My personal journey of growth and self-improvement has been bumpy, to say the least. Everything I post on here is about that journey to find happiness, stability, and a healthy mind. It’s not been a linear journey, either. Some days, it feels like I’m moving backward. Some days, it feels like I’m completely stagnating, which doesn’t feel good at all. I want to feel at peace, I want to feel happy. Why is it so hard?
I make all these efforts to find resources and feel like I’m actually “doing” something for my mental health. Not thinking about doing it, not sharing something on Tumblr that I think would be a good idea, but actually doing. But often times, I get frustrated with the results, or lack thereof. Maybe I need to stick with it more.
I realized something else was missing though from my mental health repertoire. Things had to be simpler than I was making them out to be. Sure, worksheets and self-help books are great, but I still felt I could simplify things.
I’ve concentrated my efforts lately, not on doing some specific CBT worksheet or DBT skill, but instead on doing what gives me joy. Long-lasting happiness and being in complete control of all my emotions and reactions seems a little too far-fetched some days. But moments of joy–that’s attainable.
Well, first of all, what gives me joy?
- Connecting with people, whether it’s friends, family, or even nice strangers. Warm people who light up my life. People I can laugh with, people I can trust in, people I feel comfortable with. This can be my best friend or a customer at work. I like interacting with people who make me feel that light inside.
- Creating something of my own. File this under writing and video work. I want to do more in video that’s MY work. I love helping on other projects, but I have my own ideas. I got into video production because I wanted to tell stories. I’ve cast aside all my ideas in favor of…what? Nothing. What’s stopping me? And regular ole writing–I have two blogs that I don’t keep updated regularly. I can change that.
- Helping others, as cliche as it sounds. There’s a reason so many people say that they want to help others. I’ve volunteered in the past and loved being able to do something good outside of myself, while getting nothing in return. I recently got back into it with a local animal shelter. I love doing something for the greater good. I would extend this also to doing kind things for others, be it just a compliment, paying for someone’s meal, or going out of your way to do anything for them at all. Again, strangers or friends.
Okay, this a nice list! But I have to actually make it happen. That means “doing”. This blog is not about theory. It’s about practice. I try to showcase when I actually do, not just when I have some pretty platitudes or pragmatic bullshit to spew.
The doing is the hard part though. We all have trouble with the doing, I can say that pretty confidently. There may be a Thing you want to do that will give you joy, but it requires some effort. Effort is hard. Your time, your money, the mental and physical energy you exert are all valuable resources when it comes to doing. So valuable that you may not do The Thing because parting with those resources means more than any benefit you can get from The Thing.
I still struggle with the doing. Maybe something on the joy list isn’t always accessible or practical, but I’ve talked about other quick fixes for feeling a bit more energetic and productive. Anything to decrease the amount of time I feel like crap.
My goal is to do more things, more often that give me joy. If I only make one little step toward it one day, that’s fine. At least I’m working on that Thing. There are days I don’t feel like doing any steps. That’s okay, too. I am just trying to keep having more Joy Days than non-joy days. It’s only going to go up from here, I tell myself.
So, what gives you joy? Why can’t you do it right now? What’s a step you can take toward it right now? What’s the second step?
I’ve had enough bad times, and I’m sick of dwelling on them. I’m ready to start cashing in on more of the great moments. Let’s make some damn memories.