Have you ever had a friend that you click with so well? The type of friend that knows what you’re thinking just by looking at you? A friend you have a secret language with? Or a friend that just gets you? That’s Christin for me. She and I have been buddies since grade 8, and she’s is the greatest gal ever! She’s silly, hilarious, and has a huge heart. You always know when Christin is nearby because she has the best laugh that makes us all laugh! Even though she is smiley and full of laughter, Christin experiences mental illness just like me and we have very similar conditions. I hope to feature her from time to time on my blog to have her share some of her stories, both the good and the bad. She has a great deal of insight to share and I hope you will enjoy her fun quirky stories and personality. Stay tuned!
Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, right? I know I do! Just imagine all the things you could do in life if you won that 55 million jackpot? If you’re reading this, like me, you are probably thinking about all the things you would want to do. Pay off debts, buy amazing properties and maybe even quit your job and travel the world. The sky is the limit! Of course money can’t truly buy happiness but it certainly can change your life… that is if you buy a ticket. Many people say – “what’s the point? I could buy tickets my whole life and never win”. Well you certainly won’t win if you don’t purchase a ticket at all! It’s funny how the brain works.
This concept faces me every day but it certainly isn’t just lottery tickets making feeling skeptical. From time to time I get down, I feel worried and stressed and sometimes for no reason at all. What makes me feel good about it is that others too go through this, but the thing that makes me feel hopeless is, what do I do to get over this hump? I’ve done the late night stress eating, the sleeping for hours, not connecting with friends and family, feeling dread for the next day not knowing what awaits. Where did it get me do you think? Continuing these detrimental cycles? No where. So what’s next do you think?
Mental health is a tricky thing. Anyone going through it knows how awful it feels to be in limbo land of emotions where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I felt that way for awhile, but then one day I became fed up and said no more, what can I do to help myself? And from that moment on I did everthing in my power to feel the best I could and figure out the best coping skills that worked for me when I did feel like times were tough again. But the key word was ME. I read books, I saw professionals, I found support, but it was MY determination and perseverance that got me there. I always look for new things that are out there it never ends, and if you’re reading this now you can seize this day right now and do something anything that will help yourself get over this rut. The struggle is still there but it’s comforting to know you are doing everything you can to make yourself better.
If you’re lying in the dark with the blinds closed, open those curtains and let the sun shine in. Start taking advice your doctor and read that book on mindfulness. Call your local gym and set up an appointment with a trainer to have a workout plan. Play tennis, go swimming, stroll the mall, do an activity, talk to your friends and family again. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, do it. It’s what you need to do.
If you catch yourself thinking “what’s the point of doing anything? I probably will always feel like this” than you are most likely going to continue feeling that way. We need to push ourselves and find what works for us. Accept what you feel, know it’s not permanent and ask yourself “what do I want to feel right now” and go from there.
We won’t always have the answers as to why we feel the way we do or how to stop it, but we still need to live our lives. Once I found determination and perseverance I won the lottery. It’s time for us all to buy that ticket.
When I think of the past, present and future, three things (or movies I should say) immediately come to my mind: The Lion king, Groundhog Day and A Christmas Carol. Random yes, but very significant. The Lion King tells the story about a young lion named Simba who has a painful past who learns to accept it. In Groundhog day there is a man who is stuck living the same day on a loop needing to re examine his life and priorities. Lastly there is a Christmas Story, which shows us how a bitter old miser transforms into a kind, gentle man. What is the common theme here? They all represent how the past, present and future has an effect in making or breaking a person.
These realities encompass our everyday lives. The past is where we’ve come from and what we’ve done, the present is who we are now and the future is who we want to be. Putting it that way makes it seem simplistic, but overall these three realities can be troublesome to everyone. Here are tips on how to handle these three realities and how to live a happy successful life.
- Let go
The past definitely plays a huge role in our life as it’s our story. It dictates where we came from and what we’ve been through. Although it’s your story, it shouldn’t define who you are now. Having memories and mementos is nice but if you are constantly looking to your past in a negative regretful way you will never be at peace. The past is done, it cannot be changed. This is why it’s important to accept it and move on.
- Learn from your mistakes
The wonderful Nelson Mandela said “I never lose, I either win or learn”. This is something we all need to keep in mind when we make mistakes. Things may never go our way and we may make bad decision in our lifetime but we shouldn’t feel guilty or constantly think about the mistakes we’ve made. The important thing is to learn from it and move on.
- Have self-compassion
We are all human which means we are not perfect. We make mistakes all of the time, but in addition to learning from our mistakes we must have self-compassion for ourselves. Everyone is always concerned about treating others well but then they forget about ourselves. We are our own worst enemy at times and forget to cut ourselves some slack. Yes loving others is important but we need to love ourselves first.
