Finding happiness and keeping hold of it

Finding happiness and keeping hold of it

Learning how to grab hold of happiness and be fulfilled in life is not something that comes naturally or easy to me, but like everything I am always up for the challenge and it’s something I am continuing to focus on so I can improve myself. I have written some points down which help me stay focused and thinking in a positive way.

  • For so long I believed that to have happiness I needed to know exactly where I was going in life and have complete clarity. When I turned everything on its head and started to live life with uncertainty I found my true direction in life. I love not having everything mapped out and the uncertainty of the future. As long as I continue to move then I am always going somewhere new, it’s when you stop and stay still that the problems set in and nothing can change.
  • The need of approval of others is something I have always relied on heavily, but when I decided to stop needing that and start living life for my own needs, is when things began to change for me. The more I craved being told I was doing the right thing, the unhappier I became in life. I was giving away any power of mine and not trusting my own instincts in life. If I want to have a fulfilled life then I need to trust myself and follow what I believe is right.
  • Living life in the future and always looking to the next step and achievement can be actually pretty disheartening. I have reached many milestones in life which I thought would complete me, but in fact they haven’t and I need to treat life as one big journey and enjoy the ride, as the only person who can bring me happiness is myself.
  • Understanding that not every day will go the way you intended, but picking yourself back up and carrying on. Some days negativity will creep in and motivation will slow down. This doesn’t mean it’s won it’s just a minor bump in the road and recovering from this quickly is what is important.
  • Letting the negative thoughts through, but remembering to question them and disprove them. Everyday I will have negative thoughts but everyday I have the ability to question them, they are not fact and I have power over them.
  • Always challenging myself and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The last year I have worked so hard pushing myself out of comfort zone, and the progress I have made in a year still shocks me today. I used to get anxiety attacks doing the food shop, but am now able to turn up somewhere like Britmums where I knew no body and I was able to connect, make plans and navigate myself around London. It’s not easy and anxiety is always there, but knowing I can beat it and challenge it is such a powerful and rewarding feeling.
  • Stop focusing on what is lacking in life. As humans we have a habit of always looking at what life is lacking and not being satisfied with what we have. Sometimes you need to take a moment to be present in the moment and just enjoy what you have around you.
  • Neglecting what I love. When I first became a mother I stopped doing stuff for me and it was not good for my mental wellbeing. I now know to focus on my passions in life to make sure that I can always continue to grow and always have my purpose.

I would love to hear of anyone else’s tips for happiness.

 

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Be fearless in the pursuit of happiness

Being fearless in the pursuit of happiness should be something we all should be able to do, but like with many things saying it is much easier than doing it. For so long I have worried about other people’s opinions, have tried to live up to other people’s standards and punished myself if I haven’t lived up to these. This has done nothing for my happiness and has forever held me back in finding happiness.

As a child I was brought up as a Christian and honestly believed I needed to punish myself every time I made a mistake or I would go to hell. I now have learnt to respect all religions, whilst being able to formulate my own ideas about them and not take it all too literally. I do believe in something, but to be honest I really don’t know what exactly. I don’t know why we feel that we should punish ourselves for not living up to standards which are often unattainable, we are only human after all and why should be always be fearful. The perception of the world around you is left up to your own interpretation.

As I have got older I noticed happy people don’t seem to put as much focus on what others think, they tend to do just ‘do’. Life isn’t about material possessions to make you happy and won’t lead happiness and I’m a great believer it’s about the experiences of life instead. I’m always trying now to just enjoy the moment and not try to worry about pointless material goods which actually don’t feel any gaps in your life long-term. I won’t look back in ten years and have fond memories of a silly priced handbag I bought, but instead will think back to a holiday with my children or a trip away with friends.

Everything is the world is temporary, the good and the bad and to find happiness we need to take the good with the bad and remember we can’t fully appreciate happiness unless we have also felt sadness. It’s fine to go through a  tough time, it teaches you important life lessons we need to learn, from every difficult time we have gone through in our lives it has shaped, moulded us and taught us something new.

