Some things to remember about life to make you more happier (sic)

Here's a list of things you can keep in the back of your pocket and pull out as needed.

1. Things tend to work out. 

True, times in life can become challenging and often we feel lost, confused, stressed, in a bind, or not sure when the hell it'll ever change. But things tend to work out on their own. Usually it's hard to have faith that things'll work out, especially when you're stressed, but they tend to. Look at your life for evidence of this. Things may not work out the way you originally intended, for example, your relationship might fall apart, or you might lose your job, but those losses play a role in creating new opportunities. You only see it in retrospect, so it's good to remind yourself sometimes that things'll be okay.

2. Problems become easier to manage.

Whether it's self-consciousness, overthinking, chronic sadness, frustration, or feeling lost, things improve because you have a mind. Even just thinking about these things helps. Why? Because you're becoming more familiar with your own experience, and as that happens, you're able to see more of what's going on. You can start to make connections between your reactions and their causes, even if it happens slowly. As your awareness starts to grow, you're able to step away from your automatic reactions, as you're having them, and look at the situation differently with fresh eyes. New perceptions, new reactions, new experience. Now we're cruising. 

3. Mood changes are normal and healthy.

We like to pathologize everything, i.e., make everything into a disorder. There's a lot of reasons why that happens: pharmaceutical industries wanting to create more opportunities to push pills; a legacy from our pessimistic Freudian days; strong cultural (and biological) pressure to fit in and compete; and other people who rely on your fear of inferiority to make money (sorry, Oprah, but it's true). But the truth is, feeling happy and sad and scared and joyous are all part of the normal spectrum of human emotions. Life is hard at times, and it's scary at time, and it sucks at times. And having reactions to these changes are expected. They don't need to be "fixed." At all. So relax, dammit!

4. Things don't have to change in order for your feelings to change.

This is a big one. We tend to think that our situation needs to change for our feelings--stress, fear, anger, frustration, jealousy, gloominess--to change. But it's not always true. Our moods aren't just based on the events that happen to us, they're based on how we perceive and choose which events to recollect. 

There's a ton of information we experience on a daily basis, but to make sense of our lives, we have to collapse this information into chunks. The chunks are strung together into stories (narratives) that we tell ourselves and share with others. Think about how you talk about your career, or your luck, or your relationships, or your moods. There's a story we tell people that summarizes these aspects of our lives, and each story has certain key moments and interpretations. For example, "I have the worst luck in dating. Everyone I meet looks great at first but then has something seriously wrong with them. Three examples..." The examples we pick help shape the story and what we expect in the future.

Some narratives skew negatively; you know these people, that always have 100 things to whine about. Sometimes they skew positively (and sometimes a little too positively...I'm looking at you, New Agers), and sometimes they wobble. I'm kind of a wobbler myself. The point is, the way we interpret and recall the events that shape our lives, both good and bad events, influences how we feel and think about our lives--whether we're optimistic, pessimistic, confused, stressed, frustrated, fearful, or whatever. That's why people who watch the news (like me) become cynical hopeless bastards (I stopped)...their memories and narratives skew negatively, so they're moods and thinking start to skew negatively too. 

So pay attention to your own stories about things, about your relationships, your "issues," your successes and failures, your conflicts, about others...your loved ones and especially your enemies. Try to identify your own narratives and examine them. Are they accurate? Are you recalling events in a biased way? Are you discounting or ignoring evidence that contradicts your narrative? Sometimes that's all it takes to change a relationship, a problem, or a slump.

Hope you enjoyed. Questions >