Today - 'Blue Monday' - is believed by many to be the most depressing day of the year for many reasons:
- Christmas is over and forgotten.
- We are back to work and the next holiday seems a long way off.
- There is media pressure to loose weight and look fabulous.
- Exams are under way.
- Money can be short after the excesses of Christmas.
- Pay day still seems a long way off.
- Daylight hours are short.
- The weather can be at its most disruptive.
It can be a real challenge to be happy in the depths of January. Spending money, even if it is an option, is not a solution to long lasting happiness. There are many simple things you can do to boost your mood without spending money or accumulating more stuff. Here are some suggestions to find a little happiness every day.
1. Start a gratitude diary - be grateful for what you have rather than what you don't have.
2. Plan something to look forward to.
3. Think positive thoughts - display a positive affirmation in a prominent position.
4. Do a random act of kindness.
5. Enjoy a daily task or activity - a morning coffee, a chat with a colleague or make your journey to/from work more pleasurable.
6. Don't expect perfection from yourself or others.
7. Force yourself to smile (it works!)
8. Do something that makes you laugh.
9. Get out for a walk in the fresh air.
10. If you've got a big dream start taking taking steps today, (no matter how tiny), towards that goal.
11. Contact a friend.
12. Eat healthily but allow yourself a small indulgence.
13. Cook a meal from scratch.
14. Cook for others.
15. Write down your worries if they seem out of control.
Choosing a simpler life over a materialistic life does take time, discipline and a steely determination to resist the persuasive powers of media and advertising. I need to remind myself regularly to practise these actions.
However, slowly but surely they are becoming more habitual. The happiness I get from spending time with a friend or cooking a meal is more long lasting than the quick rush of happiness I used to get from buying new clothes or things for the house.
I guess I am making progress on my minimalistic and simple living journey and that is something to be grateful for and happy about alone.