I'm a newbie, and so excited to be posting for the first time ever! I only started reading Maidens for Mary a tiny bit ago, but some excellent persons who run this blog happen to be my very good friends, so here I am ;)
A little bit about me:
My name is Amelia, and I am a homeschooled sophomore in high school. Like many Catholic homeschoolers, I have a large family: I am the oldest of eight. I am an ENFJ, except that I also love to be by myself (which would make me an introvert? idk tho, cuz I love my peeps...) okay, I guess I'm both xD - I love just about everything under the sun, from basketball to drawing to playing the ukulele to cats to clouds to traveling to photography to writing to...you get the point.
So our topic for today is.....
How To Be Happy!!! (**And it kind of doubles as a "beating procrastination" guide**) :D
I have noticed, whenever I'm out and about in the public world or on social media, that people seem kind of...sad. A lot of teens out there tend to have that lost, hopeless vibe.
Here's an example. I recently entered a local art contest, entering a drawing of my grandparents, a cool abstract acrylic, and a photo of my adorable little sister doing chalk. When I went to enter, I immediately realized how different my art was from everybody else's. Next to me was a large oil of a girl, pulling down an eyelid in a gesture of stress, giant puzzle pieces falling about her. On the other side was an inky figure falling, falling through a maze of lasers.
Kind of weird, right? In a depressing way.
But you know what? I have bad days too. Sometimes I feel like I'm falling through a laser maze. When I'm procrastinating and the sky is grey and the house is a chaotic mess, I get depressed and irritable. Sometimes I just sink into complete lethargy and apathy. Like I hate everything in my life and I am just so annoyed and I hate school and the kids are being so loud and I have nothing to look forward to and this day was so bad and blah blah blah.
Okay, so how do we combat this? How do we dig ourselves out of this pile of horribleness? How do we be happy again?
Of course, the number one thing to do is to stay close to God, and to pray daily. He is the only source of joy, peace, and hope in this life - something many people are (sadly) lacking! "There's a God sized hole in our hearts" (don't remember who first said that) and no amount of money or power or whatever it is people think they need to be happy these days is gonna fill it!
Luckily, as Catholics, we are blessed enough to have God in our lives. So the second point I'd like to make is: be happy just because there are beautiful things in the world! Sure, the world is a dark place, but it's also a beautiful, happy place. It seems like people only see the evil in the world and forget about the smell of the rain, the color blue, a desert sunrise. The world, though marred by original sin, is intrinsically a good place that God made for our happiness, and we can see goodness everywhere we go, if only we look for it.
A few months ago, I started writing down all of my thoughts and ideas on how to be happy in a notebook. Here are 30 tips I'd like to share with you now. I would highly recommend the practice ;)
Tip #1: Smile constantly, even when know one's around, even (especially) if you don't feel like it. It's scientifically proven that smiling lifts the spirits.
Tip #2: Drink coffee or tea. It just really helps. A warm beverage is soothing and delicious, but the caffeine gives you a real energy booster.
Tip #3: For me, boredom is the first step to depression. Do something you love, or better yet, try something new! Or, (still better yet), be productive and do your school!
Tip #4: You're happy when you look at what you do have, not at what you don't.
Tip #5: Change your surroundings. Get out of the house!!! This one is huge for me.
Tip #6: So it's three in the afternoon, and you feel completely apathetic, and coffee isn't helping, and everything is just bad. What do you do? My answer may surprise you. It's: go shower. It pushes the reset button on the day. But it's also a great thing to do in the morning, as it makes you feel fresh and ready to roll.
Tip #7: Wear makeup. Even if I'm not planning on going anywhere, doing my makeup again makes me feel set for the day - fresh and pretty and put together.
Tip #8: Wake up to an alarm, and drink water first thing. Okay, so that was two tips in one, but they are along the same lines - again, a good morning equals a good day. Waking up on time feels terrific. And for some odd reason (I've only done this twice now) but drinking water before 8 a.m. makes you just feel really, really good. Don't know why, but it works.
Tip #9: Drink your water and eat healthy. Because nobody feels good after eating a ton of junk food.
Tip #10: But eat chocolate. Because there's an exception to everything. And chocolate is chocolate.
Tip #11: Listen to music. But make sure it's happy, upbeat music, not angry or sad songs. My mood tends to match the music I listen to.
Tip #12: Spend a little time each day reading the Bible. Especially in the morning. It starts you off on the right foot.
