By: Alyssa Gagnon, Regular Contributor
It’s been a turbulent couple of months, and I am finally beginning to catch sight of a light at the end of the tunnel. I can see that the storm will let up soon.
So what caused the turmoil? Well, as it turns out, I did. I caused myself to feel dissatisfied, restless, and unfulfilled. I caused myself those negative feelings because I became complacent. In my job, in my relationship, in my routine, I stopped being an active participant and I let everything happen to me. Rather than continuing to pour intention into the things that I do and experience day in and day out, I got lazy.
My mental laziness caught up with me in no time: it only took a couple of weeks of passivity to become bogged down in the minutia of my daily life. When that happened, I began feeling thoroughly stuck, defeated, trapped… I became claustrophobic.
When I finally came to a place—about a month into the turmoil—at which I could critically look at my situation, I was able to see that there was nothing external that would help make me feel better. Friends would ask, “What if you quit your job?,” “Do you think you should have waited to get married?” and other questions that concerned friends are wont to ask. Each time though, the answer was invariably “no.”
I could see that no change would take away the unhappiness I was feeling. And by deduction, I came to the hard truth that the only change that could possibly solve my problem had to occur within myself.
I made a calendar: I scheduled myself activities that I knew would feed my soul. I gave myself a hard deadline, and when that deadline came, it was time for me to stop indulging negative behaviors. I made an appointment with a therapist. I reinvested into the things and people that matter in my life.
In the midst of such inner turmoil, I know that one of the hardest things to do is to pull yourself up, kick your own butt, and try to be happy (hence the deadline!). It’s easy to wallow. And sometimes being happy takes a lot of hard, consistent work.
As a lifelong athlete, I find that my happiness is like any other type of training. My happiness muscle needs to be exercised, or else it will atrophy. I, for a brief moment of my life, fell off the wagon when it comes to my emotional health workouts, and I am now reminded of the importance of working that happiness muscle.
I try to write this with a hint of reservation, for I know that I am not quite back to my personal standard, but I am well on my way. There is still work to be done. There is always work to be done.
Alyssa gives some fantastic tips to "train for happiness." Which one resonated the most with you? Give it a shot and tell us about your discoveries here. Got your own method of keeping your happiness wheels spinning? Share that too!
Alyssa grew up on a diet of grilled cheese, books, and ice cream with books predominating. She recently graduated with a Master’s degree in English and lives in her favorite place with her favorite husband (she only has one). Post-graduation, her plans are to start a new women’s magazine that leaves women feeling GREAT about who they are, and to open a publishing house for untapped talent.