Happiness is a Choice

By the time I hit the “Publish” button it will probably already be the next day, but I still want to say, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! <3

(Update: I published this post well after midnight not because I’m a slow writer but because I was multitasking.. or maybe I should say, distracted. And yes I am vindicating myself.)

Yes, I emphasize the word “happy” because there is no point in moping about not having a “valentine” on an arbitrary day of the year. There is so much to be happy about if you really think about it.

Sure, you may be single or jobless or living in a small place or all of the above, but guess what? You’re also ALIVE! And if you’re able to read this, then you are most likely literate too because you had the privilege of getting a decent education. It’s a privilege to be living, and it’s a privilege to be educated. It’s also a privilege to own a smartphone and to be able to choose where to go for dinner, even if you struggle with major indecisiveness. Just saying. #firstworldproblems

I’m happy because since I am not employed yet, I had the privilege of catching up on sleep today.. which also means I already failed my 30-day 5AM wake up challenge but that is A-OK because I’ve been able to train myself to have a certain kind of mindset (thanks to one of my favorite bloggers Sam Brown).

What Sam taught me (through her 28-day bootcamp, Dream Habit) was that when it comes to creating a healthy habit, the point isn’t to do the habit perfectly. It’s not about doing it every day, but it’s about doing it MOST days. Why only most days? Well, because life sometimes gets messy and some things are out of our control, such as getting the stomach flu.

So as long as we establish a regular healthy habit and are consistent about it, meaning we do it most of the time over a long period of time, rather than doing it perfectly for only two weeks and then dropping it, that is completely fine.

And I do not want to plagiarize by any means, so for everything I just said about habits, I give all the credit to Sam. 🙂

Anyway, I guess I can use myself as an example of this habit consistency/most of the time thing. Two mornings ago I woke up at 5AM. Today I slept in until late morning. But I didn’t beat myself up over sleeping in because obviously, my body needed that sleep. Okay my body also needs to be in bed earlier at night but that’s besides the point.. I am allowing tonight to be one of the exceptions.

I also feel really stupid because I just tried to scroll up by touching my laptop screen with my finger to swipe up like a touch screen. It’s not a touch screen. #millennialproblems

And lastly, I have good news to share!

Drum rolllllllll………………………….

I got a job offer! YAY! Best Valentine’s Day gift ever! I’m planning to accept the offer which means I will be starting work within the next couple of weeks.. It’s an Accounts Payable Specialist position which is the best starting point job for a career in finance. At least for me.

I know for a fact that it will be very busy at work, like all the time, based on the conversation I had during my interview. But I still want to really work at improving and growing my blog, so I will have to experiment with my scheduling/planning and work-life balance.

Aand I probably wont wake up at 5AM tomorrow, but I don’t plan on sleeping in either. I’m thinking of setting my alarm to 7ish, maybe 8 to transition myself back to 5AM from 11AM. Yup.

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Why There’s No Need to Worry About Anything

Recently I’ve found myself telling certain loved ones not to worry, followed by a certain kind of reasoning behind these words of “wisdom.”

Unfortunately this so-called wisdom of mine came out of lessons learned from my old lifestyle of worrying, making my life miserable and unbearable, and wasting a lot of my time being anxious and/or depressed when I could have been doing something much more productive or rewarding.

But we live and we learn. Not worrying is one of the most helpful lessons I’ve learned in life, but I would say though, that it does require training yourself to have this kind of mindset, especially if being carefree has been the opposite of what your life has looked like to this date.

There’s a song written by someone I know that says “To worry is vain.” I can testify to the truth of this statement. I worried myself from childhood to adulting-hood, because I was born with the kind of personality that takes everything too seriously. I guess you can call me a sensitive soul. And for some reason that just reminded me of The Lion King.

“Hakuna matata” – it means no worries. Doesn’t that sound pretty good?

