If you want to be happy, you’ve got to get real with yourself. Happiness isn’t given but is created through the right mindset and health. When you work at attaining a steady state of good mental, physical, and spiritual health, you can achieve the peace of joy. Here are some honest reminders as to why we might not be feeling so good, and how to get ourselves back on track:
1. You’re reading the news. We forget that the news is an industry. Run by people with an agenda to make money and influence opinion for power. The news should be, but isn’t neutral. It’s designed to get a rise out of you. To make you come back for more road-kill. If you want to be happier, you’ll have to detox yourself from your daily supply of drug. It sounds morbid because it is. Ingesting the news every day, without thinking about what you’re choosing to consume, is as bad as consuming anything else that destroys you. Just because we don’t see our mental state as an entity - compared to our physical bodies - it doesn’t mean it’s any less important. You’ve got to be mindful of what you ingest, food, pharmacologics, alcohol, and media. Turn off the spigot of your news feed. If you commit to that and just that alone, after a few weeks you’ll notice when you wake up how the sun is actually shining.
2. You’re with not-so-great people. It’s easy to get stuck with detractors. They may be in our homes, in our jobs, in our activities. Not-so-great doesn’t mean they can’t be remedied but if that’s the course you want to take, say with a partner for example, you’ll have to do the work to show them that you have expectations. But if you find that in spite of what you’ve been asking for, there hasn’t yet been a committed response, you may have to have courage and let a bad relationship go. Bad relationships, those that are built on a constant imbalance and miscarriage of power, are meant to serve as a learning point; not keep us captive for life.
3. You’re not getting outside enough. You just can’t substitute getting outside for anything else. Even when it’s cold, hot, rainy, snowing, or whatever the weather. The feeling that comes from spending a little time in fresh air resets your mood, makes you understand what a sentient, terrene organism you are. As much as we’d like to think so, we’re not so much more evolved than other animals and plants. Lest we brag too much, we should remember we can’t fly on our own, can’t plunge the deepest depths of the ocean on our own, and can’t convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. We are organisms with our own unique abilities, but we need the earth and its creatures more than they need us. Commit to spending a little time each day outside, remember the primal organism you are, and see how well you respond. Like a budding flower.
4. You’re the issue. The whole point of life is to work on yourself. Working on yourself and coming to a good place in that is the only thing that matters when it’s your turn to die. It doesn’t matter if you’re a billionaire or the Head of State, if you haven’t done the work to try to be a better human being, you’ve lost out on the most important message of life. At the end of life, what matters most is being at peace, and you won’t have that if you haven’t done the work. Palliative care can only help so far if you haven’t once thought about yourself and how you acted your whole life. It may give you placation of some symptoms, but it can’t fix existential angst because you didn’t do right by yourself and others during your lifetime. Now is the time to start working on yourself. Always.