Since I finished my degree, the structures of my world have fallen and everything feels formless, like that gooey stuff you get in those alien egg things. Unemployment has a habit of making graduates feel like this, but this isn’t about that. Sometimes we get into states of chronic sadness, for whatever reason, all our days are grey, “I’m fine” becomes a daily lie, unwarranted insomnia becomes a thing as do tears and comfort binging. Before I go on, I will say that it’s okay to be sad, it’s not wrong, and sometimes it’s needed – it can be purifying. The issue is when you’re sad all of the time. You’re not suffering from depression, but you’re sad because of something/a situation. Sadness is easier than happiness during those days, so being happy takes work & effort. I’ve heard people say that happiness is a choice & I used to think that was stupid, you can’t control your emotions. These past four months have shown me how wrong I was.
Choosing to be happy doesn’t end with the decision, like when you decide to work hard or lose weight, you don’t just decide to then go back to what you were doing before. When you decide to be happy, you need to do things that make you happy and be open to looking for the silver lining, it might not be blinging as brightly as you imagined. Here is a list of things that have helped me over the last few months:
1. Claiming onto the promises of God & truth: Scripture & testimony has a big part to play in this, both are truth. Scripture says God will never leave nor forsake His children, it says that I won’t go through more than I can bare, it says that all good things work together for good for those that love God & are called according to His purpose. I know that when my mum came to England, she was down to her last £50 & was spontaneously offered a job she didn’t apply for, & she wasn’t interviewed for. I know that although things are hard, I have the bare essentials. Now, because I know these things, these truths, I can praise God for it – despite everything I know that He has been & will continue to be good.
2. Things good about today: It’s important for me not to lose sight of reality, my life isn’t rubbish but a lot of the time it feels like it so I came up with a list to help me. At the end of the day I make a list of everything good about the day, it can be something as small as the oyster card machine being broken on the bus so free travel, or my hair cooperating, or something bigger like a career opportunity, or admission into something I’ve been wanting to do, or falling into some money. I force myself to thing of the good things, some days are easier than others, some days I have a list of ten, some days a list of one but there should always be something on the list.
3. Jar of joy: I got this idea from tumblr earlier this year. It’s similar to the list but it’s focus is more on the ways God has answered your prayers &/or delivered you. I don’t fill mine daily but it’s nice to be able to go back and see physical reminders of the good things God has done in your life.
4. Have fun: I’m so serious when I say having fun is crucial for me! I’m a fun person, I like to be silly and buss jokes. It’s important to get your endorphins pumping especially during these kind of times. & having fun needn’t be money consuming! E.g. I like pretending that I’m a famous musician, my kitchen becomes my stage & some how I morph into who/what ever & sing along to my favourite songs. A lot of the time I become the instruments too, I am the drums, I am the sax, I am the keys, I am the whole entire song! By the time I’ve finished jumping all over the place, I’m as happy as can be.
5. Be there for somebody: You are not the only one going through a hard time. It’s so easy to become selfish when you’re going through something because your hurt takes priority, but there are others who also need a shoulder, or some ears, or some arms. Be that for them. You are in a perfect position to understand their hurt/faithlessness/doubt, you’re both going through it! The words you say to them will often help you too.
6. Laugh & smile: I have the most amazing people in my life. My friends & family are actually hilarious. There are certain people in my life that I can’t not laugh with, or who can’t not make me smile, & I thank God for them. But you know what, not everyone is as blessed as me in that department. If you’re not, then you need to know how to make yourself laugh. I am the funniest person I know & nobody can tell me different, I laugh at myself and with myself. Laughing & smiling both actually do help in making you feel happier, so find something that does that for you.
I hope this helps.