So I saw a great headline this morning; “Give up these things and You’ll be a happier person.” This type of headline is clickbait for me. I love a list, and I’m always up for suggestions to improve my happiness. We’re day to day in a state of uncertainty because of covid, and lockdowns have suspended the activities that we enjoy. If sometimes people get the blues, I think right now we’ve all got the Greys. So I’m going to take us through the list of ways to improve our happiness. I can either adopt the tips and be happier, or I can shoot them down in a sarcastic way, which also makes me happy. Win Win.
Tips one and two are to stop dwelling on the past and on the future. Well, Lockdowns have certainly helped with that. The whole last year has basically been a formless void of time. I can no longer accurately pinpoint when things happened in my past. As for the future, conditions are changing so frequently that its pointless to make plans. The future will happen in it’s own time and we can deal with it as it comes. I’ve already fully adopted tips one and two.
Tips three and four; Give up obsession with material objects and Stop trying to be someone your not. I feel like these two are linked as we often acquire material objects to create a persona or lifestyle we think we should be projecting. Lockdown eliminated shopping as a recreational activity, and stay at home orders let us all get to know and accept ourselves like nothing else could. With no one to compare ourselves to and no one to show off for, we all got to just be ourselves. It definitely took some pressure off, easing a burden we didn’t realise we were carrying, and will hopefully will not take up again.
There’s a few more things on the list along those lines, Stop comparing yourself to others, Stop seeking the approval of others… I feel like they’re trying to pad out the list. They also say ‘Give up Negative influences’. If those influences are people… Thank you Lockdown!
Give up procrastinating and making excuses. Again, Lockdown has helped with these. Living alone, there was no one to blame or to make excuses to. No point in procrastinating as there was no one else to do the chore I was avoiding. I realise now that we put more energy into excuses and avoidance than the actual task requires. It is genuinely easier just to take responsibility.
Give up ‘Looking for Happiness’ and ‘Never giving up.’ This is a good one, and one I figured out a few years ago. Searching for certain specific things to make you happy, convincing yourself you need these things to be perfectly happy means you may miss out on all the things that can make you imperfectly happy.
There’s a BBC radio show called Cabin Pressure. In the episode ‘Fitton’ one character describes himself as being often perfectly happy.
DOUGLAS: Oh, well, come on. No-one’s truly happy.
ARTHUR: I’m truly happy!
MARTIN: Oh God.
DOUGLAS: No, Arthur; you are cheery. No-one’s interested in the secret of true cheeriness.
ARTHUR: No, that’s not true. I’m fairly often just completely happy. Like, for instance, when you get into a bath quickly and it’s just the right temperature, and you go … (blissfully) … “Ohhhh!” I mean, no-one really gets any happier than that.
MARTIN: What a depressing thought.
ARTHUR: No! No, it’s not, though! Because those sort of things happen all the time, whereas you’re hardly ever – you know – blissfully happy with the love of your life in the moonlight; and when you are, you’re too busy worrying about it being over soon. Whereas the bath moments – there’s loads of those!
I’m not currently looking for true love. I may find it, and that’s great. I may not, and I can still be happy without it.
Next tip: Stop Apologising all the time. Well, that’s just Un-Canadian.
Give Up Smoking. No Problem.
Give up Coffee. Aw hell no! Forget it! I will choose coffee over happiness!