I’ve just finished watching the first season of “Master of None” on Netflix…and I loved it! I thought Aziz Ansari has done an amazing job at crafting a show that mixes tales of single hood, career frustrations, dating, family/parents, and racial equality (or lack thereof these days) in a way that’s funny, smart, touching, and sweet. He’s really, really good-and so is the show. If you’ve not checked it out yet, do yourself a favor and give it a look – you won’t be disappointed, I promise. 🙂
One of the most striking things that I noticed about this program was the incredible optimism of Dev, the main character played so beautifully by Aziz. If you think about it, it’s become increasingly rare to see optimistic characters on television at all – everyone seems to have things to complain endlessly about, there’s always a problem that is dragging them down….things are always going wrong. Perhaps that makes for good TV storytelling – but, when you think about it, I truly believe that it is having a royally shit influence on society as a whole. No, I am not blaming sitcoms for the troubles that face our society, but think about it: don’t you think we might be in a collective better place if we surrounded ourselves with happy a little more often? 🙂
What makes you happy? My list includes all the usual suspects: my Wee One, puppies, kittens, babies, a pretty day, being with those that I love, helping others, the smell of cinnamon, reading a good book, blah blah blah…but it’s more and more difficult to find that happiness when I’m constantly surrounded by the negative shit that seems to be everywhere these days. Do you find this to be an issue as well? Where is our happiness going, and why is it so hard to find?
I read this blog post over the weekend, and I thought it had some cute reminders on how to be happy – let’s take a look, shall we?
Like so many other blog posts and YouTube videos I’ve seen on the topic I could tell you that the key to happiness is in the smell of a new mac lipstick, a Diptique candle and a Lush bath bomb. Although, if I did that, all you’d get is a list of things that make me “happy”, not things that are actually conducive to happiness in general. Today I’ll be letting you in on some trade secrets and showing you how you can achieve actual happiness (without buying a thing!)
The theory (and evidence) goes that there are 5 things you can apply to your everyday life which will improve your overall wellbeing and make you happier, at work I call this “the 5 ways to wellbeing” here, I’ll call it “how to be happy” because I like to mix things up like that. So, let’s get right into it.
The people in our lives make up so much of how we feel about life. When we don’t feel good it’s so tempting to lock yourself away and isolate yourself. Connecting with others is crucial to a strong overall wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be too intense, just reach out, make that phone call, arrange that night out and spend time with people you love.
It only takes a minute: Send a text to a friend you haven’t seen in a while without overthinking it. You want to know how they are, maybe you even miss them – just say that.
Take notice/be mindful
Have you ever walked a familiar route and seen something that’s been there forever, but, you’ve just never noticed? Me too! We’re all so busy that sometimes it can feel like time is just running away with us. It’s really surprising how much difference it can make to your mood just to take notice of what’s going on around you. So go about your usual routine, just look around, see things you’ve never seen before and pay attention to how you’re feeling.
It only takes a minute: Download “Calm” the free meditation app and take notice of the simplest things.
Giving feels good. You don’t have to give money either (although you could!). You can give someone your time, advice, knowledge or simply attention. It’s easy, you get goodness from it and so does somebody else what’s not to be happy about?
It only takes a minute: Thank someone for something they’ve done that you appreciate, even if it’s just the guy in the corner shop who’s always so smiley.
As an inherently lazy person when it comes to exercising, I wish this one wasn’t true, but, it so is. The benefits that exercise can have to your wellbeing go way beyond being able to justify that extra biscuit because you’ve spent an hour in the gym. Since I’m not a huge exercise fan I recently brought a pretty bike that tricks me into exercising when really I just need to get to work. There’s also the classic “get off the bus a stop early” you’ll be surprised how much difference it makes!
It only takes a minute: challenge yourself to see how many sit-ups you can do in a minute. Tomorrow, do it again. Or you know, just get off the bus a stop early!
Learning something new is the ultimate confidence boost and a great way to challenge yourself and your comfort zone! If you end up attending that workshop or going on that course, guess what? You’ll probably meet some like-minded people to connect with, bringing this whole thing full circle.
It only takes a minute: find a YouTube tutorial for that thing you’ve always wanted to learn – even if it is just how to achieve Adele’s perfect winged liner.
One of my very favorite TV shows is “The Mindy Project” – I think the character of Mindy Lahiri, while flawed, is one of the very VERY best things that have come across our TV screens in forever. As a mama of a wee girl, I would far rather that my daughter look up to Dr Mindy Lahiri than most other TV characters. Mindy is generally a very optimistic, positive yet delightfully eccentric character who conducts herself on the show with a tremendous amount of hope, something which is woefully missing on too many television programs these days. While Mindy’s extreme confidence comes across as a wee bit bonkers from time to time, I think it’s fantastic – she thinks she is hot shit, and she is totally right. She eats on camera, dresses how she pleases and not how society dictates, and discusses her curves as a positive, not something to be ashamed of. Read what Mindy Kaling herself has said about body image:
“I get so worried about girls with body image stuff… And I feel like I have been able to have a fun career and be an on-camera talent and be someone who has boyfriends and love interests and wears nice clothes and those kinds of things without having to be an emaciated stick. And it is possible to do it. In life, you don’t have to be that way and you can have a great life, a fun life, and a fulfilling love life.”
Awesome, right? We don’t have to be stick figures with no souls in order to have fulfilling lives and be considered desirable. I’ve often struggled with fretting that I’m not thin enough for someone to want me – but here’s what I’ve come up with: there are probably a lot of men who think that they might want me if I was thinner; to them, I say, “Not to worry, ass-hat….even if you were interested, I wouldn’t have your pathetic arse anyway, if that is how you judge someone. Plus, I bet your wiener is tiny.” It makes me feel better every single time – and I am confident that the wiener part is true. 🙂
Read these final words from Mindy (my spirit animal):
“Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.”
Isn’t she the best? I know! If you aren’t watching her show, check it out immediately – this year on Hulu has been the best yet, I think. The show has been braver than ever before, allowing Mindy to show us that balancing motherhood with a career is no bloody joke (amIright???!), and there have been a whole lot of moments that have really touched me and made my face leak moisture – it’s been outstanding. Through all of the ups and downs, though, Mindy has remained steadfast and upbeat, always with hope in her heart. I love that. I fear that I’ve lost some of my hope lately, and I am in a frantic search for it. It’s not under the bed – I looked when I cleaned that out on Sunday morning. I don’t know where it is, but I think it’s somewhere around here….perhaps I will find it over the holidays. I hope. 😉
PS: Look at this one – amen, sistah!