To find happiness you need to do what you love, and if you don’t I think it’s important to make small changes where you can. We need to invest in ourselves and make sure we are doing something for our souls that we gain something from. If you hate your job then please find something else to do, but if that isn’t a possibility make sure you have time to still do stuff you love. Find a creative outlet, study something you love or go places that will make you smile. Everyone can be creative with something, it’s not just about making or creating, but about writing, building, dancing, music, photography, baking, colouring etc. Everyone can find a creative outlet.

To be truly happy I believe you need to be present and it’s something I have written about many times before and it’s something I am forever trying to remind myself. To be depressed you are living in the past and not letting your life flourish and grow. The little moments of happiness in life are the memories that you want to look back on, nothing else. It’s not easy to find a good balance of how to reflect on your past and look to your future, but I think it’s valuable and productive.

I believe it’s more work to be unhappy than to be happy. If you are sad, looking back on all that is wrong in your past you are just using lots of energy in a negative way. Being happy takes time and involves lots of dedication in yourself, but you can change your life if you are willing to. Don’t com-pare your lives against others and their progress, set small goals, look at the overall picture and be patient. Be fearless in the pursuit of happiness, you have nothing to lose.

photography credit to Ricky Lee Photography 

 

Be fearless in the pursuit of happiness

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How to become a happy mum

How to become a happy mum

I have been a parent for almost five years and I’ve learnt a think or two in this time. I’ve gone from control freak, over protective mum, to having a mental breakdown and now I am the happy mum. To become a happy mum it took time, lots of realisation and took the strength to finally let go of guilt around my decisions.

I’m not an organised person and even though I have the best intentions it just doesn’t happen for me. I always forget dates, double book and never have the children’s stuff ready for the morning. I think I like to be rushed in some ways as it actually makes me productive and sets me up for the day. My friends don’t hold this against me though and even know it’s worth reminding me a couple of times about something important. I  swear far too often and Miss J has dropped the ‘F’ bomb, I may have sniggered slightly, whilst in my best grown up voice I explained that it wasn’t ok to use that word and mummy is naughty sometimes. Yes I know it’s not great that my child knows some swear words, but she also knows she is not to use them and also mummy isn’t perfect and makes mistakes. When I’m not swearing I sigh, all day long I sigh from one thing to the next, whilst probably muttering ‘for ducks sake’ under my breath. I find this whole parenting work hard work and sometimes very monotonous. I hate folding clothes endlessly, forever picking up messes left around the house and I moan about it LOTS.

Some days I get up, do my make up, get organised, take amazing photos of our beautiful life and others I’m just winging it with a messy bun that resembles Miss Trunchbulls. Some days I look content, happy, smiling and skipping along, enjoying every second of this idyllic family life and being a happy mum. Other days I’m just fighting a losing battle and counting down the hours until bedtime. My point is it’s tough, we can’t always get it right every day and there is nothing wrong with that. Parenting is a hardcore job, you deal with the good, the bad, the ugly and the just dam right minging at times. There is nothing to feel guilty about if you don’t like it all the time, just like if you have a partner you probably don’t like them all the time. They might be our kids, but they can still be pretty horrible people at times and we don’t always have to get on with them.

We are influenced by social media and also the media that we should love, embrace and never moan about parenting as we are lucky enough to become mum’s, when in fact it’s a tough job which we are usually trying to manage alongside a house, a job and dare I say it, a life outside of this. We are told what way we should feed our babies milk, what nappies, what age to wean. We are still be dictated to and made to feel guilty about what we choose. We need to remember we are the baby’s mother and we know what is best for our family and we shouldn’t have to explain or defend these decisions.

Being a happy mum isn’t a race or a competition and we shouldn’t compare ourselves. We are all just winging it and probably feeling guilt over some of the choices we have to make. I bet making that choice to return back to work wasn’t done because you don’t want to see your child, it was done as it was best for your family. I bet deciding to be a stay at home was made as it was the best decision for your family. everyone’s family life is different and one size doesn’t fit all and that is nothing to be ashamed about.

