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Dez Reel: “What Does Happiness Mean to You?”
Therell Reel 1: “I Am”
Therell Reel 2: “Awkward Moments Day”
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Happiness is almost always for me in the small, mundane moments of life. The moments you will miss if you don’t stop and be present for them. The smell of rain and a warm breeze through the window. The laughter of your best friend, or even not overcooking your favorite pasta. When I think about meaning, I like to parallel that with thinking about value. I think the small moments for me take a lot of steps to achieve. I’m naturally am not a present person. I’m an anxious overthinker. So if I’m able to achieve gratitude for a single life moment, that might be one of my biggest accomplishments of the day.
Which makes me want to ponder on how valuable happiness is. Especially why so many of us are yearning for the experience. How much do we think about happiness? As someone with or without mental health challenges, happiness can seem hard to come by at times. Happiness is so precious when it does come by.
To be honest, I’ve spent a chunk of my mental conversations trying to uncomplicate the idea of happiness. I think a lot of us are chasing, gripping, holding onto happiness in some way, really everyday, and are trying to decide if happiness is a hypothetical, fantastical construct or if it’s something we actually have control over.I think I obsessed more over why I wasn’t always happy or desired to elongate my happiness that I totally hop-skipped over those small joyful things, and missed out.
I believe it is in our nature as humans, and a deep desire to become perfect. If we’re not happy the moment we wake up or during a “beautiful day” or “event”, we think we’re broken, or something is wrong with us. Ask yourself:
That was and sometimes is still an issue I have at least.
I have friends as well that cling onto happy-memories, and try to replicate them. For example, something from childhood. Then we feel continuously let down that it’s not the same experience or feeling.
Many of us try to cram real happiness in a space in our mind that is compared to our fantastical happiness. We put it next to an unreasonable expectation. Or a comparable time when we were different, or in a different season. We set our happiness up for failure.
I used to get so upset that many mornings I didn’t wake up energetic and happy, and that’s because I was influenced by constantly seeing “peaceful” or “perfect morning routine” on social media to the extreme where I thought I was supposed to be like that all the time. So instead of waking up, acknowledging my weary, discontent, maybe stressed emotions, I got angrier and more upset because I wasn’t joyful. When really, all I had to do was acknowledge those emotions then choose to be happier to the best of my ability.
The key here is the best of your ability in that moment, not your imaginations ability. Which is probably a lot higher of a bar and a standard.
By choosing my happiness, and not expecting to just feel a certain way, I became actionable to implement things that made me happy. Such as, taking a break in my work day, making my favorite food, calling a friend or saying no to something I didn’t want to do. Therefore, I created my own happiness. Not based on what’s in my head, but the reality of what I could conjure up that day.
Saying no to something or even saying no to an emotion doesn’t automatically cancel out the potential joy you can have in an experience or day! Sometimes, I have a lot of built up thoughts or anxiety, and I just say, no. I’m instead going to go do, insert activity, or be productive to assist my anxiety. I tell myself I will readdress those emotions after. We don’t need to solve all our feelings in one moment. I’m not saying the emotions or thoughts don’t exist, I’m not denying the need to be cared for, I’m just prioritizing my tasks or potential joy over them, as best I can.
To be aware of where you are in a day and then creating change or choices based on that and not your desirable, escapist mind (where we can get so distracted imagining the better) made such a big difference. It’s made me more observant and grateful because now I’m in the present actively looking for good things. So I notice beautiful flowers when driving, when the sun pops out, when my friend says something encouraging.
Instead of chasing happiness I am constructing happiness. You don’t need to chase happiness, you have it instilled in you already! Give it the environment and the right soil and the water to grow it. Take a moment to see the season, the day, the sun and you base your choices and thinking off of that, and not your assumptions as to what the weather will be like, and how people are going to treat you.
If you have a fun idea, or something that will bring joy to someone’s heart, I encourage you to go do it! Plan it, be actionable, and make friends with your happiness. You don’t need to wait for what society deems as an “important moment.” Every moment is important if you want it to be.
Ask yourself – How much happiness am I losing by fantasizing a false expectation that I’m in a certain season of my life when I’m not? What amazing joys am I not appreciating now because it’s not perfect joy?
Sometimes we need to go through the weeds to find our bits of happiness. To find joyful things. Even when stuff just…sucks. Going through the weeds is not reserved only for the “bad days” but every day in my book. It requires us to get painfully honest, and hold up a magnifying glass in order to be more aware of these gifts, of the blessings, and to re-define what makes me happy. To renew my heart in realizing that so many things and blessings have the potential to put a smile on my face, and my heart. Instead of always wanting more.
