(More) Best Stuff I Ever Did To Be Happy

I’ve been writing an ongoing, ever-progressing list of the Best Stuff I Ever Did to be Happy, which you can read here; in Monday’s edition of The Feeling - my free weekly email newsletter that you can subscribe to here - I added some recent stuffs:

Rituals, not routines.

Three conscious breaths, multiple times a day, whenever my brain starts feeling scrambled-eggy. Meditation is better, but it’s kind of an event, and this is just, this.

List three gratitudes in the morning, and three happinesses at night. All of them have to be new, but everything, from the way-obvious and the seemingly inconsequential, counts.

Recognized that self-management is a complex organism. Like: I rely on calendars - color-coded; ever-updated; constantly referred to - for dog and house and appointments and all external memory. And yet: I have no self-control, and really only ever do what I want to do, which might be twelve hours of uninterrupted work, or might be the opposite. This isn’t going to change. So, manager-me has to accommodate writer-me by creating tall blocks of totally empty time to do whatever (which I will then usually fill productively, because I’ll want to). Other people use subterfuge and manipulation on their boyfriends; I use it on myself.  

Do one thing, then another thing. Just, do one whole entire thing until it’s done. Then do another.

Took social media off my phone. (Not Instagram, I mean, god.)

With randos and strangers and inside of the constant, endless, repetitive interactions with other people in economic/city/working life, lead with generosity, kindness, the assumption that everyone I meet is fighting a great battle, or whatever that line is, BUT the moment I'm interrupted, talked over, condescended to, or otherwise have my goodwill taken advantage of, I fucking SCRAM.

Cut my anxiety in half by cutting, you know, aaaaaaahverything out of my diet, and adding in a lot more good fat and vegetables. Caffeine, sugar, grains, and every other comestible zazzle has to be carefully calibrated for my way-sensitive nervous system.

Used a more naturalistic paradigm to manage friendships, instead of the boundary-gymnastics, performed in suits of protective armour, that people are into right now: “If I text three times and she doesn’t text me back, I’m done!” or “If she leaves me a voicemail after I told her not to, I’m DONE!” (Definitives, with friends, are usually nopes.) So like, if I rarely hear from someone, or rarely feel their interest, but I’m supposed to make a plan, I probably won’t, and that’s probably fine. Life is weird. Don’t make assumptions about anyone’s intentions, but also don’t jump in as the do-er and connector, the Little Sister, always.

Related: Just because something is easier for me than it is for someone else doesn’t mean that I should always be the one to do it.

Let myself be and feel and exist as wholesome; let “wholesomeness" be a part of my idea, and ideation, of myself.

Got way more specific about what constitutes pleasure, and what is an expired version of pleasure (usually, a sinkhole of money or calories or time)

Twenty-four hours alone in a nice hotel is worth three days of vacation with other people. Forty-eight hours is worth a week. This is math.

Recognizing who is on my level, and who isn’t. “On my level” isn't w/r/t status or ability, just, effort made in the world. I don’t want to hang out with people who aren’t trying, who don’t want to try, or think they shouldn’t have to. I don’t want to be around someone who isn’t trying to shoot the lights out, or the moon, during their limited time on Earth. Anyone not on my level will bring me down to theirs, and that’s just not what we’re doing here.

Continue to develop a sexual relationship with myself, and my sexual poetics, even/especially in a serious, real-deal, forever-date-style relationship.

Being brunette right now and in general makes me UNHAPPY but having “straight shiny Harvard hair” that isn’t tangled like sea grass from bleach and benign neglect for however long I keep this all-natural good-girl-ism going, makes me HAPPY.

Be uncomfortable every day, or, a lot. Not, “Do something ‘hard’ every day!” because something hard could mean running faster on the treadmill, or whatever, a furtherance of familiar difficulty, but instead, eat that Death Cookie, tong yourself out of your comfort zone and drop it (you) into a swamp. I don’t know another measure to use to make sure you’re doing something real.

Related: Expect to feel good most of the time. Just “feel good.” As a baseline, an assumption. I should feel good.

Have fewer expectations for basically everyone. Even Simon. EVEN SIMON.

Go to bed an hour earlier than you think you should. No, earlier than that. Earlier.

Read the original mega-list, here.

Subscribe to The Feeling (my free weekly email newsletter) here

Kate Carraway