Monday, 18 July 2016

Guaranteed Smiles

Recently I’ve found myself having a series of bad days. Whether due to my mental health, a loved one being ill or the sadness of current world events, over the last few months day after day I’ve found myself feeling low. Then a few weeks ago, I came to the realization that the things I’ve been feeling sad about I can’t change, not really. So I started thinking about what I could change. If I can’t change the sad things that are currently going on in my life and in the world then maybe I can create more happiness to try and balance things out a little.

So I took out my journal and made a list of all of the things that are guaranteed to make me smile and since then I’ve made it a personal goal to do as many of the things on this list as I can when I feel sad. It doesn’t solve any problems, and it doesn’t make the bad things go away but it does steady my mood and helps me to recognise the good things in my life. So today I wanted to share with you my list of Guaranteed Smiles, I’d really encourage any of you to write your own list and put those little rays of happiness into action during those times when life gets dark.

Get Some Fresh Air – Whether taking a short walk, sitting in my garden or simply opening up the windows of my house, getting some fresh air into my lungs helps clear the cobwebs of my mind and makes it easier to breathe when I’m feeling anxious.

Do Something Nice For Someone – This can be something as simple as making someone a cup of tea, paying them a compliment, or buying them a little gift just because. Doing something nice for somebody else makes them happy and in my experience is the most natural way of making myself feel happy in return.

Feel Good Reads- Reading is one of the easiest ways to escape the world for a little while and when I’m feeling sad I like to read something feel good to cheer myself up. Two books that have made me smile recently are You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour and The Plumberry School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley.

Pizza – Pizza solves everything.

Surprise Yourself by Jack Garratt – I absolutely love this song and always listen to it on days when I don’t feel like I can cope. The music video for this is incredible, it follows a group of people doing something they didn’t think they could do, if you haven’t watched it yet then you should!

Fresh Flowers – If I’m having a bad mental health day I find it hard to leave my house and so having fresh flowers in my room allows me to bring a little bit of outside in. I usually choose bright colours that will really catch my eye and brighten my space.

Meg – My little dog is such a goofball. She loves life and seeing her play and explore the world always makes me happy.

Pamper Evenings – Sometimes feeling good on the outside helps me to feel better on the inside too. Looking after my body and treating it to some me-time makes me feel great and gives me space to mentally get my thoughts together.

Making Fun Plans – This is a big one for me. Having something on the horizon to look forward to be it a day out or hanging out with friends gives me something good to focus on. Knowing something fun is coming up in the future makes getting through a hard day that little bit easier.

Red Velvet Cake – The ultimate comfort food.

Lighting a Candle – There is something so peaceful about flickering candlelight and if the candle has a beautiful scent even better.

Twitter Favourites – I usually favourite things on Twitter that have made me laugh, have given me faith in the world, or have made me feel valued and loved. Scrolling through a great big list of lovely things that other people have said really cheers me up.

Writing My WIP – I’m currently working on a Women’s Fiction project set in the countryside at Christmas. This WIP contains so many of my favourite things and features characters that I love. Writing it sweeps me away to a place that I love spending time in. It’s also nice to play God and to be able to take control of the world and characters for a while - even if it is only fiction!

Jane the Virgin – This show is a new discovery of mine and it’s so cute I can’t even deal. I recently finished watching the first season on Netflix and am waiting impatiently for them to add season two.

Journaling - Writing in my journal allows me to get all of my thoughts and feelings out in a private place and sometimes just getting them down on to paper is all that is needed for me to feel better and make sense of a situation.

Trying a New Look – Playing around with makeup is one of my favourite ways to get creative and express myself. When I’m feeling down I love trying out new makeup looks and find it fun to switch things up a little (I’m sure this stems from the many teen films I’ve watched where a makeover has solved all of the heroines problems.)

Chatting to Friends – This year I’ve learnt to be really honest with my friends when I’m struggling instead of keeping it all inside. I’ve learnt that it’s okay to lean on them when I need support and that being totally open and honest creates a deeper and more valuable friendship with the people you allow to get close to you.

Making a List of Achievements – It’s easy to look at the people around you and think that they have achieved so much more than you and are in a better place. Instead, when you find yourself thinking those thoughts, turn the focus on you. What have you achieved this year? Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished and take a moment to acknowledge your successes and feel proud of yourself.

I’d love to know, what would be on your list of Guaranteed Smiles?

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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.