30 Days of Happiness Challenge
Change your mindset in the space of a month!
Someone once told me happiness is a choice.
I don’t disagree as I believe we certainly have the power within ourselves to overcome darker times.
But like most things in life just because you want to feel a certain way does not make it so, you can’t just choose to be happy and then suddenly feel happy, it doesn’t work like that but you can certainly influence how you're feeling.
We’ve all had those moments when we feel down and sometimes it is far easier to wallow in it. After all we all know how much effort it takes to pretend we’re ok when we’re not. But if we were to take a step back, and look at a situation objectively I’m sure we could all come up with one thing that brings a smile to our faces even in our saddest moments.
If there’s ever been a time when I have had to remember this, it has been during this pandemic.
Lockdown has been a testing time for all of us, there have been endless bouts of ups and downs, laughs and fights, relaxation and stress. Each of us has our own story and the unknown outcome has certainly got a lot of us down. When will it end? Will it return? What will become of our jobs? What will the future look like?
It is often hard to express happiness and joy to ourselves or others when the end in sight is unknown.
But despite the negatives we have all experienced it is surely far more beneficial to focus on the positives. As life starts to slowly return to some form of normality I have found myself reflecting on all that I have gained from this slower pace of life rather than all the plans for 2020 I have lost.
When life is moving so fast it is often hard to find the time to take a moment and check in with ourselves and how we truly feel.
As I entered into lockdown it was a bit of an adventure, a pause on my hectic schedule however after a few weeks all I was left with to occupy myself were my own thoughts. For the first time in years I had time to sit and ask myself was I happy?
The answer. For the most part yes, the people in my life and my career filled me with happiness but now that I had lost the freedom to see whoever I wanted whenever I wanted and my job had quite literally vanished overnight I now had to face up to the fact that I no longer had any distractions from myself. What I was left with was the opportunity to look at myself as a person and figure out how to be happy within my own self independently of anything else. For the first time in years I actually had the time and space to do something about it.
I had a chance to increase my happiness as an individual despite the increasingly scary backdrop of the world we currently live in. I couldn’t disregard my fears at what was happening but I could make it easier by doing one small thing a day to make me happy. So that’s what I did.
Each day for a month I made time to do something on the list and I found that even on my worst days I found myself smiling as I took time out of the day to focus on nothing but myself.
One of the biggest lessons I learned is to remember and appreciate the good, even in the darkest of times we can find a glimmer of hope.
In a time of uncertainty what we can all do is focus on ourselves as individuals, as the amazing people we are, if there was ever a time to make some changes it is now. Often change is overlooked, especially when it comes to ourselves as individuals. After all it is far easier to keep with the habits of a lifetime even if deep down we know it would be for the best to make some tweaks. And of course change takes time, which is something we all for the most part, until recently at least, have a shortage of.
But in a world where everyone is always in a rush lockdown has been a gift to slow down and appreciate all I have rather than what I don’t.
That appreciation for what I do have has helped me to remain positive and happy during one of the hardest times we’ve had to endure.
Remaining happy has not been easy though. We often refer to happiness in reference to others, whether it be a person, a tv show or an event. We rarely reference happiness as a state of mind. But in actual fact happiness is one of those things that can never be attained from others or material things. Sure they can influence it, without a doubt loved ones can make us extremely happy, but where happiness actually starts is within ourselves. Our happiness is never dependent on others but rather on ourselves.
Happiness is within us all and when we tap into that we find a more positive outlook on everything and everyone and it becomes far easier to appreciate and gain happiness from every aspect of our lives.
However as I said at the start I know this is far easier said than done. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t struggled at all this year, I have - MASSIVELY! I have often felt down, nervous of the future or even angry at my lack of control over what is happening. But these small steps above have helped me to cope, we will all struggle and feel down from time to time that is a natural part of life but we can overcome those feelings, not overnight no but by taking it day by day, one small step at a time.
As the lockdown eases I think it’s important to remember to continue to pause and reflect. We don’t need to be in a rush to have everything at once, one thing at a time is still a massive success. And that room for growth and improvement makes it even more special, giving us something to look forward to whilst also providing us with the time to reflect on what we’ve already achieved.
With the 30 days of happiness challenge you can increase that feeling of happiness that we all hold so dear and realise we have the power to control that feeling within ourselves.
When we choose to be happy we choose to love and appreciate ourselves. We influence our entire mood as well as those around us and naturally with time as we learn to make time for ourselves, it becomes easier to smile, even in our hardest times and the most brilliant thing of all is that these steps can be repeated over and over again month after month.
So yes go ahead and have a good cry, we all need that sometimes but remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and that happy feeling is never too far out of reach. A simple phone call to a friend, a journal entry focusing on your best qualities or sitting down with a good book could be the small thing that brings you a little spark of happiness and boy knows in these trying times we could all do with a little extra spark of happiness.