How I Strive To Be Happy

My closest encounter with depression, was seeing a friend suffer– and I can’t be of help. I tried. It was heartbreaking! Of course, I wished to alleviate my friend’s predicament. Sadly, as a pal, I can only do so much. At some point, I had to let go and turn to prayers.

Regardless of devastation, up to now, I still don’t understand, why amid the availability of resources and advancement of medicine, why many are still suffering from loneliness? Is it true that most antidepressants are even worsening the patients’ conditions? I even know an incident of suicide. To think it’s so curable; but dealing with sadness requires a great deal of mindset. 

Another concern, is how the society labels those who are sick of depression (of any kind). For the harsh reality is, there’s a stigma that comes with calling or identifying those people with their diagnosis; which I think, it is as bad as the disease(s) they’re enduring. 

Personally, being native of a third-world country  and as a mom, I can’t afford loneliness. That for me, to be lonely is a privilege. That having a family to raise; a dream to fulfill, my responsibilities can’t spare me a second to despair. That with all honesty, the most expensive thing for me to wear, is a sad face. It could be a challenge for someone like me who is a world away from the people I love the most. However, God is good, and in His grace; I am okay. 

But to keep my mind in shape and my spirit high, it takes hardwork and faith. Thus, below are my 8 ways to stay up and alive. 
1. I keep myself busy. Sloth is one of the 7 Deadly Sins. Inevitably, an idle mind and a lazy body are too vulnerable to evil. Therefore, if work, or school, or both, are not enough to keep me occupied, I get into a hobby (for example, lately, I’m into digital arts of painting and pottery–art is always a beautiful thing). Volunteering, blogging, reading biographies and poetry, cooking and swimming are but few of my passions.

2. I exercise everyday. And I exercise harder on days when things don’t go well as planned or awry; when I miss home; when I earn a B (I’d bury myself alive when I get a C–just kidding) at school; or when longing, or when sad thoughts are looming. Hence, I believe: A fit body is the key to a stronger mind. 

3. “Thank you for the music!” And “Who can live without it;” for I cannot (I’m sure everyone knows). That no matter what time of the day, and the mood I am into, there’s a song for it. For example, my cardio playlist keeps me going better than caffeine. With it (I only have one, but it’s made of 18 tracks), I can finish my workout on time without behaving like a frantic ant or roach. And comes bedtime, I turn to classical music or lullabies to self-produce melatonin as my day peacefully retires (good sleep matters too that’s why 😴).

4. I meditate. I learned that pure breathing exercises–which are “not subject to any religion” or faith dogma–lead to calmer, more focused mind and a healthier wellbeing. And apparently, meditation complements all fitness goals. Even scientific studies have proven, exercise with meditation guarantees weight loss.

5. I write. Being human, I get upset too. However, with maturity, I know, I need to contain such negativity to the confines of privacy. With that, I keep a notebook. But during a direct encounter, I’d pause if I have to; if it’s a person, I stay away (far, far away). It is such a waste of time. Also, frustration and anger deprive us of clearer minds; They impair our judgments; They lead to more desolate feelings–so consuming of time and energy! 

But oops, I dare not to forget: Writing is healing. That reading the truth, and confronting it with our very eyes and minds, is not only liberating–but it’s empowering! 

​6. I turn to love with all its energies and synergies. Because, “Love never fails,” isn’t that’s the old adage? It’s healing. It’s magic. It’s heavenly. That it’s with whom and how we share our humble lives, which make them truly worthwhile. But, if we are sharing beds with pillows and dust mites, don’t worry (beef curry)! Hope–the ever invaluable one–and as expressed through optimism and prayers–is way better than any alternatives.

7. I eat ice cream. Be rocky road, coffee or java, mango or ube (Filipino flavors), in sugar cone or cup, with sprinkles, mallows, nuts or fruits, and fudge, I turn to ice cream for quick dose of joy. I eat it without guilt; but, in quantity my stomach can manage. Now, with you, I don’t know what food drives the monsters in you. But please, dare indulge to pull joy if you have to.

8. I walk. Or, I run three-miles. They are not only forms of exercises; but they are proven therapies to anxious, sad, or weary minds.

So there go my ways to stay happy, I hope they come handy. In doing them though, I try to smile. And I convince myself, it’s genuine all the time. Note there are many ways to trick the mind. One is nourishment. Although, there is nourishment of the body, nourishment of the spirit, nourishment of the heart; but they are all substantial to nourishment of the mind. 

Finally, there is science to (and in) everything. Sadness shouldn’t be our recourse in life; worse, it cannot be our “only thing” to the many things we have to thing. To end, I beg to reiterate my bare minimum: 1. The courage to be happy; and 2. The audacity to be at peace. 

Bottom line, no face too ugly to deserve a frown. Smile is such a pretty crown.

God bless everybody! Happy blogging, Happy Halloween, aloooha everyone! 😘😘😘


12 thoughts on “How I Strive To Be Happy

  1. Great insights. I admire your commitment to well-being Aina. I’ve wrestled with depression and not always been successful in turning the tide. I read a great article about depression which I’m sharing this week in my Awesome Stories. I’d be curious to hear your perspective after reading Parker Palmer’s article. hugs and blessings, Brad

    Liked by 1 person

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