Put the kids in front of the TV, have a hot drink, scroll through your Facebook and take 5 minuets for yourself. Yes they are only small once, but remember you deserve to still be you whilst being a mum. Let go of guilt, forget the mess and enjoy being you. You are an individual and you are more than a mother. Let’s all start being happy parent.

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Little moments of happiness – week 5

I’m feeling pretty rubbish right now, with a horrible cold and anxiety creeping in. I’m feeling pretty unmotivated and not really wanting to focus on my blog or writing ‘little moments of happiness’. Why it’s important to still do this is that It keeps me focused and will hopefully make me reflect on my past week in a more positive way, so that I can look forward to a more positive week. It’s so important for us not just to care about our body, but also our mind, and my mind needs some extra care right now. So onto this weeks little moments of happiness .

  • Miss J impressed me this week with a handwritten birthday list of friends she wants to ask to her 5th birthday party. She asked how to spell everyone’s name, but it was written perfectly and it must have taken her lots of concentration.
  • Miss J’s teacher this week also told me how quickly she was progressing with her reading. This is so important for me as I know she’s an intelligent girl, but struggles to stay focussed just like I did at her age.
  • Mr T has started to put two words together and he’s all of a sudden stopped being a baby and become a toddler. He’s becoming quite the little chatterbox.
  • I smashed a class of 20/20/20 at the gym even when I thought I would pass out half way through the legs section.
  • A beautiful spring walk and lunch around the marina with a friend. Unfortunately it was still pretty muddy and my pushchair is in a much needed hose down. Mr T also slept the whole walk and I could have adult conversation.
  • A tasty Italian meal out for my mothers 62nd birthday. We stayed in the restaurant till pass 9pm and BOTH children were still happy and behaving.

Reading back through this and racking my brain I already feel a little better about my snotty week. I am still full of snot, can’t breath through my nose, but I will survive and make another week of little happy memories.

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Little moments of happiness week 3

Little moments of happiness week 3

I’m onto my third week of little moments of happiness, where I try to focus on what little things have bought me happiness this past week. I was expecting this past to be particularly challenging with having my daughter off school for the week and my husband working 12 hour night shifts 7 days straight. This week went surprisingly well and not only did I manage to keep everything together I also enjoyed every moment with both my children. I really hope this means that I am turning a corner and that the happiness continues.
  • A very hectic, but enjoyable lunch with a few friends and children, whilst the children played in kids area. We spent over three hours chatting away and Tristan only rugby tackled his best friend once.
  • My appointment with my new psychotherapist went really well and it’s something I think that will really help me.
  • I’ve been approached to do a collaboration for a new app which teaches you tried and tested techniques to manage stress and how to optimise your coping mechanisms. I’m really excited to try this and also review it and will be sharing with you a discount code for a months free subscription.
  • I went back to work. I was waiting for the anxiety to build up and the sleepless nights start to follow with the anticipation of going back to work, but my anxiety seems to have disappeared. I’m hoping it’s to do with my antidepressant increase and it stays this way. Anxiety has plagued my life so much it’s like a ton of bricks being lifted from my shoulders. It was great to get back to the routine of work and get away from my home.
  • Meeting up with my sister-in-law and watching our children play. We had a great couple of hours watching Miss J run around like a manic and Mr T’s big cousin was playing beautifully with him.
  • I took both children to Tescos and came out with everything I needed and managed to stay sane in the process. Both my children decided to sit in the trolley (even though Miss J is almost five) and were well-behaved. A trip to Tescos would normally fill me full of anxiety with only one child with me.
  • Me, my husband and Miss J had a great game of Star Wars the other night with my daughters new lightsaber. unfortunately for my husband it was girls against boys and get got a bit beaten up.
  • Mr T has been suffering with his teeth the last few days and on Saturday night he curled up in my arms and slept like a newborn whilst I watched TV. It was the most amazing feeling his weight on me, snuggled in close.

