Fighting with the Sky

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Posted on: July 12, 2009

Jezebel had a post today about how to relax and enjoy life in response to Gweneth Paltrow’s need to do a detox program after her own “relax and enjoy life” phase. In “JOOP: Your Guide to Not Feeling Bad About Relaxing and Enjoying Life,” Jezebel argues that there is no need to feel bad about relaxing and lays out their guide of how to love the life you lead.

This article inspired me to reflect on what I think is necessary to lead a happy and fulfilling life and not feel bad about the decisions you make about your life…

  • Do what makes you happy. It may sound simple, but it’s the most important. So many people do what they think is expected of them instead of doing what they actually enjoy. You need to identify the things that make you happy and then make time to do those things.
  • Love yourself. So much of not being able to enjoy life is not being able to love yourself and your life. Ignore what society and people tell you what is wrong with you and love the way to you, right now (this is not to say there is no room for improvement through constructive criticism, but you have to know when it is constructive criticism and when it is not beneficial to listen to certain criticism). There is nothing you need to change, especially when it comes to appearance.
  • Eat whatever you like. If you like cake, eat cake. If you like salad, eat salad. Don’t just eat what you are “supposed” to eat to make the right impression, to lost weight, etc. Jezebel suggests that you “SEE: A registered dietician, if you really want to change your eating habits.” While yes, this is better than those crazy fasts, diets, and detoxes, why is it even necessary to change your eating habits? People need to stop worrying about controlling what they eat, and just eat what makes them happy.
  • Slow down. In today’s society, everyone is moving so fast. Slow down and appreciate your surroundings. Appreciate what has gotten you to that point. It is important to just slow down and appreciate all the small things in life that are often taken for granted. See how shadows fall on the ground. Smell the flowers. Talk with friends or family that you don’t get to talk with that often. It’s all about appreciating the good things in life and slowing down enough to actually appreciate them.
  • Surround yourself with people you love. You will have a much better time in whatever you do if you like the people you are around. Spend time with our friends and family. Make friends with your coworkers. Make time to see friends and family that you don’t normally see.
  • Take a nap. I love to nap. This kind of goes along with slow down, but taking a short mid-afternoon nap can really brighten the rest of your day and help you to slow down.
  • Don’t worry, be happy. Don’t worry about what others are going to think of you. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself if you are having fun. If what you are doing is what makes you happy and you are having fun, you shouldn’t worry about how others see you. It’s also important to not put too much energy into worry about things that are more or less out of your control. Worrying leads to stress, which is not relaxing. If you worry too much about things that are not in your control, you are just going to add to your unhappiness, how ever much of it you have.

Doing the things on this list require counteracting everything that society and the media tell us. They tell us to be thin, to work hard, to believe in the American Dream, etc. But actually relaxing and enjoying life requires forgetting this societal pressures and paying attention to your needs and desires.

While I am more than willing to give this list, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy and not a struggle. I struggle with most of the things on this list, as I’m sure most other people do. And some of these things will actually be life long struggles for many people. But working towards these things can help you to enjoy life. And these are definitely not the only things that lead to an enjoyable life, but they are some of the ones that I think are important in working towards a more enjoyable life. It really just comes down to the freedom of choice and choosing to do what makes you happy and not what you think is expected of you.

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