What Makes You Happy? Week 13 with Sarah

Welcome all, thank you for joining us for week 13 of my What Makes You Happy? guest series. This week we meet Sarah who has kindly shared her mental toolkit for happiness with us which will leave you feeling both moved and motivated…

Hi, I’m Sarah – a 34 year old HR professional and a new Mum, who lost her Mum to mental health 22 years ago… It’s been a long journey since. I’m originally from Swindon but in 2008 decided to pack my things and moved to South Wales, and I haven’t looked back since! I decided my journey had to be different to my mum’s, so I made it my duty to discover myself, my happiness and ways to combat against depression ever affecting me.

I lost my Mum at the age of 12. She suffered with severe depression and sadly, in 1995 there was little to no help. All I ever knew was that some days she would get up, get dressed, brush her hair and wear her make-up, but on others she wouldn’t get up at all. This was her daughter’s reality. My full story can be found on my blog here. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

My journey started when I was 23 and I made a life changing decision to trek the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco with a bunch of people I didn’t know. I truly believe this was the foundation of finding happiness in myself, in life and my future, blocking any depression that ever may come knocking at my door. I believe we can all build a mental toolkit within us to find our happiness.

My toolkit includes:

  1. Running – Running is a funny thing. It can be sooo hard mentally to keep going, yet so liberating when you have achieved a good run, or even any run at all! It gets your body moving, endorphins releasing and puts me on a high for the rest of the day!
  2. Reading – I find reading very therapeutic, whether it be a self-help or inspiring story to a fiction novel that takes me away into the depths of someone else’s life. It allows for that time away from the speed of life and well worth the investment for yourself.
  3. Journaling – Another therapeutic tool… I buy (too many!) nice notebooks and write down my feelings, thoughts, ideas and goals. I jot down whatever I see from others that inspires me. I tend to have one for my health and fitness and another for life in general. It is a great way to just check in on yourself from time to time and see where I am at mentally. Allowing your thoughts to just flow is great, and when you read it back you can see if you need a lift or if you are doing just fine J
  4. Accepting A Compliment – For years if someone paid me a compliment, I was too shy to know what to do. I would nervously giggle and look down or away. I have learned that actually, if we just say “Thank You” and smile – it helps! What makes me happy is reaching a point where I can accept the compliment, rather than dismissing it.
  5. Nature – Being outside in the fresh air is so vital to our health and wellbeing. Even just a few minutes in the garden can help allow you to feel more alive. It’s about being about to connect with our souls and nature has a funny way of being able to do this. Just a brief walk is all it needs and it will lift your mood.
  6. Music – Music is the sound of our souls, whether we like something slow and peaceful or something more upbeat, it is a beautiful thing. Taking you back to moments in your life which you wish you could relive and you cherish.
  7. Setting Goals – I’ve grown into a strong believer that I need goals and something to strive for. They allow us to reach parts of us we didn’t know existed, and achieve something we didn’t think we could. The sense of achievement felt from hitting a goal is pure happiness.
  8. Mindfulness – This is the best discovery I made on my journey since my mum passed. It has brought many different levels of happiness to my life and I now rely on the techniques I have learned on a daily basis. I believe it is the one tool that everyone should use regularly. It has brought positivity, purpose and clarity into my life and given me a stronger sense of self awareness that I now feel a huge force of determination and strength I never thought possible.

It’s important to remember that some days we might try and practice these things that would usually make us happy, but on that particular day they don’t, and that is OK. We are all only human, but as long as we work hard, play hard and do our best, we cannot do anymore. Happiness can be created. The mind is so powerful and your strongest tool within. When we are aware of our thoughts, and practise a little gratitude, a much stronger sense of happiness can form 🙂

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