While I generally stick to happy (or neutral) topics, I have had an undertone of crankiness lately. The truth is, I’m not the happiest I’ve ever been, and the past month or so has been a struggle. The reasons why largely relate to complicated issues at school, but there is nothing I can do between now and then to remove the sources of that unhappiness.
The issue is how I will spend my days in the meantime. So far, I have chosen to spend every day counting down until I can make the changes I need to make (1 month and 23 days, in case you were curious). This is no way to live. I may not be able to change my circumstances (yet), but I can choose how I let those circumstances affect my life, my relationships, my health, and my state of mind.
Spending my days being miserable does nothing but keep me miserable. So here are some of the things I’m doing to help myself choose happiness:
1. Get some perspective. Do I have food, water, shelter, safety, health, and love? Yes to all of the above. There are billions of people who don’t. Remember to be thankful.
2. Focus on the positive. Even though life has been crazy, I’ve kept blogging because it makes me happy. Teaching Zumba and PiYo makes me happy too. So instead of brooding over the negatives, I’m going to focus on the things I love that bring me joy. I shouldn’t wait for things to be perfect to treat every day as a gift.
3. Let go. Holding on to anger and frustration is not productive. When I’m in a situation that makes my blood boil, I tend to draw that negative energy in. Instead, I need to breathe, release, and let it go.
4. Compartmentalize. One of the hardest things about law school is that the day is never done. There’s always more work to do. Many jobs are this way too. Since it’s always on my mind, I let negativity around school bleed into the rest of my life. I haven’t been taking my frustration out on John (luckily), but I have let it affect my mood, and that affects us. It’s bad enough letting these situations bring me down in the moment, but when that happens, I need to leave it in the moment so I can get back to my life.
5. Accept what I can’t change. I can’t change the people I’ve been struggling with. They are who they are. Working with difficult people is part of life. I can’t change my schedule or my responsibilities, at least not in the short term. Wishing I could change these things is a waste of time and energy.
6. Get a new attitude. I loved law school in the beginning. When I gave it 100%, instead of begrudgingly dragging myself through it, I was more successful and less stressed. I’m hoping if I try to change my attitude, I can get a little bit of that back.
I don’t mean to imply that you can always choose to be happy instead of hurt, angry, sad, etc. But when your own reaction to everyday situations is unhappiness, it’s in your power to change. For me, now is one of those times. Instead of letting my circumstances control me, I’m taking back control and choosing to be thankful, grateful, proactive, and yes, happy.
Questions: Have you ever needed a change but been “stuck?” How did you handle it?