10 Simple ways that will make you feel happier
On 25 April the National Blog Awards announced winners for bloggers of the year. The nominees were competing in many categories and the winner in ‘Most Innovative’ category was Annie Byrne aka TheOCDSquirrel. To take a leaf out of her book, we’re re-posting one of Annie’s articles on 10 ways to make you feel happier. We often talk about happiness at work so it was interesting to read Annie’s take on the subject from a lot more personal perspective:
We all have those days when we wake up, look around the room and just want to hide under the covers and not move for an eternity. We have those moments when we don’t know what to do or who to turn to. Or even if we want to turn to somebody, or just be left alone.
And times when you think things are so low that you’ll never dig yourself out of the deep dark hole you’re in. We all go through times of struggle, whether it be money problems, exams, relationships or losing someone close to us, and often we don’t know how to deal with them.
The last couple of years have been more than a struggle to say the least, and sometimes I wonder how I’ve got to where I am today when I look back at what I, along with friends and family have been through. Thankfully I’ve got strong people around me who make me stronger, and together without realising it, have come up with this list to make yourself feel better when you feel that moment of darkness start to creep over you. The list below won’t solve your problems but they’ll hopefully help you feel better – without coming across as patronising – and learn to love life, because trust me, feeling better is easier than you think.
1. Breathe. Believe it or not, this is so important. It’s also something we all forget to do and it’s funny that we have to be reminded to do. When you feel panicked, angry or upset, just breathe. Take a deep breath in, and slowly breathe out. I never used to breathe through my nose but when I started Bikram Yoga they tell you to spend the 90 minute-class just breathing through your nose. Deeply and slowly. I do it now when I know a feeling is building up inside me and in a minute or so, I can feel myself calming down. It’s so easy, just breathe.
2. Delete your “friends”. You know those 3,000 friends you have on Facebook. Do you really need them all? No. Delete them. Keep the people you actually care about and communicate with. Ditch the girl who’s oh so beautiful and knows it (through the hundreds of #selfie profile pics), that guy met at that bar that one time, and the work friend from like three jobs ago you only accepted because they were sitting next to you at the time you received the friend request and you couldn’t decline in front of them. This applies in the non virtual world too, delete those who don’t have a positive impact on your life.
3. Look around you. A wise friend once told me when I was feeling low that it’s so easy to doubt yourself and your worth, but look at the people around you. If you have a partner, look at them. This person is with you because they love you. Yes you can be annoying, whiny and selfish but they’re still with you because they love you for you. Your friends are the same, they’re your friends because they see something in you they like to be around. You’ll argue and p*ss each other off but at the end of the day you’ll still find yourself laughing together.
4. Listen to that song. “If music be the food of love, play on,” wrote Shakespeare. Wise man. Music means a lot to all of us and can change whatever mood we’re in. A manager in an old job he knew I didn’t like suggested I listen to upbeat music first thing in the morning on the way to work. He said it’ll put you in a good mood for work. It’s true, it somehow makes you feel like you have more energy. What also helps is to listen to that song. You know, the one you skip every time it comes on shuffle, the one you don’t want to listen to because it’ll evoke some old feelings you don’t want to feel. Well, you never know it might do you some good. Like I’ve said, I often can’t bring myself to listen to The Old Man by The Fureys because it reminds me of my Dad. But once when packed on a train the song came on, I didn’t have enough room to move my hand to press skip on my phone, all I could do was stand there and listen to it. As a tear ran down my cheek, I instantly felt relieved listening to the lyrics and smooth Irish music that I felt like my Dad was with me and put me at ease. The feelings I had trying to avoid the song seemed silly and I’m glad I listened to it. Don’t be afraid of reliving feelings through a song.
5. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become. I came across this cartoon on Twitter which instantly hit a nerve, a good nerve mind. When I was younger I always wanted to be a writer. Fear got in the way and I came up with excuses as to why I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I then realised that I wouldn’t get where I wanted if I didn’t put myself out there and go for it. Now, I’m writing this blog and I’ve got my dream job as a journalist.
7. Don’t be afraid to say no. If you want something, go for it. What’s stopping you? The word no? There are ways around it, if you work hard enough you’ll see that. If people are piling too much pressure on you with or without them realising it, whether it be at work, relationships or just in general, don’t be afraid to stand up and say no. If for example you need a Saturday to just sit at home, watch the entire last season of Breaking Bad huddled over a bowl of popcorn by yourself and then someone invites you out, rather than feel guilty, just say no if you want to. It’s not the end of the world. You need to make your own choices and saying no is allowed to be one of them.
8. Learn how to accept compliments. As much as I want to be complimented I can’t stand it. I feel awkward and never know how to respond. Just say thank you and ACCEPT the compliment. Learning to accept compliments instead of brushing them off will definitely help you feel good about yourself. You need to be recognised for your worth and your hard work. It should feel good when someone says something nice and not expect anything in return. So buck up and just say thanks. ALSO, it’s worth complimenting others. You’ll feel great about it, and so will they.
9. Watch or read something inspiring. This sounds so cliched but it works. I could spend hours on thoughtcatalog.com because the writers on there are so hilarious, so honest and so inspiring. If you have a favourite film, stick it on. Anything from Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption or Bridget Jones, will make you laugh, smile or cry, and you’ll feel better for releasing your feelings into the emotion of the film.
10. Sleep. As obvious and patronising as it is to tell someone to breathe, it’s also needed as much. I guarantee you’ll do more good getting that extra hour sleep rather than stay up watching that last episode of Dexter (I can’t believe I just said that either). It is true what they say about beauty sleep. Not only will your skin look better, you’ll feel better and your limbs won’t feel so heavy as you stomp around the office in a bad mood. Go to sleep at a decent time, and wake up at one too.
If all else fails, just listen to this song: Eye of the tiger.
Thanks, Annie, for letting us share your blog post!