Welcome to Learning How To Be Happy!
I’ve decided to keep this blog anonymous, just so that I can be completely open rather than conscious of what my friends/parents/future employees may think, and I really hope it doesn’t put anyone off reading or make it come across impersonal! Katie Thompson is the name I’ll go by (because Facebook made me give one!).
To avoid that I’ll start by telling you a little bit about myself and why I’ve started this blog…
I’m a 21, and have just finished my degree in psychology. I come from London, where I lived with my mother and brother in a comfortable-sized house in a nice area. I like music, books, my friends, travel, and art.
Ever since I became a teenager I’ve had bouts of mild depression, when I was 13 it made me move schools, but I know now it’s not a problem you can escape from by changing your external situations. It persisted until university, where it ruined a relationship. I have just moved to France to learn the language and take a year abroad after uni rather than going straight into either a graduate job or a Masters. But being away from my family and friends has been more of a struggle than I expected and leaving my comfort zone has also pushed me back into my negative style of thinking.
Yesterday, I spoke to my mum on the phone for 2 whole hours while she tried to make me feel better and gave me advice on how I can beat this low-period and make the most of my situation (which altogether is very good and nothing to complain about!). I spoke to her, crying, feeling sorry for myself, then listened to depressing music, and felt even more sorry for myself.
This morning I realised that happiness isn’t (entirely) a consequence of things that happen to you in your life. Yes, little peaks of happiness after doing something you love, seeing your friends, doing some exercise, are reactions to something you’ve done. But happiness in terms of general life contentment is something much more in our own mind’s control than many of us believe. It’s a way of thinking, not having a ‘better’ life. There will always be unhappy people who appear to have everything – the money, the clothes, the parties. And there will always be happy people who don’t have any of those things, but somehow manage to feel content and satisfied with themselves and their life.
My life isn’t bad, in fact, it would probably be classed as pretty good
I am perfectly healthy, reasonably okay-looking, I have an also healthy and strong family who love me and care about me, I have friends who appreciate me, I have parents who would even financially support me if anything seriously bad was to happen. I’ve had a successful education and a first class degree to stand for it. Looking at it, my life has so much I should be grateful and happy for.
Yet still, sometimes a dark cloud covers everything positive in my life and all I see are the bad points. I see imperfect skin, no boyfriend, too much fat. Then I realise how negative I am and start feeling angry and resentful towards myself for being negative when I have nothing to complain about! I stop looking forward to the future and instead I wish it would all end. I suddenly lack the energy to go outside, people aren’t interesting to me anymore, I stop enjoying people’s company, and I feel on the brink of tears throughout the day. When I smile or talk to anyone it feels like an act, and I eagerly anticipate the moment I can shut myself in my room and feel entirely miserable myself without having to pretend to anyone.
I decided to start this blog because I’ve decided that being happy is in our control, its something we have to learn. I believe that it is a way of thinking, and a skill is to maintain it when life does get tough. This blog will be a track of my progress and a place I’ll document my thoughts, or things I find that are useful in being and staying happy to share with anyone who might be interested.
I think that nowadays with so much time, and all this competitive social media (blog post about this to come), depression, or even just sadness is becoming an increasing problem and one that needs to be tackled!
I also understand that people may argue ‘why bother helping well-off teenagers who are feeling sorry for themselves while there are much bigger and more serious problems in the world, like poverty, disease and war??’ and I partly agree.
But what I do think is important is that each of us have one life, one mind, and our life and ourselves is all we have so the thoughts and feelings we fill it with is so important! It’s all we have!
When people are happy and healthy they are also more productive and focused outwards on others, so by helping anyone and everyone feel just a little bit more comfortable in their own skin and happy with their life, the positivity would spread and those unhappy teenagers may become people who are able to contribute to the worlds greater problems.
When I sometimes think about life and what I hope to achieve, the only answer I can give is to be happy.
This blog is a record of my journey towards being the happiest person I can be, and the things I learn along the way. I hope it is useful to at least one other person out there, and I would love to hear from you about your life and your stories!