome as winning the lottery.

I Guess Life is Constantly in Transition

I need to write because I haven’t written in so long. I think about it everyday. When things happen I think about how I could make a blog post about it. Moving to a new city, falling in love, being terrified. Lots of things have been unfolding and I’ve been waiting to see how things work out instead of stopping long enough to write a blog post about it.

What motivated me to finally write this blog post was the hour I just spent reading my journals from high school. I was so sad then, and felt so alone. There must be girls writing the same things in their journals, and I want them to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.  If someone had reached out to me and told me that they understood how I felt and that I wasn’t alone, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. But I know how you feel, whoever is reading this, when your dark thoughts freak you out or you shame yourself out of sadness because you don’t believe it’s justified. 

I don’t feel stuck anymore. And that’s not an easy feeling to achieve.

At NA tonight we talked about “spiritual awakenings” but it made me think about awakenings in general; epiphanies, realizations, whatever term you want to use. A realization implies a previous blindness or ignorance, like when I realized I wasn’t alone. Things were dark, so I didn’t know what was around me. The darkness was comfortable, it was a source of identity, but there was so much I couldn’t see, a lot of it I didn’t want to see.

The darkness faded when I connected to others, I was pulled out of my cave. I am trying to get comfortable in the light, there is more to do, but I feel like I am exposed. I can’t hide in my darkness, or behind drugs. Sometimes it’s scary and overwhelming, but not the way darkness was. It’s kind of invigorating. I never knew that I get nervous in a crowd of strangers, but I do. I go out anyway, and I feel better about it every time. I spend most of the time people watching and being quiet, I don’t want to talk just to talk, to make people see me the way I want them to. Over time, some people will get to know me, and some people wont. I don’t need to force it.

I want what I have learned over the last half-year to stay with me, and I have found that I don’t get overwhelmed by rushes of thoughts. I am constantly thinking, but I have come to the conclusion that everyone is constantly thinking. My thoughts don’t get out of control anymore. I have been consistently going to yoga, which is cool. I want to maintain mindfulness throughout transition. I want to remember where I came from without letting it define me.

I love the person I am today. And I love the terrified teenage girl I once was, the girl who hated herself and hated breathing. I wish I could travel back in time and give her a hug, and tell her that the darkness doesn’t go away when you’re hiding from the light. Once the light arrives, you may be more exposed, but everyone else is too. I have noticed that being honest with people makes them more likely to be honest with me. And when I’m honest, I don’t confuse myself as much.

A lot of things are changing, and I have an opportunity to take a new path, a path I have never taken before. I am scared, I don’t have much experience with doing things successfully. No matter what, I love myself. And I think that if I love myself, things are more likely to go well, because where there is love, there is light. That’s sounds super cheesy, almost delete-worthy cheesy. But I think it’s true. If I love and accept myself, I will be able to remain honest with myself and with others, which will keep the darkness away another day.