Working in PR you’re often asked to trawl the internet to find news hooks for your respective clients, such as international hotdog day and doughnut celebration week etc….often quite obscure and pointless. However, I saw this morning via Deliciously Ella’s blog – that today is the International Day of Happiness (if you weren’t already aware) and it inspired me to write.
One of the reasons I started this blog was to use it as an exploration of happiness, to share things which make me happy, things which don’t and explore the ways in which I can shift my perception of what happiness is and how it can be achieved.
I am not one of those people who wakes up beaming with happiness, especially not at 6.30am when my alarm is screaming at me and the only thing I really want to do is curl up under the covers and wait until the more sociable hour of 9am creeps around. Unfortunately, a little thing called ‘work’ hampers those plans on a regular basis, so needs must and I get on with it. But what I’ve been trying to do lately is see happiness in the little things each day brings, because quite honestly, most days of our lives are quite mundane and uneventful – so if we don’t start looking for the little flickers of happiness in a normal day, it could start to feel that life in general is quite dull and depressing.
This is NOT as easy as it sounds, there are days where you miss your train, stand in someone’s armpit for ten stops on the tube, get pulled up at work for not meeting your deadlines, get dumped or you have to eat tinned spaghetti hoops for a week because you’re skint again… you get my drift. Life is hard, and seeing this kind of thing on social media EVERY second of every day can make it EVEN harder…
Now I can appreciate a good-looking lady in a bikini on some glistening white sand as well as the next person – and she may well be very happy (I hope so), but increasingly we are being bombarded with an unrealistic, stylised, fake, delusional, unobtainable, ludicrous ‘goal’ of what happiness should look like.It’s BOLLOCKS!
This has been debated a lot in the media recently, especially when model Essena O’Neil closed down her hugely popular Instagram account and admitted to thousands of global fans that she wasn’t really happy with her life (despite how it appeared online), and that all her pictures were hugely edited, staged and phony – which ultimately made her feel like a phony too. I’m sure her followers realised her posts were edited by the very nature of them, but regardless she felt the need to express how unhappy this expectation and unrealitstic portrayal of herself was really making her.
Appearances can be deceptive. Now, I have no issue with anyone (bikini model or not) being successful, happy, driven and looking like a million dollars in a bin-liner. BUT this does not mean that you can’t be happy or choose to be happy if you DON’T look like that or if you don’t live on a tropical beach sipping out of a coconut 24/7. I know..shock! We all have a choice, and I’m going to give some tips on how to choose happiness in tiny ways each and every day.
How to grow some happy in your world..
- Get rid of people who aren’t your real friends. Have a good old social media / contact list cleanse, which means getting rid of anyone who fits into the following categories:
- You haven’t seen this person in the flesh for over a year (and not just because they’re living in Australia on a gap year)
- You wouldn’t invite this person to your next Birthday bash
- You wouldn’t text this person to say hi
- You feel nervous when you post a picture or status because you feel inferior to this person or that they will judge you
- This person makes you feel bad about yourself
2. Open your eyes. All to often we’re like rats in a maze, just going from A-B every day in our little routine. Looking around you and noticing people and places is a great way to get some appreciation for who you are and to take a step back.
3. Help others. It might sound cliché but offering your time and skills of your own free will to help out a family member, friend or a stranger will give you a huge sense of goodwill and perhaps give you some appreciation for your own life.
4. Do more of what makes you happy. Whether its writing, cooking, painting, walking, swimming, yoga or just having a movie night with your besties and talking crap until 2am
5. TURN OFF THE PHONE. Social media induced anxiety is a real thing, and the only one who can control the way you feel about that is you. So unfollow, block or simply delete whatever you need to in order to not feel bad about what you see online. You have a choice to soak something up like a sponge and allow it to weigh you down, or ignore, delete and move away from the screen. 🙂
These are just some of the things which I find useful to increase my happiness levels, but if you find happiness in following the glossy aspirational pages of instagram that’s entirely your choice. I would just advise anyone to take what they see with a LARGE pinch of salt and not to compare how you look/live to something or someone you’ve seen online.