I’ve worried about the kind of birthday present to get for a friend. I’ve worried about the possibility of not being able to find a parking spot in Los Angeles. In high school I worried about what college I would get into. In college I always worried a lot when I had papers to turn in and finals to take. Then I worried about what I would do after college. I’ve also worried about where I would go for Thanksgiving dinners. And I’ve worried many times about what my next meal was going to be. #youngadultproblems #maybeitsjustme #eatallthehotcheetos

I worried about the need for me to get surgery upon graduating college (and turns out it went very smoothly). I worried about offending other people, so I was often way too self conscious to be able to speak to someone normally for fear of saying the “wrong” thing.

I was very worried about what my dad would be doing when my parents were going through a divorce. So much so that I spiraled myself downward into a black hole of depression. All it took was my mind and the thoughts I allowed myself to engage in. Yes, the situation sucked and it definitely hurt, but in retrospect I would say that some of the pain could have been mitigated by even a slight shift in my thought process. All the “what ifs” I worried about never helped with anything.

Then there were the adult things I worried a lot about. Finding a place to live. Finding a job so I could pay for rent. Finding love so I could get married and have a family. Finding a way to make my serious (but seriously unhealthy) relationship work. And I worried too much about how each dinner date would go with my unpredictable ex, whether he would be happy to see me, or whether he would be aloof and not really want to be there… Aaaand I definitely should’ve recognized all the red flags earlier in that relationship.

But we live and we learn.

I worried about how much it would hurt if my ex fiance (basically) dumped me. I worried that I would never be able to open my heart to someone again. I worried that I would never be able to love anyone else. I worried about having a “second love” cause someone else already took the first.

Then I worried about how I was supposed to get rid of all my stuff in order to pack only three suitcases to move back home to be with my mom. Somehow the moving process all worked out just fine.. but I had already used up so much time and energy worrying about what the moving process would be like.

Then I started to worry about having to start my life all over again at age 27, single and unemployed, because I’m already “so old.”

To make a long story short, recently things started to click in me. As I began to find joy in the little things in life, my mental health began to improve, thus improving my entire well-being, body, soul, and spirit. And one day I kind of stopped and thought, wow, I can’t believe I’m happy. And after much reflecting I had a realization that there was somehow a shift in the way I looked at things in life.

I realized that I didn’t have to worry as much as I did about the possibility of breakup with my ex fiance, because looking back I can see that I was rescued from a disastrous marriage. I knew in my mind that what happened really was for the best and that I would eventually heal over time. I seriously believe that somehow, my positive outlook on this difficult life event has had some positive chemical/hormonal health benefits.

By the way, I’m not saying that worrying is equivalent to taking care of your important day to day responsibilities, and I’m not saying that there will be no pain when things are hard. Human life has many ups and downs and complications, and things will not always go our way. But one thing I’ve learned is how to let go and keep on going forward without letting my mind give heed to avoidable pessimistic thoughts.

Worrying is like a thief coming to steal your most valuable possession: time. But really though, worrying about anything just takes away your precious time, and being that person who worries all the time benefits no one, neither you nor the ones around you. I’m pretty sure others would prefer to be around someone who is less stressed out and uptight about everything.

So today, when my mom was describing to me her ongoing difficulties with major T-Mobile complications, I didn’t know how to comfort or help her except to say (lovingly.. I think) that worrying about it will not make the situation better. Rather, worrying only makes your life more miserable. There’s this song I know that says “everything’s the best that it could be.” And I feel that’s the best way to look at any situation.

There really is no need to worry about anything. Your life does not need the addition of unnecessary pain and suffering. Life is too short to worry. I don’t know about you, but I want to be happy and enjoy the time I have here on the earth. And don’t worry, I will still be a responsible human being, just a happier one. Better than being a responsible worrisome human being. 😉

The Benefits of Early Rising

“Early rising” may be defined differently for different people. If you’re a college/university student who only has afternoon and evening classes, perhaps your regular rise time is noon. If you’re a working professional, you might normally wake up between 6 to 8am, depending on when you get into work in addition to commute time. Regardless of when you may normally wake up, here’s my working definition of early rising that can apply to just about everyone: Early rising means waking (and getting) up at a time that is earlier than what one has been accustomed to.

