I’ve spent a lot of time on LinkedIn recently and Facebook. I’m not sure what’s driving it but for whatever reason, I feel like I’ve seen an influx of ‘here’s what successful people do’ or ‘here’s how to be happy’ articles and editorials all over my social media. I’m not sure if this is the world telling me I’m unhappy because I’m on social media or because I’ve looked at something recently that continues to drive these targeted articles towards me. Or maybe all my friends and contacts have been looking at these things and the data algorithms have suddenly deemed it applicable to my life. Regardless of the reason, it’s made me reflect a lot. I’ve reflected on ‘am I happy?’ And the answer to that is yes, yes I am.
At the start of this year, I rang in 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden by myself surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of other people and to be honest, it was probably the loneliest I’ve ever been. But I was okay with that because as soon as the fireworks started all over the city, I forgot I was alone. I was mesmerized by the fireworks and how close they felt as they exploded over this city. Shortly after that, literally a few hours later I caught a bus to the airport and got ready to head back to reality.
The thing is, I was heading back to a pretty rough situation back in LA. Not in terms of my personal life, but in terms of work. I had left on my holiday break with some lingering things weighing on me and they only got worse when I was gone. I was getting to head back into an environment that was toxic to say the least. And so I decided to change the things that I could.
I couldn’t change work, I couldn’t make it ‘better’ per say but I could change my attitude and so I did. I’ve noticed that I am the type of person that can get easily sucked into the negative and the drama. In fact, at a previous job, all I did was complain. It was hard for me to stay positive or find a positive in any situation and shortly after that I left the job and the company. I’ve made the decision to focus my energy on trying to stay positive and find the perpetual silver lining in everything and every day. So here’s what I did:
– bought a daily journal and separated each specific day into five specific categories. Goals for the day, accomplishments of those goals, exercise, a summary and at least two positive things that happened.
– I fill out everything and then write the goals I have for the next day.
– I do a minimum of ten minutes worth of stretches every morning followed by five minutes of mediation. Maybe it’s not really mediation but it’s focused breathing where I focus on counting my breathes in and releasing my breathes. If I find my brain wandering, I go back to counting. It’s a hard thing to do but it’s nice to keep myself grounded for a bit in the morning.
– I drink a glass of water every morning when I wake up to help me feel a little more alert and hydrated. I don’t add anything to it but that’s just a personal preference after brushing my teeth.
– I make sure to make breakfast every day. When I’m traveling, it’s hard to make sure to get breakfast but I won’t sacrifice that first meal.
– I refuse to look at my phone (outside of the weather app). I don’t allow myself to look at social media within the first hour of my day, sometimes the first two hours of my day. It’s been nice to keep to myself and start my day off fresh and ready.
– When I leave for home from work, I keep my phone on silent until I get home. I try to keep myself from looking at my phone during my commute home. It’s nice to take a break from the day by disconnecting completely for a brief half an hour to hour dependent on the commute. I can focus on the city around me, the smells (both pleasant and unpleasant), the sites, the temperature, etc.
– I dedicate a solid 20 minutes of my day to reading. Hopefully more than 20 minutes but at least 20. This allows me to take a break from reality. As weird as it sounds, it’s to escape for a bit into another life or sometimes another world.
I’ve found that all of these things are perfect for helping me think more positively about life and be ready for everything that the world wants to throw at me.