As a spiritual person, I also pray deeply for others’ happiness. But for the non-spiritual, this is similar to thinking about elevating others happiness. Doing an act of kindness or planning an activity (or small moment) in the day to bring them higher. This takes the attention away from ourselves, the pressure, while remaining actionable about thinking through joy and small moments.
Imagine what the world would evolve into if we all focused on not just our own happiness, but how we can create happiness for others?
But hey, let’s get real. There are days, moments in a day, when joy seems so far. When intrusive thoughts are so overpowering, we feel broken beyond repair. I also find myself falling into the constant thought process that my emotions impact others deeply, and that makes me anxious. That I have to be happy in order to be loved, to be desired or wanted around. I overthink, and over-read others reactions to my emotions or how I act in a day. This creates a pressure cooker mentality, I start clawing for happiness, and panicking when I’m not for the sake of my relationships.
I’ve really tried to grasp onto this idea of a new day. With mental illness, a new day used to feel truly useless. I would say, “I have a chronic illness. Who cares about a new day?” I would fear sleeping, and waking up and the cycle would continue. This is in reference to the throws of my deeper Harm Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (hOCD).
But when a new day comes, new opportunities and moments present themselves. New laughter, small jokes and fragile seeds. And with every passing day, wounds, big and small heal. So that terrible day you had? Where you fear you may have negatively impacted another person? Where you fear you’ve wounded yourself beyond healing? It’s already far away in their minds, and it should be in yours too. But I find negative thinking, and even the strongest moments of mental health are temporary. It’s slipping away, like sand on a beach. It’s probably smaller than your mind is ruminating it to be. Our minds love to make everything feels like everything is a big thing. Because we are the center of the universe, in our heads. But we have the power to change that narrative.
People don’t observe your happiness with a fine tooth comb, because they’re already trying to do it for themselves.
You don’t need to be embarrassed. You don’t need to feel like you need to conceal your suffering. It took me a long time to learn this. I often need to remind myself that an “unhappy” version of myself (or day) is just a day of growth and learning. We’re all emotional in our own ways and trying to find that bit of happiness – and broken and imperfect. However, in those cracks are beautiful lessons, experiences and moments of joy. Go find yours.
Written by Sarah Edwards (@setapart_company), TPCT Project Coordinator
Every year on August 8th, we celebrate National Happiness Happens Day. This day is to encourage people to be happy, no matter what anyone has to say about it. Before I get into anything else, I want to take the time to share the history of this day.
In 1988, Pamela Gail Johnson founded an exclusive club. This club was called the Secret Society of Happy People. It was created to allow individuals to speak about all the things that made them happy because they were truly happy people but they didn’t want others to rain on their parade so it was kept a secret.
Over the years, many more people talked about happiness. They talked about how to get happy, be happier, find happiness and even spread happiness. The popularity of the group increased so much that they no longer felt the need to keep it a secret. In 2019, the group changed their name to the Society of Happy People. In 1999, they created Admit You’re Happy Day, which eventually changed to Happiness Happens Day. Every year, they pick a new theme. This year’s theme is Count Your Happy.
Counting your happy simply means trying to recall all of the happy moments in your day because sometimes we really don’t. Often, we forget to recognize the moments of happiness in our day. Happiness Happens day is the perfect reminder of to remember those moments. Don’t worry, I think that it’s something everyone forgets about.
So, this year for happiness happens day, take the time to appreciate all of the happy moments in your day. Even if it’s small. I would also like to add that you should take the time to appreciate all of the people in your life that make you happy. They’re important too.
Finally, I want to leave you with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The quote says, “For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness”. I think this one is an important quote to remember because it takes so much energy to be angry. Don’t waste a minute of your day on anger. Choose happiness, even when it seems happiness isn’t possible. I promise it is.
Smile a little more, happiness can go quite a long way.
“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
Check out Kailey’s post Happiness Is… here on TurningPointCT.org! 🙂
The United Nations General Assembly held the first United Nations conference on Happiness. There they decided that we would celebrate the UN International Day of Happiness on March 20. It was celebrated officially for the first time in 2013!
The world is facing many extraordinary challenges. So, our wellbeing and happiness matters now more than ever. We have to take care of ourselves and each other. When we help others, we have the opportunity to set an example of kindness that will grow throughout the world.
We can improve the lives of human beings around the world in many ways. First and foremost, we can start by recognizing the importance of happiness and well-being as a universal goal and aspiration. Your happiness is an important part of taking care of yourself. Feeling unhappy isn’t something that you should just put up with because your happiness must be a priority.
