Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pursuing Happiness

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!! Happy 4th of July!

I had a really great weekend over the 4th of July. It was low-key and pleasant throughout the weekend, and I really had a great time visiting with my family. Fireworks were exciting as some of them seemed intent on setting us on fire, but that was fun too, in an adrenaline sort of way! Then, I took Tuesday off of all of my jobs, and Will and I went to the movies.

I *love* going to the movies. I love the theater, I love the whole experience, and I love previews. Overall, it was a really good day.

While out at my parents house, I went swimming with my sister and then my mom. I realized that I need to be out in the sun more. I think that being out in the sun helped make me happier – I have a vitamin D deficiency and when I was swimming my body was just so pleased with the sunlight. I have decided that every Monday when I visit them I am going to swim for at least an hour, out in the sun. It really does recharge my batteries.

Since I have had clinical depression since high school, I tend toward the negative in things, something I have fought hard against with low to middling results, but I get better at it every year. The past two years have been unusually rough ones, yet out of the rough times comes an even greater need to pursue my happiness. Otherwise, I may get lost in the unhappiness, and that would be bad.

Lately, my batteries have been pretty low and so has my mood. I’ve been working a lot – currently I have 4 jobs I am juggling, not counting HPing DST or any of the blogs I keep up with. I think I spent most of May and June just working and sleeping, and I’ve realized that this is no way to live. My epiphany this weekend was that I need to actively pursue my own happiness and I have to have one day off from everything a week.

With the goal of pursuing my own happiness in mind, I’ve decided that on Tuesdays I am going to unplug my phone, hang out with Will, and go to the movies. The movies are fun for me, and I am always disappointed that I don’t see more movies in the theater. Well, that is easy enough to change by simply going more often. Yesterday we went to see the A-Team, which was cheesy good fun just like the tv series and very enjoyable. As Will said, in the previews they showed them flying a tank and that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the movie.

It is easy to dwell on the things that make us unhappy, but I think instead we should dwell on the things that make us happy. Active pursuit of happiness in its myriad forms may not be always be easy, and we all feel guilt for doing things just for ourselves, but I think that if you are not pursuing happiness in your life, what’s the point? So I have decided to do the following:

  • Be out in the sun more – it really does give you a boost even when it is miserably hot outside. 20-40 minutes a day, with swimming on Monday should work well for this purpose. Although, I am going to need some sunblock.
  • Movie Tuesday – Every Tuesday I am going to go to the movies with Will. He loves the movies as much as I do, and if I am going, he wants to go, too. I think that going to the movies regularly is going to help us both and it will be a regular date night for us. I like Will and I like doing things with him, so this will be happy making on multiple levels. Also, Will needs one day off a week, too, and my sincere hope is that this will help him be happy as well.
  • Exercise – I really hate this one as I am naturally lazy, but man, exercise really does give you that emotional boost. That said, I think I will stick with my treadmill until it gets a bit cooler. Fall and Spring are great for bike rides, though, so I think I may spend my 20-40 minutes outdoors on my bicycle during the cooler months.
  • Attitude – We worked with Ra for Litha, and one of the things that we were advised to do was throw our problems into the sun. Release the negative to be burned away and keep the positive. Now, this will be the hardest one to follow, but the most important step. For example, say during the implementation of Tuesday Movie Day we get cut off in traffic or something along those lines, instead of focusing on that negative thing, focus on the positive things in the day. Our thoughts do a great deal to manifest things in our lives, so negativity begets negativity but the reverse is also true. Pessimism may be more accurate, but optimists sure seem like happier people, don’t they?
  • Spirituality – Forgive and move on. There are numerous meditations, rituals, and exercises that can help you release the negativity from hurts of the past. Most of them involve forgiving yourself and others for various hurts in your life. Releasing this stored anger is freeing and it helps promote a healthier and happier you. I’ve found that forgiveness work really does help with a variety of things. I’ve made amends where needed for wrongs I’ve committed and I’ve let go of those wrongs committed against me. It was a lot easier than I expected it to be and so much opened up once I did this. You get see the world in a new way when you aren’t carrying around every single hurt from the past. Learn from the past hurts, but release the anger and resentment attached to these lessons. Purging stored negativity from the past is good for the soul!

I think the hardest thing for me has been deciding to put myself first. However, there is no way I can help others if I am a wreck, so the first step is to take care of me, and then take care of others. Too often we get the order confused and try to take care of others when we aren’t really even taking care of ourselves. To quote Buffy, the first rule of slaying is don’t die – and that is a good metaphor to follow.

I’m sure there are many ways to pursue happiness and each of us have different methods. What do you do to actively pursue your own happiness?

1 comment:

  1. I am at a similar point in life where I know there are certain steps I need to take and activities to involve myself in in order to lead a happier, healthier life. Amongst those are excercise, meditation, writing and being outdoors more often. Another thing is to be outside more at night as this is my favorite time of day and I feel more alive, peaceful and energized (this step is difficult as I work from 8AM-5PM and wake up every morning at 6). I have for many years made it a point to go to the movies at least once a week and usually on Saturdays with my mom : ) I let go of the guilt long ago that's associated with doing things to make me happy. I often tell people that I have a wonderful life and I cannot complain.

    I hope you take the time for yourself and find it to be rejuvinating and incredibly beneficial. I will be motivating myself out of my own laziness so that I can improve the quality of my already beautiful life. : ) Good Luck!