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It is not selfish but entirely natural to want a joyful life. Sometimes when you forget this or your self confidence drops, you can start to believe that you have yet to earn any pleasure. When this happens you become your own worst enemy, a drain on your self worth. But you obviously don’t want this to happen and there are ways it can be avoided.
Happiness is a birthright. It is not selfish but entirely natural to want a joyful life. Sometimes when you forget this or your self confidence drops, you can start to believe that you have yet to earn any pleasure. When this happens you become your own worst enemy, a drain on your self worth. But you obviously don’t want this to happen and there are ways it can be avoided.
Learning to love yourself
Sometimes negative thoughts can wear you down, especially if you suffer from a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. This can lead you into denying yourself basic pleasures. You might have achieved something incredible like a promotion or graduating from college. But instead of enjoying the satisfaction you tell yourself not to be happy because others might get jealous or feel you don’t deserve it. Somebody might complement you and although you say thanks you don’t really believe them.
All this negative self-talk won’t do you any favours and is blocking off your access points to the happiness you deserve. In order to allow the flow of joy back into your life you have to convince yourself that you do deserve it.
Welcome the joy others bring
One way you might convince yourself of this is by preparing situations in advance so that you welcome positive thoughts rather than pushing them away. Think about what you might think if somebody complemented your work for instance. How would you react? If you would contradict them or play down your work, plan an alternative response. Instead maybe you could welcome the compliment, thank them and smile. This will also let them know that you’ve appreciated what they said and they might be quicker to compliment you again in the future.
List your best attributes
When wallowing in misery and denying ourselves pleasure, it is easier to criticise than to appreciate ourselves. Allow yourself to spend time thinking about what you do like about yourself. This might be skills you have learnt. You might be caring towards others or academically successful. Maybe you draw well or bake delicious cakes. Perhaps you can play a musical instrument or are good with computers. Write down all the things you like yourself. This process will quickly bring you joy and when it does, let it come.
Critique negative comments from others
Sometimes people will comment negatively on you, your behaviour, skills or appearance. It is easy to internalise this and carry it with you. Such comments can build up inside you and lower your self confidence. But just because someone says you can’t do something, that doesn’t mean it’s true. Try to keep a critical mindset to defend yourself from unfair assessments of you. Others are not always right. Their opinions are subjective and they might not even know you that well. Even if you don’t confront them about it, make sure at least you can distinguish from constructive criticism and destructive abuse.
Remember what brings you joy
Not everyone enjoys the same activities. Focus in on yourself to remember what you most enjoy doing. If you keep a list of these things you can check it and try to keep doing these things regularly. A walk in nature, a trip to a new place, socialising with friends: the things that make you happy should play a big part in your life.
Stay in the present
A symptom of depression can be that you start to think of moments in term of their value in the future as a pleasant memory instead of enjoying them as they occur. To really enjoy a fun moment make sure you are simply letting it wash over you and not zoning out to consider its future implications.
Look forward to what’s next
Appreciating the present does not mean you should avoid thinking of the future altogether though. You might still want to plan exciting events or activities. Throw a party, invite friends to dinner or buy tickets for a concert you really want to see. Having something to look forward to can keep you motivated and brighten you general outlook.
Block out any imaginary catastrophes
Our imaginations are useful to us in predicting future difficulties. But when anxiety sets in this can get out of control and it is all we focus on. It can also shut us off to feeling good. Instead of worrying about the worst case scenario, or agonising over possible problems, take a quick note of those anxieties but return to what is real. Look at your current situation and the chances are there are a lot of positive aspects of your current life. If you focus only on the bad you will never have the time to really appreciate the good. Relish all that you have because you need and deserve it.
Rather than denying yourself something you know you’ll enjoy, go ahead and accept that this thing will improve your mood. If it isn’t out of your budget, give yourself treats.
A happier you can help make others happier too
It is easy to feel like all this focus on your own happiness is selfish and you should be dedicating more time to others. But actually you can only help others when you’ve helped yourself first. If you want to care for a friend or cheer them up it’s never possible when you’re in a foul mood. Even if you don’t try to help others your positive outlook is sure to rub off on those around you and improve their spirits too.
You are deserving of joy and happiness. Don't let anybody ever tell you otherwise.