H is for Happy

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I literally was so HAPPY when I heard Ashley Johnson was going to be a guest blogger this series! The letter H and her post is beyond fitting for her as Ashley is one of the happiest, positive and inspiring individuals I know to date. Ashley is driven, focused and a go-getter. She just recently received her Masters degree from Temple University, all while working full time (YOU GO GIRL!!!) and her daily Facebook and Instagram posts are so uplifting that she makes me want to be a better person. I think she MAY out do me in the selfie game, or we may be a close tie as "People Who Take The Most Selfies" :) Ash, stay amazing and fierce, so many of us look up to you (I hope you know that!!!)


H is for happy. Are you happy? What does happy look like? Wait, does it have a look?

The definition of happy, according to Merriam Webster is,
 “: feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.
  : showing or causing feelings of pleasure and enjoyment
  : pleased or glad about a particular situation, event, etc.”

I feel like the above definition covers it... to an extent. I’ve been thinking about being happy and happiness quite a bit over the last several months. Pic’s blog gives me the perfect platform to spill my thoughts into one place. (Thanks, girl!) A lot of my thoughts stem from books I’ve read, sessions I’ve attended, observations, my own life journey, and of course the internet.

A lot of people that know me personally, know that I always try to bring positivity to a situation. I keep it as real as possible and sometimes I do not always think before I speak. Even with that being the case, I have been told on more than one occasion that I remind them of sunshine. I take this as a huge compliment because it shows the progression I have made as a person over the last several years. From the outside, can you really, really tell if a person is happy? I do not think so, but over the last few months the following things that been said to me:

"But, you're always happy."
"You're always smiling."
"How do you stay so positive?"
“You look happy.”
“You’re the last person I would think would be in therapy.”

Wait… what? How can one just easily assume?

Thankfully, I am writing this and I can confidently say that I am happy. One thing that I do not always discuss are my own personal struggles. It is not always that easy. Each any every day we are fighting some type of battle. Even your closest friends and family may be going through struggles that you have no idea about. If it did not rain on our parade once in a while, we would be in a drought. How would we possibly be able to fill ourselves back up?

While no battle is easy, there’s a lot of inside work that has to happen when it comes to happiness. You have to heal yourself from the inside out. As you’re doing this, it will show. There’s always going to be bad days but when the good far outweigh the bad, that is something to be grateful for.

I write this as a person who had to grow up a lot faster than the average person. I’m typing this as a former people pleaser and worrier. As someone that has struggled with depression, loss, heartbreak, and insecurities. As a daughter, sister, and friend who has been nearby while some of the people closest to me have struggled with their own issues. At the end of the day, those experiences, trials and tribulations are still there. They are lessons in our life journey.

 What about you? Are you happy? If you are not, are you doing something about it?

It never ceases to amaze me that by a simple smile, there are so many assumptions about a person. If a smile helps boost the next person that may be having a rough day, I am all for it. Try smiling a little more, being a little bit warmer, and bringing those around you into your peace.  Happiness is contagious, I’m convinced.

There is no magic pill for happiness. I do have a few suggestions:

It may sound cliché, but think happy thoughts. Your mind is a powerful tool, bring the good things in your life into existence
Surround yourself with positive people. It is hard to stay happy when you are in the presence of negativity. Does that mean cut a person off? Not necessarily, but while you heal, you may have to create some distance
If you believe in any type of higher power.. faith, spiritual, religious, however you wish to label it. (lots of options!), tap a little bit deeper into that
Enjoy the sunshine! That’s FREE vitamin D + several other health benefits, including being a mood lifter (use sunscreen!)
Read a good book (or poetry, quotes, whatever you like)
Spend time with friends and family that replenish our energy
Self-care. If you are not sure what that is, look it up :)
Fill yourself back up, you are nothing to others if you are running on “E”
Make more time to do the things you love

I feel like I could go on and on, but those are just some of the things I am doing to be the happiest I can be. Life is not always easy, but our resilience is what makes us so wonderful. You may be having a hard day, week, month, or year but do not give up hope. This crazy thing we call life can’t be done alone so do not be afraid to speak up when you need someone to lean on.

If that someone can’t be a friend or relative, consider counseling. While, sometimes a stigma surrounds therapy and mental health, it is just as important to have a healthy mind so the rest of your body can follow. A therapist is also an objective, third party that can typically help develop skills to deal with your life situations.

After all, none of us are perfect with normal lives, you just have to learn to live happily in your “normal.”

Take care of yourself and don’t forget to smile..

xox,
Ashley

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