There are so many external factors that threaten our happiness. Everything from crappy weather to an awful job can make us feel rotten. However, you are not a product of your environment, and you can be happy in spite of your circumstances.
Here are 12 questions that can help you reframe your mindset and set you on a path to happiness.
1. Do I really need to look at that?
Do you have a reason to check Facebook, or are you going to just scroll through people’s perfect lives? Do you have a Snapchat you need to respond to, or are you just going to load everyone’s stories and end up with some serious FOMO (fear of missing out)? Social media is a tool and when it’s not being used for a purpose, avoid it like the plague.
2. Am I a hot topic?
Sometimes we think we are a huge deal but like I tell myself every time I want to wear the same shirt two days in a row, “You are not as big of a hot topic as you think you are.” (And then I wear the same shirt because doing what I want in spite of social pressures makes me happy.)
3. Am I doing this for attention?
If we use attention as our source of happiness we will always come up lacking. Do things because they make youfeel great not because other people’s’ reactions make you feel great.
4. What can I do in the next 10 minutes that will make me feel better?
Sometimes you are too busy to solve whatever is making you feel awful but everyone can grab a few healing minutes. Just sit and listen to your favorite song, eat a dove chocolate, or watch YouTube videos of goats in pajamas. Give yourself a quick break with the intention of returning to the world with at least somewhat of a sunnier perspective.
5. Who has it worse right now?
Comparing is an awful thing to do. That said, this question can be freakishly effective. Sometimes you just need to put your problems in perspective.
6. Can I exercise instead?
Even if you don’t have time to take a stroll through your neighborhood or hit the gym, see if you can take a five-minute walk up and down the staircase. Not only does exercising give you endorphins, but it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.
7. Why am I crying?
Just pinning down the real reason to your emotions can help you feel better about them (even if it doesn’t mean that you stop raining out of your face). You might be crying because you are stressed out or feeling lonely.
8. Who cares?
Is what you’re freaking out about worth all the energy? Does anyone else care about this as much as you do? Do you even care? (Okay that’s an extra three questions.)
9. Who can I talk to right now?
Talking to someone is a balm for a sore soul. They will give you validation and/or solutions.
10. What are my expectations?
Usually when we’re unhappy it’s because we feel that something should be happening in our lives and it’s not. What were you expecting to get from life? What are your true ambitions?
11. Why aren’t my expectations being met?
Maybe they’re not as realistic as they seemed. Maybe there’s something you’re neglecting to do that could allow you to meet them.
12. Am I going to be okay?
It’s okay to be sad sometimes, but make sure you’re aware of whether or not you are going to make it out of your unhappiness. If you don’t think you will be okay, seek the help of a trusted friend or trained professional.