I'm from the richest part of the world where human rights are respected and everything is as good as it can get in current society (except the weather!!!). And, yet I have never lived a December seeing so much suffering among my loved ones and their families. I decided to write at this merry time a bit about something that is not joyous, but crucially important. I write about happiness, but while writing about that, I also write about the lack of it, so loneliness, sadness and depression, stop hiding!
This sad looking donkey took a long way to walk to greet us in Crete near Imbros george entrance. No matter the sad look on it's face it seemed to have a quite happy life there in the mountains. There is always more than the appearance.
During the holiday times loneliness comes out especially well, even if there is people around and during the dark days of winter the sadness creeps in. It can happen to anyone, because these emotions are part of being human. I have seen it happen to people who were diagnosed by doctors that they can't develop depression because of their brain chemistry. And I have seen people, who are the brightest stars of the joy sky, fall into the deep darkness. If there are no tools to deal with sadness or if the dark times just last too long, depression is not far away and it is serious illness, that always requires therapy and at times medicines. If you are in doubt that you might suffer from depression, always seek professional help.
The most exciting research in mental health involves how to prevent mental illness in the first place. In fact, many mental illnesses, even those like schizophrenia that have demonstrable genetic origins, can be stopped or at least contained before they start. More about it you can read here.
While I'm not a professional on the mental health or happiness, I want to share some actions that I take to make my days joyful and myself happier. We spend most or our lives learning to be unhappy, maybe you can learn some tips from these down below, how to be happy.
1. I sleep 8-9 hours a night. If that is impossible, then I try to rest more during the day. If that is impossible, then I make sure that during that week I have 1 chill day, with no commitments.
2. I mostly eat food that is good for the body.
3. I learn to know my body, breaking out of these condemnations that has been given to me by others, while I was kid in school or at training, that have no ground for what so ever. For example that my body is slow, has no good balance, not flexible enough, etc. Like these things would be permanent disability.
4. I keep in mind that also the bad moments finally end.
5. I train my mind. People spend surprisingly little time to what matters the most and is determine our quality of life. Compared how much time we spend on fitness or beauty, spending time training our mind, is close to nothing.
6. I stop at rainbow moments, when I feel that I'm completely present.
7. I take care of my important relationships. I try even when I'm far away from them.
8. I'm nice to customer service personel. They have nothing to do with me having a bad day. Mostly while being nice people are nice back to you, so bad day can turn better.
9. In my everyday life I do something that I enjoy that has nothing to do with my job, or would be any other way important, than me enjoying it.
10. Humans get feelings of success while they achieve something. Not achieving something desired can lead to quitting or even depression, it is very important to focus on the journey. When I have big goals, I define clear milestones on the road that create also feelings of success, happiness and these motivate me. But most importantly if I enjoy the road to my goal, it's not so crucial to my personal well being anymore if I hit or miss the goal, as I have found the happiness on the road. I have power to get up and start again, like a baby learning to walk. It's good to keep in mind that not achieving something we want can also make us happy, it might not be what we need into our life after all.
Think about what you wanted to have 10 years back, what were your dreams, like "if I have this then I will be happy"? Do you have some of it now? Are you happy because of it?
Last evening by the Chania lighthouse looking at the sunset and each other.
Humans have a tendency to think about the future that tomorrow is like today, while it isn't true. We also rely on our intuition a lot on things that we should not. Intuition might not serve us anymore in this world, society, that we have created. Knowledge does. Everything person is afraid of gets exaggerated in her/his mind and easily all she/he can see in the future is danger. But if you have fact based worldview of today, you might have a hunch what is coming tomorrow.
More about interesting facts about happiness you can find here on these TED talks. Have a happy holiday season!
Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness
Srikumar Rao: Plug into your hard-wired happiness