5 RULES I SEEK TO LIVE BY (AND SOMETIMES FAIL TO):
I keep these rules on the Evernote application on my smartphone, so I can read them anytime, anywhere. They remind me about what's important in life and connect me to my better self.
1. Listen more and better, especially to the people closest to me. And listen not just to hear or acknowledge but to understand and connect emotionally. Observe. Take the world in, and understand that you play a role in this world but not the central one. Work to develop more patience, because you'll need it.
2. Ask for help and express concerns when I need to. Don't sit silently by and accept what the world offers you, but value yourself enough to be an advocate for what will sustain you. You can ask for help, which may be the best way to negotiate and navigate through difficulties. You don't have all the answers and never will, so reach out and ask, because you may get it.
3. Seek to be more social. As a person, I tend to be socially anxious, so I need to work with intention and awareness to build community around me. Invite people to lunch. Show appreciation for the strength and caring of others. Trust. Share. Listen. Recognize social and personal ruts and force yourself out of them. Walk with others. Walk in their shoes. Explore places. Most of all, get the heck out of the house, because it's a big world out there and you need to inhabit it, to see and be seen.
4. Know that you and everyone else can and will have mental health challenges from time to time. You (and others) have the right to have a bad day. To be sad, even depressed. To occasionally (perhaps literally, in my case) sing the blues. You are as vulnerable as anyone in this never-ending-emotional challenge we call life. Value positivity, but don't push away sadness when it comes. It is you working through loss, as all humans must work through loss, even the temporary loss of faith or self-belief or your car keys. Remember rules 1, 2, and 3 -- that reaching out to others can improve your mental outlook too, although silent reflection may be a good move as well.
5. Monitor and value your physical health. Be active and try to practice good nutrition. If you can, cut back on sugar, soda, chocolate (yes, chocolate!), and processed foods in general. Prefer fruits and vegetables to "fake" foods. Eat real food. Not too much. If you're feeling sick, call for medical help. Get things checked out. If you have better physical health and more energy, your mind works better too, which helps your writing.
Okay, those are my 5 rules for happiness. What rules do you have that you can share?