If you are someone who has said ‘I just want to be happy again’, ‘I no longer feel like myself’ or ‘Nothing brings me joy anymore’ then this blog post is for you. There are many reasons for feeling numb, negative or losing touch of our personal identity. Whether you know the reason for your recent change in mood, or not, there are a few keys ways to move from going through the motions to being an active participant in your life.
Incorporating values is an easy way to add more meaning into your life. For this exercise, create a list of everything you value. Some examples are: honesty, friendship, adventure or me time. After you have created your list, circle your top ten values. Then, reflect on how you can begin to make room for these values in your daily life. For example, if I value adventure, I would set a goal to try a new thing once a week. Remember to keep this simple! The more complex this becomes the more likely we are to not follow through on it.
A gratitude exercise will increase your awareness of positive and joyful things you encounter in your day. For this exercise, reflect at the end of your day on 3 things you are grateful for specific to that day. Here are some examples: I am grateful that I woke up on time even though I forgot to set my alarm, I am grateful for the random act of kindness I witnessed at the coffee shop and I am grateful for the quality time I got with my partner tonight. This exercise will help shift your focus from dwelling on the negative in your life and begin to notice some of the positives.
Negativity often begins internally through self-talk. Self-talk is the inner dialogue running through the mind all day. Pay attention to the nature of your self-talk and take note of how often your self-talk is negative, critical, berating or demeaning. Try to follow a 1:1 rule: for every negative self-talk statement, needs to be followed by a positive one. This is not going to be an exercise that comes naturally and it will require work. If you are having difficulty identifying a positive statement, then begin with this exercise first: At the end of your day ask yourself this: what is something I did well today, how were my strengths utilized today or what is something I like about myself. Once this evening reflection becomes easier for you, try the 1:1 exercise again.
I hope this helps you incorporate joy into your daily life and increase positivity and happiness. If you are struggling with numbness or severe sadness, please do not hesitate to seek help. Therapy is an investment in yourself and is not something to feel shameful or embarrassed of.