Yesterday (while getting my monthly wax), my aesthetician and I talked about Vancouver, and how people generally just seem to be discontent here.
If it’s the weather, then it is too hot or too cold. Too rainy or too dry.
The buses are too busy, the traffic is terrible, the men here aren’t good looking, they aren’t happy with their jobs, people in Vancouver dress too fancy, people in Vancouver dress too casual… etc etc. And the list goes on. And yet, when asked about Vancouver, everyone LOVES Vancouver… it’s the best place to live!
So why do so many people seem unhappy here?
I do this a lot myself, too… complaining. My friend once challenged me to keep track during the period of one week how many times people complained about something. I lost count, it was in the hundreds.
My friend also challenged me to not complain once, during the period of one week. I tried, but I eventually failed.
I’m not convinced that this is a problem that is just with Vancouver; I’m fairly certain it is a widespread problem.
And my theory has come down to this: The majority of people don’t know how to make themselves happy, just on their own. Without constant stimulus, without constantly being around others…
When was the last time you sat, alone for an hour, and were happy?
I’ve been doing a lot of people watching lately. And it seems like everyone is constantly on the go. When they are riding the bus they are playing on their phones, when they are out for dinner or sitting on a couch with a loved one they are Twittering, and even when they just have to walk down the street they call a friend so they have something to do while they walk.
I even saw a phone commercial the other day that was talking about turning downtime into uptime.
But you know what?
We humans need downtime, in my opinion. I think we all need time to be introspective, reflect on life, be grateful for what we have, step back and put things into perspective… all the clichés.
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past few months, about how I need to manage stress and take time to relax.
Here are a couple things I am trying, that maybe you could try (or maybe you already do!):
- I switch my Blackberry to “Bedside Mode” every night at 8 or 9 pm. This turns off the antenna so I don’t get texts, e-mails, calls etc so I have time to disconnect myself a few hours before bed. Nothing is so important that it can’t wait till morning.
- Every night, I’ve been doing yoga before bed. The audio, relaxing kind so I don’t have to watch a TV screen or worry about other people in a class. For one hour, I stretch, do poses, and breathe. If my mind tries to think about anything, I try to focus away from it so I think about nothing. Clear my mind. This has done incredible things for me. I sleep better, I’m happier, I’m more relaxed.
- I’ve been focusing during the day not to worry about anything. Whether it’s work or my relationship or friends, if I ever start having any negative thoughts or stresses, I just try to focus on the positive or the actions I can do to rectify a situation without getting upset. It’s done amazing things for my friendships and relationships.
- When I go to the gym, I try not to watch the TVs or listen to music. Instead I think about myself and how I can improve myself and my life in a constructive positive way.
- At work, after I go to the bathroom (this is embarrassing), I stand in front of the mirror and take three deep yoga-like breaths. It somehow helps me reset and let go of any stress I may have been holding.
- I try and get outdoors on the weekend and away from the computer.
- I’m traveling by myself to Costa Rica and plan on having lots of introspective time, and surfing.
- Surf. Surfing is good for the soul, mind and body.
I don’t mean to sound all preachy or like I have it all figured out. I don’t. I still get unhappy and stressed at times. But I’m really trying to get out of this negative-mind-rut and change things for the better.
I hope that these tips have helped people a little bit.
Do you have any tips of your own for having a little “you” time and being happy?