It is impossible, and unrealistic, to be “happy” all the time, and why would we want to be, as there would be no way to compare the good times with the bad times (and therefore the good times would lose their impact).
There are ways, however, to return to a general state of wellbeing and happiness if we have some safeguards in place to protect ourselves from negative thinking and low moods.
It might be something as simple as taking a walk or attending a yoga class, having something to look forward to like a special meal or a favourite movie, or seeing a friend for a catch-up.
It could also mean doing less of something; cutting toxic people out of your life (or at least limiting contact with them), or avoiding negative news.
Being present and aware and practicing acceptance are some of the helpful ways to feel more contentment in your life, and this can also be achieved through practicing mindfulness and meditation.
Something as simple as making and drinking a cup of tea can bring great happiness if it is done in a mindful and ritualistic way.
Here are some ideas to help return to that feeling of wellbeing and a state of contentment, especially after feeling down, fearful, or stressed –
Take time out for a hot bath or shower and use your favourite scented soaps and moisturizers/lotions.
Call, text, or email a friend you have been meaning to catch up with.
Actively avoid negative news and social media (I actually went so far as to unfollow news/negative posts on my news feed).
Breathe deeply and deliberately, and take a few moments to stretch (extended child’s pose with some slow deep breathing is a favourite of mine, especially as I get towards the end of my pregnancy).
Accept that this low mood will pass; it is only temporary, and tell yourself that chances are you will be feeling much better tomorrow.
Invest in a yoga DVD, attend an exercise class, or go for a walk or a run (getting outdoors really helps with uplifting your mood).
Watch some comedy on TV.
Read or listen to inspiring and positive material.
Limit contact with people who you find draining and negative.
Try meditation (whether for five minutes or twenty minutes). Give it a go by aiming to incorporate it into your daily life.
Think about the things you have to look forward to.
Let your feelings wash over you like a wave, and accept them as they come and go. This is mindfulness.
Take some time out to do absolutely nothing for five minutes. Sit down or lie down, close your eyes, or take a bathroom break if you are at work or are surrounded by other people.
Declutter! There is nothing more freeing than getting rid of belongings that you no longer need or value. If it no longer serves you, take it to the local thrift store or charity, and donate old magazines and books to the local library. And remember, there is truth to the saying that “possessions possess”!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on more ways to return to “happy”.
Let me know some of the feel-good things you like to do.
Note: Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help if the fearful feelings or low moods persist. Therapy or counseling can be a great way to talk through your concerns and get back in balance after feeling down or stressed.