You Could Be Happier

Recently I’ve tried to take steps to be happier in my everyday life rather than just looking forward to something. I want to wake up and look forward to each day with a new perspective. Losing my friend to suicide has somehow challenged me in my own life to live, and not just for him, but for myself and for those around me.
I’ve been researching what it takes to be happier and I’ve never really done this before because I’m used to being up and down in my emotions. I would have bad days emotionally all the time, but before losing my friend I would look at the end of my day and measure it by, “Is everyone I know still alive? Yes, today was a good day.” However, throughout my day I would just go into zombie mode, not really living, I was pretty much just existing.
I’ve taken a few steps each day to try and make it a little different in hopes to be a happier version of me. I’ve listed them here in no particular order. 🙂
1. Limit yourself.
One of the things I did was set a time limit with the new iOS 12 update that was just released. I don’t allow myself to go over an hour of social media per day and honestly, that still seems like a lot of time, but I try to only use it to respond to people. Okay, I did extend it a few times this week, maybe three times. I really had to see what people were posting about the new episode of American Horror Story on Wednesday!
2. Take 15 minutes a day to do something you love.
I love to write. Am I good at writing? I don’t think so, but it’s something that I have loved to do ever since I was a kid. Even in college, I hand-wrote a chapter to some cheese ball vampire book that I wanted to write. (This was around the twilight time okay? Don’t judge me, but I completely understand if you do!)
3. Be grateful.
I can imagine that this would sound silly for someone struggling with depression and it is hard, trust me I know it is. I am a constant complainer and I’m always looking for reasons to be unhappy, however, I’m not 100% sure that I’ve struggled with clinical depression so I can’t speak for everyone. I do know that this is something I have struggled with my whole life and I recently downloaded an app called Five-Minute Journal. At the beginning of the day you’ll get a notification and for the start of your day it has you list three things you are grateful for. This has been difficult, but I know it’s working because each day isn’t something I dread like I used to. I’ve also realized, I have tons to be grateful for. It has you log the end of your day too and ask you to list three amazing things that happened that day. I’ve actually put in, “I’m still alive” as one of the amazing things. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. I’m still here and I believe there is a purpose for me.
4. Check on a friend.
I have gotten caught up in my own life and have failed to see what was going on around me. “Me, me, me!” all the time isn’t the best life to live, especially if you struggled with depression, at least I think so. This helps get your eyes off yourself. Reaching out to my friends has helped me a lot lately and I want to make sure they are okay. I will ask if they need anything or just need company. I want to be there for people more and being off social media has helped me a lot in this area.
5. Pray.
Now if you don’t believe in a higher power then maybe you can meditate or take time to jot down your thoughts for that day. I’ll go on walks and say my prayers instead of taking a smoke break as others do at my job (plus, I don’t smoke). I will recall what my kids from church asked for prayers for and I’ll say them as I walk, and pray for my friends and family too. This gives me peace.
6. Surround yourself.
Reading that alone might not make any sense at all, but what I mean is – what do you desire? What do you want to do? Do you want to lose weight, become a writer, singer? Surround yourself with people that have done those things. Listen to people who have done those things! Read more about people who have achieved those things! Everything can seem impossible to us especially when it’s something we strongly desire but don’t know how to get to it. How is it that there are people who have actually done the things we think are impossible? Because it is.
7. Let it out.
I haven’t practiced this one fully yet, but I have a reminder set for it and I’ve read this from multiple people. Set a time to let it all out. Give yourself five minutes to be completely and utterly miserable, really pour your energy into it. I’ve been reading “Girl, wash your face” by Rachel Hollis and if you haven’t read it and want to then skip this part. Rachel shares how she lost her brother to suicide and her therapist suggested that she give herself five minutes a day to recall the events and then be done with it for the day. Rachel was constantly having nightmares after discovering her brother and said this method help her tremendously. I didn’t discover my friend’s body, and I’m thankful for that, but I did have the week repeating on a loop in my mind. Writing has helped it go away, but I look forward to trying this method to help me heal.
If you have taken the time to read this, I thank you and hope it helps you in some way! Have a great weekend! 🙂
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Home In Your Heart

I’ve stumbled across a band, Elephant Revival while listening to St. Cinder on Spotify. Typically when Spotify decides to add on songs that sound similar, they don’t always work out, but this time they had my attention. The lyrics in Home In Your Heart by Elephant Revival felt comforting. Just working a typical 9-5 and I have Spotify to trick myself into believing I’m not actually working, not that I dread coming to work, but life has its way of being monotonous.

