Happiness in the everyday

Work, commuting, money, housework, eating well, keeping fit, getting enough sleep, staying in touch with friends. Daily responsibilities can be a lot to keep up with. Sometimes my mind can get swamped with all the thoughts and reminders I need to store in it. Sometimes I get anxious.

It is so awfully easy to get caught up in all the things we feel we have to keep track of. One to-do leads to another, and quite often we make things bigger in our head, struggle to compartmentalise and end up putting things off.

Not only this, but if you’re like me, with a mind that runs at a hundred miles a minute, it’s not too easy to switch off even when you feel you’ve done all your jobs for the day. This can lead to overthinking – the walking of shadowy paths in our heads where problems that don’t even really exist reside.

I’ve done a real bit of thinking about all this thinking over the last few weeks. I’ve decided I’ve had enough of wasting precious time allowing myself to worry. I haven’t pushed myself hard enough to breathe in and out, and simply take a moment, everyday, to appreciate the richness of my life.

I am very fortunate. I have a boyfriend, a family, friends and a job that I love. I am not trying to simplify anxiety disorders or mental health. I know happiness is not nearly as simple as making a choice, or we’d all be wearing constant smiles.

But I have made an active decision about what happiness means to me. I’ve decided it isn’t just for the weekends and holidays and getting into bed at night. I’ve decided it’s fresh air on my morning walk to the station; laughing with a colleague; reading a really good book; stroking a dog on the Overground; getting a good cup of coffee; eating a tasty meal; getting a nice text.

There are days when emotions refuse to be dictated and it’s impossible to always feel grateful. We all have days when we’re sad, angry and sometimes inconsolable. This is okay. Dwelling on negative emotions and trying to seek their source can make us feel a million times worse.

But in the everyday, it is good to remind ourselves that happiness doesn’t have to be all singing all dancing. It can be small, subtle and humble. It can be about using the time a train is delayed to listen to a good song, people-watch or read about something interesting. I am still guilty of getting frustrated about things I can’t change, but I’m trying to channel my energy into finding the good in everyday situations instead of wasting energy on the things that won’t matter tomorrow.

I’m not trying to preach, or say I’m a new woman. I can be a total whiner. But what I am trying to do is use the little spare time I have more wisely, for positive, productive, relaxing thoughts instead of negative, distracting, distressing ones.

Happiness can be found in (almost) everyday. We just have to take a little time to look for it.


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