I better start this post with a little disclaimer, I’m not a mental health professional, nor am I an expert in any way on depression.
But, I do know that happiness is something that I strive for. Not that fake, oh-look-at-me-and-my-oh-so-perfect-life type of happiness. But the type of happiness that comes with self-acceptance.
Last week my friend Amelia with Tales of a Mountain Mama wrote an amazing piece called ‘Find Your Happy.’ This paragraph really stood out to me,
"I choose my happy. I choose what makes me feel good. I choose how I spend my time. I choose my priorities and my privileges and my work and my LOVE. And when I get sucked into the things that I “have” to do with no real reprieve for the things I love to do and love to love, my (teeny tiny)
worldbubble spins out of control. Because I also choose my unhappy. And unfortunately, it's so much easier to choose the unhappy then the happy."
This week I’ve been thinking about happiness. What makes us happy? What makes us unhappy? And better yet, when we’re unhappy what can we do about it.
And then something happened. A random and unexpected email in my inbox. My first scan through it made me so angry that my blood started to boil. Then it made me so sad that I sat on the steps quietly sobbing as my children played in the backyard. I have to be honest here, I don’t cry very often. I’m not a very emotional woman, but there I was with this big gray cloud hanging over my head and tears rolling out of my eyes while trying to write a blog post on happiness.
It took my 2-year-old patting my shoulder and saying, “it’s okay, mommy,” to snap me out of it.
(By the way, everything really is okay, I work a part-time job to pay the bills and quite often this job adds too much stress and negativity into my life. But we all have to do things that suck sometimes.)
So when the sh*t hits the fan, or even when we’re just feeling kinda bummed out what can we do to find happiness?
1. Stop comparing ourselves to others.
It’s so easy to compare our lives to others and think that we are simply not enough. But I’m here to tell you that you are enough. You are strong enough, smart enough, brave enough, beautiful enough, kind enough, and confident enough.
2. Get outside every day.
You know how you just feel good when you’re outside. Maybe you’re just pulling weeds in the backyard, shopping at an outdoor farmers market or standing on a summit. I don’t need to preach to you the benefits of spending time outdoors, you already know if or you wouldn’t hang out here.
3. Don’t start or end your day with social media.
I like social media, I see it as a vital tool to get to know ya’ll a little bit better. I love to see your awesome photos and smiling faces on our facebook page. But sometimes facebook makes me feel jealous and insecure. Or it makes me feel annoyed (hello political rants)–so I don’t start or end my day with that junk. Try it, it’ll do wonders for your soul.
4. Accept where we are that this point in our lives…
How very zen, right?
5. …but if you’re not happy where you are don’t settle.
There’s happiness in acceptance, but there’s also happiness is dreaming.
6. Set goals that are manageable.
For me, nothing is more discouraging than failure. But, I fail a lot. I’m learning to set big goals with smaller, manageable goals as benchmarks. This helps keep me on track, and happy. Maybe we’re climbing a pretty challenging peak, think 50 steps at a time instead of about the whole route.
7. Get rid of toxic friends.
This is perhaps one of the hardest things to do. Ever. Recently I failed at something and a friend told me that she was glad I had failed. It didn’t make sense until I realized that had I succeeded she wouldn’t have been proud of me, she would have been jealous of me. We all want friends who celebrate our successes. It’s not easy, but it is okay to divorce a friend who doesn’t want you to succeed.
Have you ever started off hiking in a grumpy mood but finished with a heart full of joy and gratitude? If you have I’d love to hear about it. There’s too much negativity on the internet. I want to hear about your successes and your joys. I want to hear about you overcoming an obstacle to beat the odds. I want to hear what nature has done for you. Chime in with a comment below!
Check out my latest articles at Sierra Trading Post on Safe Hiking During Hunting Season, Planning an Epic Girls Weekend, and Keeping Kids Safe on Hikes. I was also on the NW Healthy Mama’s blog with an article on Overcoming Mom Guilt this week.
I’d love to have you subscribe to our monthly newsletter and get a FREE copy of my e-book, it’s all about making outdoor adventures easy. You’ll also get just one awesome email from me on the first day of every month when I publish our monthly newsletter. I won’t spam you. I promise.
Did you like this post? Spread the word and share it with a friend. Curious about where to find more? Check out Just Trails for trail information in Southeastern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. If you hike with kids join our kid-friendly outdoor community at Moms Who Hike. And check out my podcast, The Great Adventures Podcast (coming soon!) where I’ll answer your questions and help you have a great adventure of your own.
Or chat with me directly by sending an email to rebecca (at) justtrails (dot) com
Now get out there and take a hike!