The lyrics were beautiful, and the first line is something I think everyone can relate to at some point in their lives:

Falling down, Spin me ’round. No one said this would be easy now, But you’ve gotta keep moving somehow.

I’m at that age in life, friends with kids, friends engaged, and then there’s me; single, graduated, not fully in a career. I don’t hate that I’m not with kids or a significant other, but it definitely feels like a confusing time, especially when I see others my age with a full on career and family. Back to the music. Elephant Revival gives off a folky vibe, but not necessarily a Mumford & Sons type, more like you’re chilling at a local bar and they come on and you wonder to yourself why you hadn’t heard them before. Doing some quick research on the band and come to find they are on a hiatus to re-focus on their family, themselves, and what they believe in. You can really hear it in their music, their passion for their loved ones, and for what they do. On their site, they have their intro titled – “WHERE WORDS FAIL…MUSIC SPEAKS”- when it comes to music and why I often find myself searching for new bands, it’s in hope of finding something I can relate to. There have been times in my life that I don’t have the right words to say, but then I find music, I can’t explain it, but can hear it and it’s perfect. I hope they take all the time they need and until they come back, I’ll be listening to their beautiful banjo music.

Link for more info on Elephant Revival: http://www.elephantrevival.com

 

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Please Read: We Could Help Each Other

Sara in LaLaLand

It is crazy how quickly you can click with some people. This is precisely what happened between myself and a fellow blogger here on WordPress.

I recently met Southern Musician and we chatted and got to know each other a little over a couple of days and Southern came up with a wonderful idea of starting a mental health support group. I was keen on this idea and was very interested in being part of it. We discussed and decided on a platform to host this group and it is now up and running.

The platform we decided on is called Discord. It is an app of sorts, quite like Skype, but with far more features. It gives us the option to categorise chat rooms and voice chat rooms, so there is something for everybody. I know that there will be many of you who will not have heard of…

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Dreams

backlit blur close up dawn
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Get over it already.”

That’s what my mom said to me a few days ago after I woke from a dream about my friend Stephen

. I shared Stephen in previous post, seven weeks ago he took his life after knowing him for ten years. In the dream he was alive, which I hear is something not a lot of people experience once a loved one has passed. He seemed stressed and sad, I imagine this is what he looked like the last few months, but I wouldn’t know because I didn’t go see him. He was telling me he had to find a job to make his parents happy, he always wanted to make them happy. His parents are hard-workers, but they told me they are slowing down some. Stephen’s dad has always worked 60+ hours and he would tell me he wanted to be just like him. In my dream I knew he was going to take his life and was trying to prevent that.

Stephen was saying he had to move to Houston for the job and I told him I would go with him and it made him happy. I remember saying my resume sucked and he that wasn’t true and it’s one of the best. Funny because I’m currently looking for a new job and it’s been a struggle.

By the end of the dream I knew he hadn’t taken his life.

It skipped time somehow, because it’s a dream and it can do that, and I saw a lady reading an obituary, she said her husband took his life. I looked down at the obituary and it was Stephen’s face. It was the strangest thing, but when I woke up I realized that there was nothing I could have done. As I was telling my mom about it, I just started to cry. I didn’t mean to and it definitely doesn’t hurt like it first did, but it does hurt. I’ve been keeping myself busy, but it’s all just a big healing process isn’t it?

My mom has experienced a lot of loss in her life and I don’t hold her reaction against her one bit. I just hope she can change it somehow. I run head first into pain that comes my way and I know most people don’t like to do that. It’s easier to build up a wall and not let anything phase you, I’ve been there, and I’ve done that at times. I just know that it doesn’t work. If I don’t allow myself to experience the whirlwind of emotions I have from this loss in my life, I’ll retreat from life, and not the good kind either.