This week I am back to work three days a week and plan to start back at the gym. I am feeling positive and motivated.

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little moments of happiness

Little moments of happiness week 1

When dealing with depression it’s easy to look back through a week and think that you’ve done nothing and nothing has made you smile. This last week I’ve been writing down little things that have made me smile so I can look back through and realise that there is always something positive to reflect on and moments of happiness to cherish.

Here is a little list of things that have made me smile this week:

  • Miss J sitting and doing row, row, row the boat with Mr T. Whenever I see these two do something sweet together it makes me so happy as it was such an adjustment for Miss J when she became an older sister.
  • A trip to Ikea. I love a good shop around Ikea and buying things to make my house seem more organised always makes me feel a bit better. Meatballs always help too.
  • A visit from a friend and her son. One of my old work friends came over with her son in the week which was great to have a catch up and lovely to watch our boys play together.
  • Sleeping. Besides last night with Miss J waking up many times in the night I’ve actually slept well and stayed off my phone at night.
  • Reading a book that I enjoy. I decided this week I needed to pick up a book and have a read before bed that wasn’t a self-help book. I looked through my bookcase and picked a book out that I’ve had for around 8 years and only ever read the first couple of chapters. The book is called Harvesting the Heart By Jodi Picoult and is about a young lady struggling through the demands of having a young family to look after. This book couldn’t have been more appropriate for me to read right now and I think it’s amazing how I picked it up out of a full bookcase with no memory of what it was about.
  • Reading to my children. I always read to my children every night separately, but a couple of nights ago I managed to get both my children on my lap and read them both a story. There was no shoving and they both sat still and listened. These moments when they get on are sometimes few so I know when to cherish them.
  • New clothes for Mr T. I love dressing Mr T up, but now he’s almost two I’ve found the clothes on offer a bit blue and boring. I went to John Lewis and managed to find some lovely bits for Mr T which have got me excited about the prospect of spring around the corner.
  • A walk to the park. I didn’t want to go out and leave the comfort of my home, but I was forced to go to the park and feed the ducks. It started off stressful with Mr T having a tantrum and not walking the right way, but eventually I learned to relax, enjoy the sun streaming through the clouds and I was able to embrace my children, covered in mud enjoying life and full of happiness. Mr T was a complete dare-devil on the slide.

Yesterday I hid away all day and felt pretty sorry for myself so this week I want to focus on getting out for walks and remembering to take my camera with me. Join me next week for my moments of happiness.

 

 

 

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Loving myself and happiness that I deserve

Something that I’ve really struggled with all my teenage and adult life is loving myself. I have always had a low opinion of my self and lacked confidence, but with postnatal-depression my self-esteem really took a bash. Not only did I not like the person I was, I was also doubting myself as a mother and how good of a parent I actually was. I am currently trying to build my self-esteem and confidence to become the person I want to be. It’s all about believing and knowing what you deserve and I know I deserve happiness. I know some days will be hard and some days I will struggle to believe in myself, but it’s all about picking yourself back up and not letting those feelings linger and not letting them work their way in so you believe them.

I’m finally feeling well enough to enjoy parenting again and am able to appreciate my children. I can now feel emotions of love and happiness and not just pain and sadness. My children are my main focus through this and I need to get better for them not just myself. I need to love myself so they can grow up knowing how to love themselves. I need to be the role model my children deserve and the support for them when they need encouragement.

I am taking this time to focus on myself and putting my needs first. I am no longer doing things just to make others happy. I am looking after myself, I am taking the time for long baths in peace so I can unwind and relax after a day, going to the gym so I can feel healthier and doing something for myself, writing my blog as its therapeutic and puts things in perspective, taking time to do my make up and hair so I can feel more like me and occasionally treating myself to something I want and not just need. I have dedicated 18 months of the last five years growing humans and 2 1/2 years breastfeeding them and it’s my turn to be a little selfish and start focusing on myself. I have given everything I have to my children and can no longer give as much, unless I start looking after myself. I am Michelle and not just mum and need to focus on what makes me happy from time to time.

