I’m fascinated by happiness. If I can define what makes me happy and unhappy and start doing more of the former and less of the latter, my life will be perfect. Right? I jest, but if our emotions are the prism through which we perceive the world then it makes sense that I try and do everything I can to make mine rose tinted.
I’ve blogged before about the specific things I try to do to increase my happiness: reorganising my wardrobe, scheduling some fun and drafting a life list. However today, I want to talk in more general terms about creating a happiness mantra inspired by this post on creating personal happiness commandments. For me the word commandments implies something strict and punitive, so I prefer happiness mantra. As I learned in yoga camp (no joke), a mantra is a word or group of words capable of inspiring a transformation.
My personal happiness mantras really sum up the principles by which I try (and fail) to live my life. Like lyrics or often quotes they get stuck in my head and like running my fingers over rosary beads repeating them in times of crisis gives me solace. So here are my personal happiness mantras:
Via Advice to Sink in Slowly
To be me means knowing who I am and what I like and dislike. I like reading young adult fiction not Russian literature. I am remarkedly ignorant on world affairs but I know everything about Sweet Valley High. I am have the hand and motor coordination of a slug but am agile at writing words. Sometimes I really want to change these things, write a great work of literature, become a crafting genuis, dance like without falling over my own feet but this is just the way I am.
It becomes harder when we move out of the realm of the practical into the emotional. Can I accept my anger, my perfectionism, my addiction to cheap cornershop sweets? (‘Aaah sugar, my old nemesiseseseses’. I’m on week two of no sugar and it’s sloooowly getting easier) Acceptating myself as I am: a flawed work in progress is terrifyingly hard. But do any of us really have a choice? Sing it Oscar…
Via Emily Mcdowell
I am limpet-like in my ability to cling to memories and concepts long beyond normal people would have relaxed their grip and let the waves take them. This is simultaneously a virtue and a curse. I perservere, I am a natural born tryer, but sometimes I need to give in otherwise I’ll break. This mantra has been stuck in my head for over ten years when midday through an English class in college I heard Hamlet’s last soliloquy. Yep, it’s quote time:
‘Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in
the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to
come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the
readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is’t
to leave betimes, let be.’
Hamlet, Shakespeare Act IV II
To paraphrase the Dane, we do not know and never can what shapes our fate so why worry. Sometimes we just have to let be. Oh but it is hard.
This too shall pass
I find this tragic and comforting all at the same time. When I linger in the depths of a black mood I tell myself ‘This too shall pass’ and eventually it always does. Consequently even when I am so happy my body cannot contain it I think ‘This too shall pass’ and that knowledge of the finiteness of the moment gives it bittersweet tinge that makes me appreciate it even more.
Enjoy the process
Be kind for everybody you meet is fighting a great battle
I am not always kind. I can be sharp. I can be impatient. But I try and remember that I can never know the contents of another person’s heart. That person who’s just cut me up may have a sick child. Or they may be an arsehole. All I know is the smallest acts of kindness have made a major difference in my life.
First things first
Or as take you shoes off before your tights, you eejit! Sometimes known as lessons I learnt from being hangry (not a typo hangry= anger caused from hunger, an affliction I suffer from mightily). If I don’t eat I turn into RowanHULK: ‘COMPUTER NO WORK, SMASH STUPID COMPUTER. COMPUTER DEADED. SAD NOW.’ So to mollify my inner Hulk I eat regularly, I make sure I get enough sleep. First things first means eat before an exam. Go to bed on time the night before a big meeting. By taking care of the little details such a sleep, food and drink I’m much better prepared to deal with whatever life throws at me.
And with that in mind, it’s time for an afternoon snack 🙂