What makes you happy?
I have been asking myself this question for the past couple of days. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been happy lately. I’ve been fighting depression, feelings of hopelessness and anger, and of course, my ever present eating disorder. I am living at home for the foreseeable future (for the first time in years), and family pressures and triggering comments are pushing me to the verge of insanity! I just want to be happy and lately, I feel like I’ve lost my spark and drive.
However, yesterday I had an epiphany. While I was punching away at the family’s punching bag, I thought, I’m really enjoying this. After I finished boxing, I started watching Fitness Marshall videos from YouTube (follow along dance videos for those who don’t know). I forgot how much I love dancing, I thought. I suck at it, but it’s a lot of fun!
A few years ago, the only form of exercise I got was running and the occasional body weight training session. As my eating disorder developed and worsened, running and exercise in general became a way to burn calories and a punishment for eating. At one point, I had to stop exercising all together because my relationship with it was so terrible. I had forgotten the joy and happiness that healthy movement brings.
Last night when I realized how much I was enjoying my exercise, I had to do a double take. I was happy, enjoying moving just for the sake of moving. It was refreshing and freeing. I appreciated what my body was able to do for me. What other things make me happy? I wondered.
What makes me happy?
Society has a lot to say about what we should be doing every day to be productive and accomplished. We’re supposed to wake up early, do yoga, journal, eat three meals a day and never skip breakfast, do weight training, read books, be a minimalist, go keto, and the list goes on. I used to live by a lot of these rules (as well as many others I haven’t mentioned) in order to be productive, but what about happy?
I’ve decided that this week, I’m going to focus on doing the things that truly make me happy. I’ve spent some time thinking of things I know make me happy: walking, dancing, singing in the shower, drinking tea, listening to music and stories, baking/cooking, playing piano, writing, stretching, and drawing, just to name a few. Some of these things I used to do a lot—like singing and dancing—but after struggling with my eating disorder and bouts of depression, these things slowly slipped to the wayside.
This week I’m determined to regularly ask myself, what would make me happy right now?
Life isn’t all about pleasure!
You’re probably thinking. Yes, it is unrealistic to think that every single thing in your day is going to make you happy. Most of us have jobs and chores that maybe don’t fill us with joy all the time. But while living in constant ecstasy may not be realistic, it isn’t unrealistic to choose to live a happy life in general.
While most of my day is filled with schoolwork and work—two things I don’t mind but that don’t typically make me exceptionally happy—I am in control of every other aspect of my day, how I organize my work and schoolwork, and how I plan for my future.
This week I will purposely choose things that make me happy.
This means that I won’t feel obligated to participate in certain activities if I don’t want to, that I’ll intentionally take time out of my day to do things that I truly enjoy, and that I won’t feel guilty for doing things that I enjoy (even if it means I’m not as productive as those around me).
Feel free to join me in this endeavor. Ask yourself what makes you truly happy and take time every day to pursue happiness. I’ll follow-up next week 🙂