Monday, 16 September 2013

10 Things To Give Up For Happiness

We are always told that happiness comes from more, more, MORE. We need to have more, do more, be more, but actually, sometimes giving things up makes us our most happiest. Here are ten things that I personally no longer partake in that have helped to make me a happier person.

1. Women's magazines

Have you ever actually read the covers of these things? Most women's magazines are glorious bitch fests. 'She's too fat'. 'She's too thin'. 'He's cheating on her'. 'You're too old to do that.' 'She has cellulite'. Women's magazines are designed to manipulate women's insecurities so that they spend, spend, SPEND. Gossip, shopping, embarrassment, cruelty - they might as well have been written by the devil himself. I used to be addicted to these magazines when I was a teenager, but as I got older, I realised these magazines were not enriching the person I was in any way. Yes, we all have our guilty pleasures but this was no longer one of mine. The majority of women's magazines (with few exceptions) are not designed to celebrate women but to berate them. They also encourage habits, such as gossiping, excessive spending and self-criticism, which in the long run will not make you a happy bunny. I felt much better in myself since I decided to pass these by. I don't care who is sleeping with who or who gained/lost weight...WHO CARES?

2. Music Videos

Possibly I'll be in an army of one here, but I literally haven't watched a music channel for YEARS. My reason? All I ever saw were glorified advertisements, obnoxious egos and gross stereotypes of harems of women gyrating against a super star. I quickly identified that I wasn't the intended audience for these videos and I could gain nothing from them. I love music and there are some great videos out there but I will never sit and watch a music channel...only if you paid me too.

3. Passivity

A lot of times in life I have been incredibly passive. I have expected things to happen for me, perhaps in the way an indulged child might, without having any understanding that it is only ever me and only ever has been me that can make something happen in my life. If I don't take action, it won't happen. Yes, sometimes you will be hit with strokes of luck, but you can't depend on the bolts to keep hitting. Even if you won the lottery, you still had to go and buy a ticket.

4. Procrastination

Directly linking with passivity is procrastination. You might have a long to do list, but you continuously put off ticking anything off of it. Procrastination sometimes links to either a fear of failure or a fear of success. If you can force yourself to leave your comfort zone and do what needs to be done, you will slowly grow to feel better and grow in confidence and accomplishment.

5. Sleeping In

Sleeping in is the luxury of students and retirees and though I am not a morning person and am always reluctant to leave my bed in the morning, sleeping in is not a favourite indulgence of mine any longer. I wake up and feel as if the day is running away from me like a wild horse and I inevitably always feel guilty and more overwhelmed as I struggle to cram more into the remaining time open to me. I'll leave the lie in's for when I'm unwell. Otherwise, get up, get out and get going!

6. Bad People

Sometimes you have to let certain people in your life go. On the serious end of the spectrum, you may have to cut loose people who have seriously wronged you. It might be that you just need to cut loose people who criticise, are unsupportive or unhelpful. You shouldn't feel guilty in doing so. You should always surround yourself with a team of people who are rooting for you and want to see you do well. The world can be full of enough negative naysayers. Your friends should not be amongst them.

7. Materialism

It's impossible to live in Western Civilisation, the influence of which is now a worldwide contagion and not be somewhat materialistic. We are often defined by what we own and possess. Our possessions say something about who we are. To some people, there money and there material possessions mean more to them than the people they encounter day to day. Materialism can manifest as excessive shopping to quell a feeling of unrest or insecurity inside. If you watch a lot of TV and read a lot of magazines, you'll almost certainly be bullied and badgered by the latest trends. When I travelled poorer South Eastern regions of the world, materialism wasn't so endemic. Fashion, make up, big cars - it wasn't such a 'thing'. In our world being able to buy bigger and better, even if it bankrupts you, has become something we participate in even against our own will and better judgement. Buy what you truly want and what you truly need - all the rest is irrelevant and will not increase your happiness long term.

8. Facebook Stalking

Isn't everyone guilty of this, and if not on Facebook, then on one or another of the various social mediums? The truth is, the grass is no greener on the other side, it's just been presented that way. Focusing too much on what other people are doing, or PRESENTING themselves as doing, is not a productive way to feel good about yourself. When the mind (and the mouse) begins to wander, you need to reign it back in.

9. Reading the News

This is one I wouldn't advocate that everybody follows, but it really works for me. I am quite a sensitive person and I can be completely bulldozed over by bad news, especially when you have to read about it every single day. I used to read a London based newspaper on my way to work in the mornings and found myself feeling miserable. It wasn't just the early morning or the commute, it was the fact that all I was presented with was murder, war, crime, poverty and a floundering job market. Do we need to read about this every day? Do we need to be presented with situations to which there are not always a solution? Also, if there is something actually IMPORTANT I need to know about (and arguably most news is not), someone I know who is in with the news will tell me all about it.

10. Soft drinks

Maybe I am making myself sound more and more boring but as a general rule, I never drink soft drinks. I try to drink as much water as I can in a day and I try to make it water with lemon. Soft drinks are a great way to make yourself feel bad very fast after the sugar rush crashes down. Water will never give you the high, but it won't give you the low either!