For most of my life, I’ve been a long-term victim of the Snooze Button (and I bet I’m not alone), because those extra 8 minutes (times 5) of sleep feel so necessary and wonderful in the moment. However, what I’ve found is that EVERY time I do that, especially on weekdays and with some exceptions on weekends, once I’m rushing to eat a bite of breakfast and get dressed and run out the door within 10 minutes, one word comes to mind: REGRET.

If I’m always going to regret pressing snooze, yet I keep doing it, I need to find a great motivating reason to get up the first time the alarm goes off. Well, sometimes we really do just need more rest, but in general whenever I get out of bed earlier than usual, my whole day is better, I become more productive, and I feel happier (happiness is a huge deal when you’ve fought with depression for years). Without further ado, these are the reasons why getting up early can improve your quality of life:

Early Rising Improves Physical Health:
If you get up early, you have time to actually eat a decent breakfast, which makes such a difference in your day, because you’ll actually have the adequate nutrients and fuel you need to make it to lunch time without feeling tired and weak. Getting up earlier also allows you to have time to incorporate healthy habits into your routine, such as going to the gym. Regular exercise can feel like such a suffering sometimes (no pain no gain), but the results are excellent, not just for vain reasons, but even more so for the energy and strength you get from being more active. Exercise is also REALLY good for depression sufferers, and I’m pretty sure that also goes for overall mental health in general whether or not a person has clinical depression. This leads to my second point that…

Early Rising Improves Mental Health:
After starting the day off productively with enough un-rushed time to have breakfast, to get dressed properly, and to do other productive things like working out or reading a book, I can testify that I start and end the day as a much happier and fulfilled person. A morning with adequate time to do what you need to do, in the way that you want to do it, helps boost self-esteem and confidence and makes you feel more motivated and productive. In my experience, whenever I start the day feeling rushed, I tend to feel more discouraged and disappointed for my crummy morning, and it’s also more likely that I’ll be late for work, which gets put onto my invisible list of little failures that have added up over time. Not good for mental health. Of course, there’s also the time and place for having a “new start” in the middle of the day, or at any time one feels it’s necessary. Furthermore…

Early Rising Improves Spiritual Health:
I’m not saying everyone needs to convert to any particular belief system or religion, but I do believe that there’s a part of our being that is even deeper than just our physical bodies and what we think and feel. It’s hard to describe, but I would categorize this area of “health” as spiritual health. If you like to pray, there’s nothing like praying early in the morning that makes you feel more refreshed for the rest of the day. Likewise, if you like to meditate, I personally can’t think of a better time of day to do so than the early morning. If there’s a spiritual activity you’ve been trying to do, I feel the morning is the best time to do it, to take care of that deeper part that often is what motivates us to keep going.

Hope this was helpful! I’m definitely open to suggestions on other topics to write about. 🙂

Home

I love my home. Why? Because it makes me happy. Why does it make me happy? Because I arranged it just the way I like. How do I know what I like? Hm. Good question. Well I guess you either like something or you don’t.

Backtracking a little bit, what is my home? What I’m writing about now is not related to cliche sayings like “home is where your heart is.” I’m literally talking about the actual place in which I live. Currently, my home is a bedroom. I’ve been renting a bedroom in a big house. I share a bathroom with another girl, who rents the other extra bedroom. And we get to use the family’s kitchen and living area whenever we want. It’s actually a pretty good deal. But the only part of that house that I truly consider home is MY bedroom. It’s MINE. And recently, ever since I decided to really take steps towards getting my adult life together, I cannot tell you how much of a positive impact my room has had on me. It’s not that there’s anything spectacular about my room in and of itself. Rather, it’s how I arranged the things in my room to make it a place where I look forward to returning to every single day, and I’m not exaggerating. I love my room – every day, as soon as I come home and open the door of my room, I’m immediately made more happy. I don’t think I’ve ever had a room that made me feel that way before. It’s a wonderful feeling.

