“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” — Dalai Lama
As writers, it’ll come as no shock to any of you when I say my mood largely affects my writing. When I slide into the dark places, although I attempt to slog my way through the anguish and negativity that gets so thick sometimes as to suffocate me, my writing naturally suffers.
This post stems from an article I read recently on a Swedish study that suggested writers have a higher risk than the general population of anxiety and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse. And if that wasn’t enough, we’re also about twice as likely to commit suicide.
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to head this off at the pass. So, below are a few suggestions to help you live a happier existence, broaden your horizons, create a positive environment in which to write, and hopefully bring energy and verve into your projects:
1. Appreciate Life
Be thankful that you beat the odds and woke up alive this morning, some folks weren’t as lucky as you. Develop a childlike sense of wonder towards life and focus on the beauty of things. Learn to make the most of each day, and stop taking things for granted. And definitely don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s small for a reason.
2. Choose Your Friends Wisely
Do your best to surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values and goals. Friends that have the same ethics as you will encourage you to achieve your writing dreams. They help you to feel good about yourself and are good for a morale boost when needed.
3. Be Considerate
Accept and respect others for who they are as well as where they are in life. With a generous spirit, help when you’re able, without trying to change the person. As a rule, you should try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with. Especially the difficult ones.
4. Learn Continuously
Try new and daring things to spark interests, gain experience, and that you can bring back into your writing.
5. Develop Creative Problem Solving Skills
Stop wallowing in self-pity as soon as you face a challenge and instead get busy finding a solution. Don’t let set backs affect your mood, instead see each new obstacle you face as an opportunity to make a positive change. Learn to trust your gut instincts – it’s almost always right.
6. Laugh Lots
Stop taking yourself – or life for that matter — so damned seriously. You can find humor in just about any situation, so learn to laugh at yourself, because, let’s face it, nobody’s perfect. When appropriate, laugh and make light of the circumstances. (Naturally there are times that you should be serious as it would be improper to laugh. Try not to that person.)
Holding a grudge hurts no one but you. Forgive others for your own peace of mind. When you make a mistake, own up to it, learn from it, and forgive yourself.
8. Be Grateful
Develop an attitude of gratitude by learning to count your blessings; All of them, even the things that seem trivial. Be grateful for your home, your work and most importantly your family and friends.
9. Invest in Relationships
Always make sure your loved ones know you love them even in times of conflict. Nurture and grow your relationships with your family and friends by making the time to spend with them. Don’t break your promises to them. Be supportive.
10. Keep Your Word
Honesty is the best policy. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones.
Meditation gives your very active brain a rest. When it’s rested you will have more writing energy and function at a higher level. Whether it’s yoga, hypnosis, relaxation tapes, affirmations, visualization or just sitting in complete silence, find something you enjoy and make the time to practice daily.
12. Mind Your Own Business
Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it and take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Don’t judge. Everyone has a right to live their own life the way they want to – including you.
13. Be Optimistic
See the glass as half full. Find the positive side of any given situation. It’s there – even though it may be hard to find. Know that everything happens for a reason, even though you may never know what the reason is. Steer clear of negative thoughts. If a negative thought creeps in – replace it with a positive thought.
14. Love Unconditionally
Don’t put limitations on your love, even though you may not always like the actions of your loved ones – continue to love them.
15. Be Persistent
Never give up. Face each new challenge with the attitude that it’ll bring you one step closer to your goal. You’ill never fail, as long as you never give up. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. As humans, we’re always happiest while pursuing something of value to us.
16. Be Proactive
Accept what can’t be changed. Happy writers don’t waste energy on circumstances beyond their control. Accept your limitations as a human being. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire – rather than waiting to respond.
17. Take Care of Yourself
Take care of your mind, body and health. Get regular medical check ups. Eat healthy and work out. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Exercise your mind by continually energizing it with interesting and exciting challenges.
18. Build Self Confidence
Don’t try to be someone you’re not (no one likes a phony). You know who you are on the inside so be confident with that, do the best you can manage and don’t second guess yourself.
19. Take Responsibility
Happy writers know and understand that they are 100% responsible for their life. They take responsibility for their moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. They are the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake.
And there you have it. Simple, common sense suggestions to help you take responsibility for your own happiness. I realize that some of these are easier said than done, but could it really hurt to try to work on developing at least a few of these habits as you own? Who knows, the more you incorporate the above habits into your daily lifestyle, the happier you could be.
Being gifted with creativity comes at a price, but it doesn’t have to be a terrible one.
Sally forth and be true to yourself writeful.
— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys