18 months: 8 confirmations.

Have you ever noticed that if you choose to be happy, and come at the day with a positive air, things tend to work out better for you? As someone who experiences intermittent low mood and mild anxiety (I don’t say “suffer” because I’m not a victim – none of us are) I know it’s not always easy to do so.

I also know that there’s a big difference between being happy and plastering a smile on your face to get through the day.

So, in these past 18 months of ups and downs, and sometimes, as my boyfriend will account for, acting first rate cray-cray, here are the things I tell myself so I can hold on to that light when it flickers or fades.

It’s widely publicised that social media is one of our generation’s great double-edged swords. It can be an effective tool to make you feel less alone – hell, that’s what it was designed for. Scrolling past that Valencia filtered beach pic, chances are it’s going to make you feel more isolated and less valuable than your glitzy, skinny, tanned, blonde, blow-dried, manicured Insta peers. It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others but what we must understand is that most of the images on social media are not an accurate representation of life. You can never know the real story behind a picture unless you were there, so focus on creating your own great memories and don’t get caught up in thinking about other people’s lives too much when really, behind that iphone, there could be a whole pile of issues you don’t see.

Shitty behaviour is a reflection of a person’s own misery. So if they dislike you, or try their best to treat you like shit but can’t tell you why, never compromise yourself in an effort to please them. Those sort of toxins can never be happy when their own self-fulfillment has been usurped by an unattainable expectation of themselves. Chances are they’re miserable, jealous or only hanging out with people they don’t feel threatened by, all the while chasing a coveted version of someone they so desperately want to be. Do what I do: feel bad for them and wish them well *wave emoji*

Making yourself a priority is, I feel, a concept us Brits aren’t always entirely comfortable with, as if it’s somehow a selfish endeavour. But let me tell you, if you’re feeling shit, the only person who can get you out of that is you. Be your own hero and all that jazz. And if people are ever shit to you, fuck them. It takes long enough to learn to love yourself, ain’t nobody got time to convince other people you’re good enough either. Buh-bye h8rz.

Continuation of point 3. Don’t shit on yourself. It’s a miracle any of us are here to begin with, especially after 2016, so use your presence here for good.

Be kind, always. One of life’s biggest reflections: if you’re kind to people, the universe will find a way of paying you back. (“People” includes you, by the way, so don’t neg.)

As long as dreams remain in your head, that’s all they’ll ever be. Stop having notions about how nice it would be to do X, how much you’ve always wanted Y, and how one day Z will happen. Act on them.

Don’t fall into the trap of convincing yourself that life would be better as soon as X happens (‘X’ for me can be any number of things by the way – recently I tried to convince myself I’d be so much happier if I bought an LED flamingo light). Even worse than this is thinking that if only Y hadn’t happened, life would be better. It sounds cliché but life is what you make it, and you gots the leading role.

Finally, and this is an important one… If a person, place or thing that once made you happy isn’t doing so any more, change it. If it can’t be changed, bin it. There’s something better out there. Thou shalt waste no more time on things that don’t make you grin like a loon.

The end.

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