Published in Mental Health - 3 mins to read

As usual, I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately, what it is, how to get it. The thing that really strikes me is how complicated it seems to me, and how frustrating that is given some people seem to be able to intuit it so well. Perhaps it is only if you are unhappy that it feels like this, but there are so many moving parts to happiness, so many factors to consider when trying to plot your course towards inner peace.

Eat healthily so you nourish your body, but enjoy the food you eat as well, and don’t feel like you’re restricting yourself. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you, and feed off their energy, but take time alone to soothe yourself, don’t give more than you get in your relationships, don’t let your self-worth be tied up by someone else’s opinion. Be open and honest with your feelings, even if you are terrified and ashamed off them. Set healthy boundaries, even if nobody ever taught you how. Meditate. Medicate - but only with whatever the doctor prescribes you. Take time to introspect and learn about yourself, so you understand the source of your own unhappiness better - but don’t overthink things. Live in the present, but remember the past and plan for the future. Invest in your career so you can find fulfillment in mastery of your chosen area as well as enjoy financial security. Try new things, read more books, spend more time outside. Build your “support network” - even if the nature of the support desired and or required is ambiguous to both you and the members of your network. Invest in your old friendships but make new ones too. See a therapist, but not if you have already seen a therapist plenty before and it hasn’t had a positive impact. Put more effort into your appearance, including changing your body, but learn to love yourself the way you are too. Surround yourself with positivity, even if all you can output is negativity. Travel the world to gain a new perspective, and hope that your problems won’t follow you. Remove yourself from social media, even if that makes you the odd one out. “Be kind to yourself” - another phrase that’s easy to say to someone yet far harder to explain the practical ramifications of. Write your feelings down in your journal every day. Read affirmations to yourself every morning in the mirror. Learn something every day. Be curious about other people. Get involved in your local community. Do something to help others. Educate yourself on social and political issues. Find a “purpose”. Focus on your breath, realise nothing else matters, understand that all you have is this moment and you have a choice whether or not to be happy in it.

I don’t know. As always, I think I am pretty clearly overcomplicating things. From everything I can tell about other people’s happiness, it seems a lot simpler.