Tip #14: Don't procrastinate. This is literally the hardest thing in the world not to do, but try this game. Say to yourself: "I will do math for five minutes. And if I still want to go back to wandering aimlessly around the house after that, I can." Set the timer. I bet that you'll just keep going - the hardest part is starting.
Tip #15: List it. Even if the day is almost over, and it's been really crummy so far, you still have time left to turn it around. How many hours do you have left in the day? Plan them out. Try to make them as productive and full as possible. Even if you don't have any school left, maybe you can do something like cleaning your room or reorganizing your closet.
Tip #16: Go the the Adoration Chapel, and/or daily Mass if possible.
Tip #17: Clean or organize something. Because nobody likes to live in chaos. I find that my worst days are days in which I can't find a clean place in the house! So, make your own!
Tip #18: This might seem out of place, but one of the biggest things that helps me is Pinterest. They have lots of inspiring quotes, photos, and ideas for getting back to work.
Tip #19: Laugh. Try to find your sense of humor, because laughing makes everything better.
Tip #20: Remember: it's going to pass. Life is a rollercoaster: when you're having a bad day, a good one is usually right around the corner.
Tip #21: Get off the electronics. Aim to spend half an hour or less on them, unless you have school or work you need to be on the computer for. The internet is an escape for me, but escaping my problems is NOT the way to go. Instead, face them, and conquer! <- (don't mind the cheesiness)
Tip #22: And...go outside! A breath of fresh air always does a body good. A walk is even better.
Tip #23: Walk with confidence: head up, shoulders back. And breathe. Remember to breathe.
Tip #24: Even if you're not going anywhere, wake up and get dressed in a cute outfit, and do your hair. You mean business today!
Tip #25: Combine some of these tips such as working out, showering, or maybe even Mass into a morning routine. A good morning=a good day!
Tip #26: If all else fails, imagine the dream place you'd like to be. For some reason, this helps me. I think: where would I like to be right now? It always calms me down and makes me happier, even if I can't go there in real life.
Tip #27: Do a secret act of kindness or make a little sacrifice for someone else. More on this later.
Tip #28: Stressed out but don't know why? So many little things going wrong, the day is just wrecked? Write everything down. THIS IS HUGE. Getting it on paper is a way to actually know what's going on in your head. An alternative would be to go on a walk and talk to yourself, or vent to a good friend. Got it all out? Okay, now cross out the things that are really insignificant. Next, tackle each of the bigger problems at a time. Ask yourself: What can I do to change this problem? If there's nothing, ask God to help you to accept this suffering and then move on.
Tip #29: Think of your "dream things" - your favorite thing within your favorite things. This is like my number one game. Call me crazy, but it's so fun. Do you like dogs? Well then, what's your dream dog? (Mine is a husky named Saskia or a black lab named Zia). And keep going! Dream cat? Horse? Car? House? It perks me right up! :D Just remembering that there are happy things out there can really do a lot.
Tip #30: Annoyed out of your mind by your siblings? Me too, sometimes. So, I made up another game. This one is harder to start, but once you do, the effects are incredible. It's called the "nicest possible answer game". Whenever someone says something snarky, or mean, or just annoying, think of the kindest, sweetest answer to can, and say it. You don't have to feel kind or sweet. You just have to pretend. And then, soon, it won't be pretend anymore.
Tip Last-but-not-least (because I said I had 30 tips to share): Make someone else happy. Step back from yourself for a minute. Let's pretend you're in a bad mood, and someone you know - a sibling, a classmate, a coworker, whatever - walks in looking every bit as peeved as you feel. Doesn't that make you feel angrier than you were before? Even though it's extremely hard, try to make that person feel happier, even if all you can manage is a smile or non-sarcastic word. Believe it or not, you're helping yourself as much as you're helping the other person. When you're in a bad mood, the temptation is to be turned solely towards yourself. Watch out! This is what the devil wants. Take 2: say the person walks into the room and you think, "Welp, that person's is a bad mood, too. But that's her problem; I need to pull myself out of this flunk." Sorry, but it's going to be a heck of a lot harder to do so, and we end up with everyone in a worse mood than before. So next time the world is a tedious, grey, circle of misery, go cheer someone else up and forget about yourself.
For it is in losing your life that you will find it.
*DISCLAIMER* I do not actually have depression, or know how to treat it - these are just my tips on how to get yourself out of a bad day and into a good one. :)
I hope you have enjoyed this very lengthy blog post :D
Have a GREAT day!!!
P.S. The puzzle painting won the art contest :P