I used to think that making everyone else happy was important so how I was feeling wasn’t really a big deal. Let me tell you how wrong I was about that one because it absolutely isn’t true. People-pleasing is so exhausting because while we are busy taking care of everyone else, we forget to take care of our own needs. What you need is important too, don’t forget that!
Always remember that YOU and your are a priority too. I know it can be difficult to put yourself first but you have to. If you forget to take care of yourself, you’ll start to drown and I don’t want that for you. So when you are thinking about how you can celebrate the International Day of Happiness, think about taking the day to take care of yourself.
Want to learn more on the International Day of Happiness? Check out their website here!
Be sure to check out Kailey’s video What Makes You Happy? right here on our website!
Today is the International Day of Happiness! I thought about writing a post about happiness, but I found myself struggling a bit. So instead, I decided to make a video that gives you a glimpse of some of the things that bring me happiness!
What makes you happy?
We always talk about the things or even places that make us happy but we never talk about the people that make us happy. What’s up with that? Those wonderful people in your lives deserve to know that they’re having a positive impact on you. They’re important too!
The things we say about and do for ourselves are an important part of managing our mental health. But you know what’s just as important? The people we surround ourselves with. The people that make us happy and feel good about ourselves are a critical part of how we manage our mental health. I say critical because these are the people that remind us that we are loved, worthy, and full of untapped potential. They keep us afloat when we feel like we’re drowning. Often, they’re our light at the end of the tunnel.
While we’re on the topic of who makes us happy, I want to take this time to talk about all of the people that make me happy. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life but there are a few who definitely deserve some recognition. These people are my siblings, my co-workers, my honey, and of course, one of my closest (and oldest) friends.
My brothers Donovan and Dante have always made me happy. Although it might not always seem that way, I promise it’s the truth. My brothers are the ones I hold close to my heart. Honestly, I’d say they actually are a piece of my heart, or at least it feels that way. Loving them and knowing that they love me back makes me happy. They are the ones that I know will be there for me when nobody else is. Donovan and Dante are the best brothers that anyone could ask for. They’re honest, kind and so full of love to give.
I am SO proud of the young men that they’re becoming, even if they don’t see it themselves yet. Their accomplishments (even the little ones) make me happy too. I will continue to cheer them on from the sidelines, I’m their biggest fan and I always will be. I know that they’re certainly mine. They’re the first people I want to tell good news to because I know they’ll be the most excited about it. I hope that I’m part of their happiness too!
My coworkers at the school are absolutely a cause for my happiness. These are the people I spend most of my week with. This is the first job I’ve been at where my coworkers have actually turned into what feels like family. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some pretty great coworkers but nothing like this. I spend my whole workday with these people, so we obviously need to make sure that we work well together. And guess what? We absolutely do. I know that I can rely on these people to pick me up when I’m feeling down. I just want them to know I appreciate every single one of them, even on the hard days. My teacher is wonderful. She’s loud, crazy, fun and so full of energy, she really keeps us going sometimes.
While I love my teacher, it’s my coworkers who have stolen my heart. Cassie, who I’ve found a fantastic best friend in, was a blessing. All year long we were full of laughs, hugs, tears and so much more. I miss you more than you know but I am so proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone! But now, Jen keeps me going on long days with laughs and conversations about the most random things. Even Mr. G, who indulges me with Swedish meatball pizza and what I consider some of the best dad jokes! Of everyone, I am especially thankful for Ciara and Dwayne who continue to encourage me to be the very best version of myself. I appreciate everything that you’ve both done and continue to do for me.
Last but certainly not least, Kailey. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to still have her in my life. Kailey was one of the first friends I made in middle school when I moved back to Salem (Connecticut) and we just never looked back. She is absolutely one of the people who makes me happy because she ALWAYS reminds me that it’s okay to feel the way that I’m feeling and that there’s nothing wrong with having a bad day.
Kailey is the one who encouraged me to apply for this job and I’m so glad that I did. This job has been a blessing. At first, I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to do it but here I am doing it! Plus, she continues to assure me every day that I’m doing a great job. She’s always believed in me, no matter what it was that we were doing. Almost 10 years later, it feels like nothing’s changed for us. We talk almost every day about everything and anything. She’s honestly a rock for me. I’d fall apart without her for sure. I know in my heart that anyone would be lucky to have her in their lives.
These people are so important to me and I will always make sure that they know it. They’re such an important part of my life and who I am, they’ve helped shape me into a better person. They continue to inspire me in different ways every day. Please remember to appreciate all the wonderful people in your life. ❤️
Who makes you happy? I’d love to hear all about them and what they’ve done for you!
If you have some time, read The Conversation’s article on happiness here! 🙂
Are you struggling or just need someone to talk to? You can check out all of TurningPointCT’s Resources to see what’s right for you!
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