Finding it hard to be happy? It’s ok to blame modern life

hard to be happy

IN A WORLD OF NEGATIVITY AND CONSTANT CHANGE WE CAN BE FORGIVEN FOR LOSING TOUCH WITH OUR FUN SIDE

Modern life makes me feel guilty about finding joy.

The threat of terrorism. The uncertain political climate. Social media pressures. Bad news. More change than ever before. Too much choice.

These chip away at my cheerfulness. I get stressed out trying to make sense of them. Or at least trying to keep up with what’s happened and pretending to have an educated opinion on everything. I also worry about how to explain our complicated world to my daughter.

I’m not surprised then that our health is collectively suffering – stress is the epidemic of the 21st century. 

I’m grateful I know this fact, because it means that it’s becoming more socially acceptable to discuss the toll this is taking on our mental well-being.

WAKING UP TO OUR FEELINGS

We don’t often realise we’re miserable until something forces us to stop. To get off the hamster wheel and look at life differently. A death in your close family for instance. Or in my case two within six months.

It won’t feel like it at the time but such events have a positive outcome. They force you to face up to how fragile your life is. They remind you that you’re charge of making it what you want.

I’m not sharing this for sympathy. But because I want other people to be mindful of the misery they might be causing themselves by worrying about things they can’t control.

I want you to take action and get back to being happy. Like I’m doing. Because we’re all capable of it. Even if we’ve had some tough stuff to deal with.

It’ll take an effort, which feels a bit of a contradiction. But it’s worth it.

HAPPINESS DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN

It’s hard to be happy as a grown up. We adults don’t have the wonderful, default happy setting that children do. There’s always something niggling at us, calling for us to spend our free time in a more useful way. 

But I think we need to stop thinking that such use of our time is selfish, or inappropriate.

Caring for our mental well-being is perfectly sensible. Acceptable even. You become a better person once you can understand and deal with your emotions. You can be there and support people when something terrible does come along and turn your/their life upside down.

Remember too that it’s a health crisis waiting to happen if we don’t.

DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

No-one can solve your happiness problem. The specifics of what makes me smile won’t be the same for you. It’s a personal thing. (And not what society says is a success either!)

But I do think we can go about it in the same way:

Make a list of what you love. Do more of it. Be grateful.

Want to know one thing from my list Music. It makes everything better. My Spotify subscription is a treasured possession.

If you’ve got any great playlist suggestions then drop me a comment below, or on Twitter @amywardlaw.

I also rate ‘Solve for Happy’ by Mo Gawdat – it helped me see it’s ok to enjoy life after losing someone.

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