If you’re unhappy, chances are, you are the source of and solution to your own problem.
In what is currently our plugged-in 24 hours a day society, it’s really easy to get down on yourself. Throughout social media interactions, we see what appears to be people’s near-perfect lives. According to their posts of motivational quotes and polished pictures, everything just looks peachy – while we look across the living room or up from our desks at our less-than-perfect existence. Never mind the constant hammering from the media on all of the bad things happening everywhere…always.
Well, the fact is, that almost no one’s life is as awesome as they make it seem. It’s probably far less awesome than you have cooked it up to be in your own mind, and the media only gets clicks for highly sensationalized content.
What we end up suffering from is getting caught up in our own minds about how bad we have it versus what we allow to be shoved into our faces every day. The major source of this depressing input is the screen that’s in front of your face right now (Keep reading this though.) I have taken notice that the time in my day when the largest concentration of negativity enters my brain is when I’m staring at a screen. We start to care about things that are not only outside of our control, but are largely none of our business. We drive ourselves crazy giving our attention to things that are undeserving of it. Next time you find yourself getting worked up over something that’s coming from the screen, ask yourself if whatever it is will matter in a month. If not…then it doesn’t matter, and you’re giving that thing energy that it doesn’t deserve from you.
I never seem to get into a mental funk when I’m out actually doing something, and it really doesn’t seem to matter much what that something is. Yard work, making something, tinkering, exercise, reading, shooting, outdoors activities, etc – all have this strange ability to not put me into a bad mood. Better still, they can take you out of one. My friend, Mark, who runs the Growing Up Guns blog just shared an article on just this subject that shows that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a significant impact on both your physical and mental state.
This may mean that we have to ask that, from time to time, we ask that our responsibilities and love ones sit on the back burner for just a few minutes while we recalibrate ourselves. Sometimes it’s ok to be selfish in order to develop meaning and happiness in our own lives. If we make that our aim, we can be better for them. Do you want a spouse that’s constantly slipping into a foul mood or distancing themselves, but is always around? Or would it be better if they were in a good mood most if the time, but had to step away periodically? If your family member or significant other asks you to not take care of yourself, in whatever way that you can (within reason obviously), what does that say about their feelings about your wellbeing anyway?
Something to keep in mind during our pursuit of happiness, is that whatever activity we select, it has to be about you. Your reset button shouldn’t be about anyone else or service to community, because then it can feel like a responsibility, and that’s not what we’re after. It has to be something that we’re selfishly passionate about. It doesn’t seem to matter much what that activity might be, at least in my experience, as long as we’re checking those few boxes.
So if you ever find yourself in a fog that you can’t seem to explain, be selfish for a few minutes and go clear your head. Go for a walk, go lift weights, go clean and organize your tools, go to the shooting range and work on some drills, go to a basketball court and work in free-throws. Most anything that involves some task that’s at least mildly taxing both physically and mentally, and that you enjoy, is very likely to lift your mood. Our minds and bodies need this stuff. They thrive on struggle.
Ensuring that we work to become a better version of us allows us to be better for everyone else.
Take care of yourself.
Note: Obviously there are caveats to this. Clinically diagnosed mental health issues require attention from licensed mental health professionals and are beyond the scope of this post. Please, seek help from a professional. There is zero shame in getting a checkup from the neck up.
Other note: Toxic relationships. Get out of them. See? Easy.