Choosing the Happy pill

Sometimes it feels like life has you on the misery train, or in an economy seat on Dreary Airlines flying over the Gulf of Despair. But sometimes you have to shake yourself out of it, take a happy pill, and keep on moving. Just to be clear, we are talking theoretically, I am in no way condoning drugs. That being said, I am now going to share how I overcame feeling perpetually overcast, and how a change of perspective helped me to see things more positively.

Recently I got to a point in life where everything just seemed to be stressing me out. I would hear myself talking to other people and realised that most of the time I was moaning, or complaining or criticising, or generally being miserable and cynical. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a realist and a bit of a cynic, but it was becoming excessive.

After a few people pointed this out to me, and I introspectively examined myself, I noticed the trend in my behaviour, and I made the connection to why it was I always seemed to have a grey cloud over my head. It was because I was getting caught up in the monotony of everyday life and I was using a lot of energy to focus on the negative aspects rather than the positives. For example, I felt as though I was being treated unfairly at work, I felt like I was falling behind at university, I was always unpunctual and I wasn’t using any of my time to do anything fulfilling, or generally fun. And when you add those aspects together, it makes an ugly concoction.

Upon realising this, I tried to work out how I could improve my outlook on life and become more pleasant, positive and productive. In doing so, I came to the conclusion that I had the power to change most of these things by changing the way I saw them. The key was to look at things from a different angle. When it came to being mistreated at work, I examined from a new perspective. I thought, maybe I could try to work a little bit harder, faster and more efficiently, as well as being more proactive. And, at the end of the day, if I knew in my own mind that I was making an effort to work well, then if anybody had a problem with the way I worked, it wasn’t my fault. And just like that, a weight was lifted from my shoulders and I didn’t find going to work so stressful. I found myself smiling more and feeling lively and friendlier. This didn’t always change the coarseness that some colleagues addressed me with, but it bothered me less.

If you have a leader, be it a teacher or a boss, who you feel treats you unfairly, my best advice is to make sure you are doing everything in your power to be the best you can be, so as not to give them any ammunition to use against you. In a way, it can be motivating to have someone aggravating you, as in wanting to prove them wrong, you are improving yourself at the same time. This ties in to my problem with punctuality.

In all honesty, up to this point in time, my punctuality wasn’t that awful, if I ever was late, it was never more than five minutes, however, on one occasion, I was only a minute late and I got in trouble with my boss. At the time I found this outrageous and put it down to several things, I even went to the extremity of suggesting it could be racially aggravated targeting in the workplace. Whether or not that was the case, or just my brain being extra, the fact of the matter was, be it one minute or an hour, I was late. My manager made the point that I should be arriving with ten minutes to spare for my shifts. Which was fair. But try telling me that at the time.

In the weeks following this, out of (retrospectively silly and juvenile) spite, I would leave my house sometimes two hours early, arriving at work with an hour to spare, just so I could saunter past my manager looking smug. But funnily enough, for the next two following weeks he was nowhere to be seen, and my newly found spectacular timekeeping was going unnoticed. As you could probably guess by now, the thought that he was avoiding me out of shame embarrassingly did cross my mind. But at the end of the day, this experience has instilled in me the importance of being on time, and being on time has endless benefits; you don’t have to rush, you have time to relax and to be more observant. It also gives you time to mentally prepare yourself for the day. You are less flustered, more energised and it does contribute to helping you become more positive. I do still grimace a little bit every time he greets me, but I’m working on it and it takes time 😂.

As for the falling behind with my work, I haven’t completely solved this yet, but I have improved greatly, simply by setting myself small goals. For example, if I have a book to finish for the week, I will separate the book into sections and read a section a day until I finish it. And as for my life feeling monotonous, I have been trying to branch out and try new things lately; for example, I’ve been trying new foods and have been trying to eat healthier, I have been going on more walks, I have been trying to be more social and I am considering joining the gym, although I’ve been “considering” this since the beginning of the year. But to be fair, I have actually researched the prices now! Although the freezing cold winter weather has been putting me off. But I digress.

In throwing these things into the mix, I have livened up my life a little bit and a week doesn’t necessarily look the same as the next anymore, which is what I needed. All in all, I am feeling lighter, freer (free-er?) and happier, and it shows in my conversations, my attitude and my general mood. So, I would definitely go as far as to saying that this intervention was a success, and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who was feeling similar to how I was before it. And I think I finally understand what people mean when they say that happiness is a choice.

As always, don’t hesitate to leave a comment, and feel free to follow me on Twitter for updates: @ChrisCultureUK.

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