The Happy Note

We’ve all seen that message. The one that reads “Only you can make you happy,” or something along those lines. It became such a mainstream concept but I’d truly never understood it. I thought I did. But as hindsight pointed out… I didn’t.

Instead, I have been suffocating my own happiness by succumbing to anxiety attacks. And sadly enough, I believed those anxiety attacks were healthy. As if they were pushing me towards a better version of myself. In reality, these attacks were stealing joy; making me believe that if I sped up the negative tape in my head, I would be solving all my problems and bringing peace.

I’ve recognized that this way of thinking is incorrect (lol, thank goodness, right?). I’ve been teaching my mind to feel the feeling, but gtfo as quickly as possible… and how do I do that? By listing off things I can see, things I can feel, and things I can hear. This is what I call “grounding myself.”

Since grounding myself has been working well, I’ve also decided to morph this list into a happy note to myself. In addition to listing off random things in my immediate surroundings during an anxiety attack, I begin to list things off that make me happy.

And here is my current list:

  • Foggy mountains in the morning

  • Chilly hikes with friends

  • Waking up early on a weekend to go hiking

  • The smell of Evergreen trees

  • Happy dogs — happy Bernese Mountain Dogs

  • Finding an old note in a book

  • Golden hour photography sessions (it’s literal magic)

  • Park swings

  • Feeling like you belong somewhere

  • Wind-blown hair

  • Sparkles

  • The feeling of earned

  • Driving with the windows down, cruising on a mountain road

  • Aspen leaves in Fall

I believe the best apology (especially to yourself) is changed behavior. Managing anxiety is something I’ve shrugged off for years. I’ve decided to change that. I’m starting here.

Smiling looks better on me anyway.