I have written a lot things about the art of being happy, and read 10 times more than what I’ve wrote. The conclusions that I had drawn to in the past were what had worked for me. What works for me is due to my life experiences and meeting with the right tool at the right time.
In the past all I used to hear was CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) was the way to go for anxiety and/or depression. Now it’s mindfulness. Although I believe that these suggestions are coming from the right place, I have to ask when a suggestion is made for someones mental health is it one size fits all? We have to use the toolbox provided to us, and know which one is the best for which person and which situation.
The Toolbox I have so far:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – This is used to help a person understand that it isn’t necessarily the situation that is upsetting. It is the person’s interpretation of that situation of that situation that is causing the stress/anxiety/depression. Please read more here. Some great grounding questions from Tara Brach:
- “What is true now?
- What is asking for attention?
- What is asking for acceptance?”
- Mindfulness – This is all about being in the present moment, and reconnecting with our bodies, sights, smells, touch etc. For example when we are in the shower we are actually in the shower, and not thinking about the meeting we have later on. With mindfulness we are able to bring ourselves back into the present moment. This helps us notice our thoughts as a “good” or “bad” thought, rather than becoming emotionally invested. This is normally achieved by meditation.
- Flow – Some theorist state that to question whether you are happy, means that you are effectively not happy. If you are happy you are in the flow of the world. For example if you are playing the piano (painting, listening to podcasts, reading etc), you are not thinking about money troubles or if you are hungry. You are simply in “flow”.
- Nature – I cannot put into words why this works, but being outside makes me feel peaceful. When I don’t see a soul and I’m out on the hills, I oddly let my thoughts wash off me. I often think that the more effort you put into your happiness, the more you will get back.
- Less interaction with Technology – Anyone will recommend that you should have social media timing locks on your phone (you can access this in your settings). Turn your sound and vibration notification off if you can (trust me you will still see it light up). Leave your phone out of the room if you are watching a film. Do you ever look up and realise you have just spent half an hour on instagram? That’s time you will never get back.
Some of the above might not work for you. But that doesn’t mean you should completely give up. There are other areas you can try (such as counselling, peer support therapy e.g. mind or frazzled). Keep trying till you find one that fits. After a while you might be like me and just not give a fuck….But in a good way