(Scroll to the bottom for happy, healthy habits)
A master sequence for short-term happiness:
- What’s that sound?
- Pen to paper.
- Repeat 1 & 3.
Water– It will get your body working. I also feel as though if I drink a glass of water than the slate is wiped clean. I can no longer taste my lunch in my mouth and my insides feel happy. The little physical sensations translate to the mind. A new start in which you are no longer held back by what you were just feeling or any expectations on you. You feel new, even just for a second but that gives you hope to keep going.
Stretch– So underrated and I even think it’s not worth it sometimes. IT IS! Like the water, it gets your body moving and I tend to find when I’m sad my body is way less flexible than usual. As a result, the satisfaction in stretching is so high. Getting away from the tense muscles and feeling more ‘airy’. It also helps to breathe whilst you do so, loud enough to hear for yourself.
Tea– It’s warm, it requires a sequence to make and there are many to fit your taste. Not to mention 90% of them are so good for you so you should have one even when you are happy. But the warmth, it is like a hug. A hug without the human contact, nothing comparable to a purring kitty, but nonetheless better than human contact when you just want to be alone. Most of the time when I make tea when I’m sad I don’t drink it. I just have it next to me, the steam is calming and gives movement to the deadness around me. What’s more is that the sequence is therapeutic, requires you to move. Often I find myself so caught up in negative thoughts I refuse to move, but if I have a thought of having tea to accompany this intense thinking than I end up moving and making one because it doesn’t ask anything of me. I never go back to the same place and return to those thoughts. Once you’re up, don’t go back.
Listen– Ties perfectly in with the tea. Listen and be mindful (a whole other practise to research if there is an ongoing dark cloud), being present in the moment. The kettle will make noise when it boils and you know soon you will be comforted and somewhat more relaxed, allow yourself to hear the clattering of the cup and the touch of the cupboard door. I find it to be the most calming routine.
Pen to paper– Write, draw, scribble, talk to yourself. Just do something active to get it out. Typing may work but for me, it doesn’t. Physical pen to paper. Write about the weather or list all the colours you can see in front of you and around your room. Whatever, just get any kind of thought out and your brain will start to make sense again. I don’t know why, it just does. It’s short-term, we don’t need to know why. We just need to feel better.
Tidy– The area around you mimics your brain. Make that clearer, your mind will be clearer. I find comfort in reorganising whenever I’m sad. The new space created from moving something somewhere else reminds me to be calm, if I can do it physically then I most certainly can do it mentally. It requires a sit down and time but so does the physical. Try to mirror your mental ambitions with your physical environment.
Rest– Have a cat nap, focus on your breathing, listen to relaxing sounds (App: Relax Melodies. They have a relaxation beat which speaks to your subconscious and is not very noticeable), even go on your phone. Scroll for a bit and escape, allow yourself that time and get out of intense feelings. We need to rest and because of this societal notion of ‘productivity’ and the need to be constantly on the ball, no one ever really does. Caught up in thought of a world not natural, one we have constructed. This even evades our sleep at night-time if we do not take other time to rest. It’s important.
More tea and water – Find comfort in healthy habits. Those who know me know that tea is my solace and the absolute best solution to clear my mind, to then approach something ahead of me. The association attached to these habits are important, like the placebo: if you think you will be better after a cup of tea, you will be. I always accompany my teacup with a glass of water. Hydration just sorts everything out. If you’ve never heard it on the internet before than take my word for it.
List– To ease things, making a to-do list is helpful. I like to write it in a journal to shut away or simply on a piece of paper to then recycle afterwards. The reason for this is because you don’t need a set of things to do before you are happy and relieving stress of one thing may not make your happiness flow. However, the action categorises our thought and lets us know of what we need to do, allowing ourselves to take the time out knowing we will not get lost because we will have this list to direct us when we are well again.
- Find comfort in something like tea. Pick-me-ups are important, similar to ‘secret shifters’ in The Secret.
- Laundry. Gives more purpose to the day and something to look forward to when it is done. The most effective is stripping the bed, excited to sleep at night and the ironing takes up time where you can relax and think too.
- Sit in a chair. Don’t rely on your bed when you’re sad for it to become something of the every day whenever you feel a bit down. You know the bed is a trap, do not fall for it.
- Look at your feet. Reminding yourself of your body and the reality around you.
- Wiggle your toes and fingers when you are tired and/or anxious.
- Drink a glass of water or make a tea first thing. This will help you plan your day and have a routine to get out of bed, even if you have nothing planned or just want to chill.
- Always keep a glass of water around you. Refill as soon as it becomes empty as a way to keep yourself hydrated.
- Refrain from meat. Expected of the environmentalist, but going from eating meat everyday to never, I feel the difference in my body. It feels cleaner. (This isn’t for everybody but try it for one day or perhaps a few)
- Try swaying yourself off of your phone. Hide it, delete apps. You’ll re-download them most likely but the action of doing so gives you an idea of how much you rely on it. How much you use it when you could be doing something else. How much it is part of you going by how many times you download it again. This provokes mindfulness and control for you have to rationalise why the security apps such as Instagram, are not there and then remind yourself of why you deleted it. I do this many times in a month since about last year and only use one app regularly. It sounds silly and tiresome but it does help.