Fear is an emotion I used to view in a negative light. However, understanding how fear influences my emotional state has helped me to harness its power and use it to my advantage. In certain situations, overcoming fear helps me achieve my goals, contributing to feelings of accomplishment, happiness, and a more vibrant life experience.
As my school year draws to a close, the notion of letting go is front and center on my mind. May is always a poignant month for a teacher, but this May has been particularly heavy as I prepare to leave the world of education behind and embark on a new career path. I will miss my students dearly and the person I have become under their tutelage, but as we march toward the last day of school, I am more and more ready to let go of who I have been in order to make space for who I will be.
For Mother's Day, I asked my mom what my post this week should be about. She loves to give advice, and I figured a fresh perspective would brighten my writing. When she immediately suggested I write about gardening, I decided to run with "planting happiness."
Maintaining and improving your cognitive skills, or the ability to use your brain, is an integral part of living happily into old age. Your cognitive skills allow you to think, reason, and process information. Small changes in your daily routine can strengthen these abilities, boosting your brainpower, mood, overall wellbeing, and emotional state.
With the rise of "main character energy" in the post-pandemic, there's been a lot of buzz over the past few years over the notion of "romanticizing your life." In short, this idea urges you to fall in love with your own existence the same way you might fall in love with another person. A simple Google search yields list upon list of ways you can do this. This content is fun and zesty but ultimately flawed. Approaching your romance with yourself with dos and don'ts is as effective as wooing a crush by giving them a handbook. True romance is spontaneous and melting, not structured and task-oriented. If you're interested in romanticizing your life, there's a simpler way.
In a perfect world, it would be nice to avoid adversity altogether, but unfortunately, everybody has to face unfavorable circumstances at some point. However, dwelling on adversity only leads to dismay, and focusing on the potential positive outcomes in any situation is much more likely to work in your favor.
Looking back at all my past problems from where I am today, it's often hard to remember just how low I felt. It's hard to remember the many years I spent stuck in a vicious cycle of anxiety, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), not knowing if I would ever be able to break free and live a happy and fulfilling life again. There were intermittent periods of depression when I was unable to see any reason for existence. Thankfully, those days are over.
Do you have any negative beliefs (those which usually deliver an unwanted outcome)? Have you ever thought about why you believe some things and not others? Did you learn them at school, or are they the result of your experiences? Do your thoughts and ideas create positive or negative outcomes? It's worth taking the time to look at your beliefs, as they make up a fundamental part of your ability to experience happiness and have a powerful influence over your life, and replacing negative beliefs can be beneficial.
I remember visiting my therapist when I was learning to cope with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and one of the things he said was, "Mr. Brocklebank, you have set yourself a very high bar." Of course, I knew this already. I have been painstaking and particular about everything I do for as long as I can remember—what some might call a perfectionist. But is perfection something you should try to achieve, or can you be happier without it? As a perfectionist, can you ever meet the uncompromising standards you set for yourself? Should perfectionism ever be a goal?
Taking risks has a bad reputation. We advise people against decisions that seem "risky," warn children away from capers that might result in injury, and, as a general rule of thumb, seek certainty at all costs. On the surface, this ethos makes perfect sense. Why take risks when the odds are against you? After all, that's what risk is: a poor probability or an unlikely shot.