- Live in the now
People are always reading about how they can be happy in the future, but the truth is you can be happy right now in this moment . Life is what we make it, so why not live in the present and truly enjoy every moment without worrying about the past and future. Mindfulness is an important practice everyone should encompass in their everyday lives. I highly recommend reading books by Thich Nhat Hahn as he has great insight on how to be mindful in everyday activities and how to truly live and be happy in the present.
- Don’t take anything for granted
Be grateful for what you have. Hyman Schachtel said “Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have” and this is so true. We often take for granted what we have because it becomes part of our daily routine, but it is important to stop and appreciate all of the things you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. It will truly change your outlook and allow you to be more positive
- Applaud yourself for who you are now
We’ve come a long way to be who we are today. Sure we haven’t been perfect but there must be times that we have succeeded and overcome obstacles. Applaud yourself for your success and be happy about who you are. If you’re not happy about who you are, look for ways to change.
- Write down your hopes and dreams
We all have dreams, and by writing them down allows us to plan for our future with the hope of making our dreams a reality. One way people do this is write a bucket list of all the things they want to do before they’re 100. I highly recommend doing this with another person, it always makes for a good conversation!
- Set goals
Goal setting is very important for everyone to do. Without concrete realistic goals to achieve we can put ourselves in a rut. Instead of a New Year’s resolution for the year, have 1-3 goals you want to achieve each month. You can even try to have a long term goal but the key with goals is you need to have a deadline and they need to be realistic. Keeping a journal or your goals and tracking your progress is helpful.
- Be organized
You can’t accomplish everything all at once, but by being organized and having a plan you can be successful in achieving your goals and dreams. Look to others to help keep you motivated, and look for opportunities as they arise. If you’re organized you will more likely accomplish your goals and reach your full potential. You don’t want to look back on your life regretting what you did not do, so plan now and organize your life and your priorities. You will be happy you did.
We all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences but all and all we all want the same things, a happy fulfilled life. Simba, Phil Connors and Ebenezer Scrooge all found a way to accomplish their goals and find success and we can too. It’s all about changing perspective and taking advantage of all opportunities that come our way.
We go through life everyday all wanting the same thing. Whether we are rich, poor, overweight or thin, we all wish for one thing – a happy, fulfilled life. This is something that is not easily achieved as life throws us many challenges through every stage of our lives. But how do we overcome the obstacles, make the right choices and be successful and happy? This is something I have been thinking about for months now.
It all sparked when I read an article from the weather network that spoke about happiness and the percentage of Canadians that felt “pretty happy” with their lives. It got me thinking and wondering about my life and what I could do to lead a happy life. There are many things that can be challenging to a person that can make it difficult for them to feel happy. Whether its mental or physical illness, grief, rejection, failure; how do we see the big picture and realize what we can do to put a smile on our faces?
After months of reading, researching and self-reflection I’ve come to realize it’s all about perspective, perseverance and defining your potential.
First, we need to change our perspective. Sure we may be unhappy now, but we have the power to change that. It all comes down to the mono perspective. Life is what we, as individuals make it. You can’t always know what life is going to throw your way, but by developing a positive mindset, we can accomplish anything. The next time you have a frown on your face, force yourself to smile, I can guarantee you will feel better and be able to reflect on the situation and find a solution for yourself.
Second, no matter how hard things get we need to persevere. It sometimes is so hard to keep going and reach our goals, but once you accomplish that goal it’s the most amazing feeling. A study was done in New York recently where researchers asked people on the streets what their biggest regrets were. The people all had different things to say, but the one thing they all had in common was that they more so regretted things they DID NOT do rather than the things they did do. That says a lot. We need to seize every opportunity that comes our way, and if the opportunity doesn’t present itself, we need to make the opportunity for ourselves. Sometimes the reason we don’t do something is because we lack confidence, or the time, money or even the strength to do it, but this is where perseverance comes in. Do you think Leonardo DiCaprio would have gotten where he is today by giving up? Acting is an extremely hard profession to be successful in, but these people persevered. They didn’t give up no matter how many rejections they got, and in the end they came out successful. Anything is possible if you have positive thinking and perseverance.
Lastly, is defining and reaching our full potential. We need to define for ourselves what our true potential looks like. We don’t have to sit on the sidelines and let life decide. We have the full power to make our future our own. In order to do this we have to have confidence in ourselves, be positive, set goals, and define our hopes and dreams. By doing so we will make a life for ourselves that is happy and successful. Having success doesn’t mean you have to have the biggest and best of everything. It means that you accomplished realistic goals that fit for you and your lifestyle. As long as you are happy with yourself and your results by the end of your journey, that is all that matters.
So put your life right now in perspective. See the good there is in every day, and realize life is what you make it. Persevere and set goals for yourself so you have no regrets in life. Reach your full potential by realizing what your hopes and dreams are. Doing these 3 things will help you find yourself and in the end hopefully make you the happiest you could ever be.
Helpful Links on how to be positive, persevere and reach full potential: