To close my posts for Mental Health Awareness Week, I would like to remind everyone of something really basic. Life is tough enough as it is and it will always have its ups and downs and worries. Sometimes amidst it all, we forget to do something that makes us happy.
[An amazing work of art…a hand-drawn smiley on Paint by yours truly, just for you]
It seems so silly that we should forget this, but a lot of us will let routine takeover and leave our happiness almost to chance incidences. The trouble is, when life gets tough, those incidences become slim and the world can at once seem dark and alien.
I experienced this last year. I’d moved house, had a total change of environment, no longer had easy access to my hobbies and now lived far away from my friends and family. I should have realised the impact that such a move would have, but instead I thought, ‘I’ve moved in with my other half, I should be happy!’ I kept wondering why I wasn’t. Was something wrong in the home or with my relationship? I felt so low without understanding why, that I talked to a counsellor. She pointed out the obvious, “You’re not happy because you’re living A life, but not YOUR life”.
Her statement came off the back of asking me about what made me happy. I stated all the things I loved – playing the piano, taking random courses in crafts, taking walks into town or finding quirky things to do in the city. She then asked me if I was doing any of these things and I realised the answer was no. We didn’t have a piano in the house, I couldn’t take random courses due to not being able to drive and infrequent train times, and I had little independence because I couldn’t get around to anywhere that interested me. It was after stating this that I realised that I was living the antithesis of what my happy life was. It was pretty obvious from that point of view why I was feeling so low.
I wasn’t able to travel around the area easily, but it didn’t mean that couldn’t be solved. I enrolled onto driving lessons (which ended up greatly upsetting me, but that’s another story) to fix the issue. I also decided to stop letting infrequent train times stop me from attending things that I wanted to within the city. I mapped out walks locally and began to enjoy country life.
I couldn’t have a piano, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t play music. After a rather amusing dream that I was a pro harmonica player, I decided to start a path to making it happen and enrolled onto harmonica classes. I took part in woodcarving classes when I could.
Oddly, not having a piano was a blessing in disguise. Adding to rediscovering my happiness by learning the harmonica, I found a great community. It’s been over half a year since I started learning and each lesson is a little ray of joy within my week. I get to chill out, play some music and have a laugh with my fellow harmonica players.
As a result of actively doing things that made me happy, guess what? I became happier again! It really is a no-brainer of course, but our obligations can make us forget the most basic of things. So please, my dear readers, do something that makes you happy not just now, but make a list and start planning some happy days in for the rest of the year. The weekend is nearly upon us, so I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
P.S. If you’re based in London and would like to have a go at learning the harmonica, you can find out more at the London Harmonica School , which is run by Greg Miller, an amazing harmonica teacher who won the Jazz World Harmonica Championship in 2013.
And a final note – I wanted to thank you all and my Facebook and Instagram followers for your support. Each ‘like’ and ‘follow’ keeps this blog going. If you don’t yet follow me on social media, you can find my Facebook and Instagram accounts @pathofhappinessblog