Time Does Not Have Me

“I have time, time does not have me.” – Stephen Aerts

My friend said this quote above, I think that’s awesome. I googled it to see if anything would come up, thinking maybe he got it from somewhere else. Nothing. Lately, I’ve been trying to create more time for myself. It’s easy to get sucked into meaningless things of this world, from my first thoughts in the morning, until I lay my head down at night. What was the first thing I did this morning? Social Media. What did it do? Made me mad. Simple as that. There goes about 30 minutes of my life that was wasted being mad at someone I have never even met in person. It’s pretty crazy. I have to really keep myself on a tight leash when it comes to how I manage my time. If I’m not careful I’ll let myself waste away doing things that don’t really matter. Does this blog post matter? Nah, not to everyone, but it does to me. I love to write and it’s an important part in keeping me sane. I wonder if other writers can relate?

I notice I click on my phone quite a bit, just to see it lights up still I guess. Hoping I have a text from someone that I’ve messaged numerous times, and yet still nothing. I was listening to a podcast today called The Beautiful Writer’s Group and they had Tom Hanks on. I didn’t even know that he wrote a book, but he got my attention. He said he opens the Washington Post app on his phone constantly, but he doesn’t even read a single article. It’s like we do this thing out of habit. It’s really disturbing in a way to think we put so much into these devices. I can’t even count how many times this tiny device has caused me a whirlwind of emotions without me having to hear someone say anything or actually talk to someone. I don’t want to keep giving this my energy, not when I could be doing something better with my time, for myself. It’s sad to think that I haven’t really challenged myself much. I hope it’s not too late to start.

Bitter or Better

I can remember sitting in Family Christian Bookstore by my house seven years ago, I went alone and I came across a book with just quotes in it. I took a photo of a page that was red and it said, “We are going to suffer. And it is going to shape us. We will become bitter or better.” This year I have been thinking about that quote a lot, even before losing my friend. I’d walk around thinking to myself, “Bitter or Better.” I knew that I had become bitter since the day I took this photo seven years ago. I was only 19 at the time. I was carefree and I had hope for a big future, but only to an extent. I had a vision of what I thought I wanted out of life, but I put a limit on God. I struggled with my self-worth a lot. Any church event I would go to people would come up to me and hug me and tell me that I had value. I would ignore them and act as if I didn’t know what they meant, I tried to act like I had it all together. But I never wanted to be noticed. Ever. I would wear hoodies and only stick close to about two people. I didn’t want to let people in, I found when I did that, then I would get hurt. I loved Jesus, but not his people, not enough to get to know any new ones anyways.

Since losing Stephen, I decided that yes, people will hurt me, but I can’t be afraid to let them in. I have had friends for four years that never met my best friends, and I never really let them know a lot about me. This weekend I went on a road trip with a few friends and I let myself open up, I talked A LOT, which has always been easy for me to do, but only with certain people. I figured they were going to either want to still be my friend after the trip or think, “We are never hanging out with her again…” I was happy when they said we should hang out more. Why? Because I am a little strange, honestly! Plus, I’m pretty random and well, I’ll say…quirky. Lol But I’ve always struggled with letting people see me like this, I stay more reserved even though that’s not really how I am.

For my sake, and my family and friends, I have got to let this situation make me better. I was so bitter living each day, and miserable. I forgot to find joy in the little moments because I was too busy thinking things should be different. I was looking at all of these circumstances in my life and using them as a crutch to not move forward when in reality, I wasn’t moving forward because of me. I was holding my own life back and I’ve decided I won’t be doing that anymore. I owe it to myself and to my friend, to live.165782_10150351002915467_345018_n

The Art of writing

Cristian Mihai

I don’t write as much as I used to. To be honest, I don’t know why that happened. Or how. Don’t you find it frustrating that we live in a world that makes it almost impossible to admit that you don’t know something?

I don’t know why I don’t write as much as I used to. Yes, I write blog posts. On two different blogs. But those have become an almost subconscious habit. It’s scary in a way. I can write blog posts anywhere, anytime, no matter the conditions, my mood… I can write anywhere.

It is scary because I used to approach writing with a lot more respect and admiration. As if it were magic. Don’t get me wrong, words are magic. If you use the right words in just the right order, you can change the world a bit. But my words are no longer magic. My words…

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