These last 18 months have been extremely hard on myself, but they have also been enlightening. I have learnt so much about myself and why I am, the way I am and what makes me act in certain ways. I know I will never been perfect and I am letting go unrealistic expectations and starting my life as a new blank page. I am fortunate that I feel love everyday from the family that I have helped create and I am rich in so many ways besides wealth. Life is good and my happiness is reachable.

 

 

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Finding happiness again

Finding happiness again

My task for this week is to find happiness again. I feel like I’m now ready for a few challenges which I know will make me feel better so I can get back to work as soon as possible. My biggest worry this week is being weaned off the medication I was on to help me relax and sleep, but I’m hopeful that I can do it if I have other things in place to make me happier.

Affirmations are something that do work from experience but over the last few weeks I’ve neglected them completely as I’ve been stuck thinking negatively, but I am ready to start these again. See a post I’ve written about affirmations click here . Something else I am starting again is my head space app which from experience has really helped me unwind before bed and clear my head. I find that with my anxious thoughts my mind races at 100 miles per hour and I really struggle to switch off and fall asleep, so I need to again adopt a calming bedtime routine to help stop this.

I’m planning on visiting a gym tomorrow which is local and has a crèche so at least on my days off I can have some time to myself and get fit at the same time. We all know how important endorphins are to make us feel happier so I think if I do a couple of classes a week to start with like Zumba and Pilates Its time to myself, gets me fit, I feel better and I’ll hopefully lose some pounds.

I treated myself to a lovely organiser a few days ago from Paperchase http://www.paperchase.co.uk/ which I am hoping will make my life easier. I have a terrible memory especially with my medication so I thinking if everything is written down and scheduled in it will make me more likely to complete these things. I have a habit of cancelling on things at the moment as my anxiety and depression make it hard for me to get out.

A massive achievement this week for me has been to schedule my first counselling assessment on Tuesday which I know is going to be incredibly difficult, but its something that needs to be put in place so I don’t go back to where I was before and I know the long-term benefits will definitely be worth it.

I am back on Slimming World this week and will be eating plenty of fruit and vegetables as after a 4.5ib gain last week I’m feeling pretty rotten. I gained as I didn’t care and ate what I wanted to try to get some comfort, but I know this isn’t effective as at the time it might be nice and feel good to indulge, in the long-term it makes you feel guilty, sluggish and your jeans tighter. I need to get healthier for my own mental wellbeing as well as my health and stop using food as a coping mechanism. Check out my tasty slimming world soup recipe click here.

I have become guilty of palming my children off to the TV and tablet over the last couple of weeks as I haven’t been able to connect with them emotionally in my depressive state. TV is great and I have no issues with them watching it but they need a healthy balance. This week I’m going to focus on getting on the floor and playing with them, having the time to listen beyond their basic needs and laughing with them. Children can be the best medicine and without mine I would struggle so much more to get better as they really do bring me so much happiness.

Blogging has been a huge help for me to see things clearly. Writting everything down and reading it back is an amazing therapy and something I will be focusing on again, as it brings me lots of happiness. My mind last week was blank for ideas and it was something I just didn’t want to do, but finally now I’m sleeping again I’m getting some ideas again on what to write and I hope that continues.

Last week me and a friend went to Y spa which is local to us and I’ve visited many times before. If I’m honest I really didn’t want to go and have to face anyone, but my lovely friend arranged it all and forced me out the house and I’m so grateful she did. I had a lovely relaxing, child-free time and managed an hour-long nap on the heated water-bed. I had a fantastic facial and scrummy lunch and felt like a new woman when I left. I think spa trips should be compulsory to all mums every couple of months.

This week I’m going to be focusing on me and my happiness and doing things for myself again because if I’m not well I’m not going to be able to be the best parent I can be for my children.

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