It took some steps to getting to where my room is today, for it to become a place where I can repose and feel at ease all the time. Well, maybe 99% of the time. But that’s still pretty good. Sometimes because I love how homey and cozy and refreshing my room is, it’s hard for me to go downstairs to eat dinner or get other things done, because no where else in the house gives me that kind of joy… I mean, the family I live with is great, and they have 3 adorable little kids, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t take the same approach as I did in arranging things in the house. I also don’t feel like I have the liberty to try to impose my ways on them, and therefore my room will most likely remain the only one I enjoy spending time in when I’m in this particular house.

You’re probably wondering by now what it is that makes my room so special. Well, first of all I have to give credit to Marie Kondo, who is probably the world’s tidiest woman. If you still don’t know about, ask your good friend Google. I’m feeling quite exhausted right now actually so having to explain a concept in detail is not exactly what I want to be doing right now… (you’re right, at least I showed up to write this post). I know some of the things she talks about has some Shinto influence, but I don’t let that get to me. I believe that there is a lot you can learn from successful people, regardless of what beliefs they may have. Even if I don’t agree with certain things they promote, I still recognize that there are certain principles behind what they’ve learned through experience, and I can always benefit from being educated on such principles.

Anyway, I digress.. What has helped me the most with the KonMari method is the question, “Does this spark joy?” Essentially the idea is that everything you own would be something that makes you happy, or “sparks joy.” So I began to go through my things, item by item, and if say, I look at a shirt and it doesn’t bring me joy, then it would go into a donation bag. Marie Kondo stresses over and over again that the key to success when tidying your living space is to do it all at once, rather than a little bit every day, and to organize category by category, not room by room (in my case I only have one room, which helps keep things simple). I started with my clothes, and I’ve completed this category. So now I only own clothing that “spark joy.” That might mean that either I actually wear them or even if I don’t wear something often, it still makes me happy.

I’ve also been falling in love with TJ Maxx – I know, random. But ever since I rediscovered it during one of my lunch breaks, I’ve been revisiting the store quite frequently. The prices are just SO good, and the things are SO cute! And because of this whole KonMari obsession that I’ve been having, I’ve been using that as a good excuse to purchase items that I really really like. For example, I bought a fake real-looking green leafy plant for ten bucks and it instantly made my room feel more refreshing after placing it on the ledge of one of the windows. And when the sun shines through the window, the fake plant is even more beautiful.

One key item in my bedroom that makes it super cozy is a large rug I got from Craigslist, barely used, like new, classy, and good for lots of floor sitting, or for lying down on the floor/rug while I work on my 1000 piece puzzle of Cinque Terre, Italy. Puzzles, by the way, make me sooo happy. I’ve loved them ever since I was a toddler. My mom said I had a 100 piece Little Mermaid puzzle that I would do over and over again when I was three.

I digress again. I’d like to wrap up this post so that it’s not unbearably long. In brief, my room now is simple, not cluttered (not even inside the dresser and closet), oh and my bed is really comfortable. with a few different-sized pillows and my coral super-fuzzy blanket that I use as my “fitted sheet” and a nice plush light blue blanket that I use as an actual blanket.

I feel that I don’t have anything in excess, and I really believe that this has a huge affect on my inward condition. In fact, when I recall my own personal experience, I would say that most of the time, the tidiness or messiness of my room is a pretty accurate reflection of my inner being. Less outward clutter helps with decluttering what’s inside.

I love waking up to my personalized, simple yet stylish, decluttered room. And I love reading in my room right after I wake up and right before I go to sleep. And I love going to sleep in my room.