In this months Little Steps post, I mentioned that I was going to make myself a list of personal Commandments. This is because I recently finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. (This is my honest opinion, this post is not sponsored and I am not being compensated for recommending this book in any way.) After reading the book, I was really tempted to start my own Happiness Project but I decided against it for a couple of reasons. At the moment my focus is on my mental health and reducing my anxiety. Happiness is very important but for me personally, it isn’t as pressing as my health and well being right now. Paradoxically, since I started focusing on reducing my anxiety in January, I have reduced it considerably and as a result I am happier. Now I have just started reducing my medication I feel that I should be focusing on that and if I succeed, that will also make me happier. So in a way I am making myself happier by not focusing on happiness. I already set myself monthly goals in my Little Steps posts, adding monthly resolutions into the mix would probably be counter productive.
So for now I have decided against taking on a full blown Happiness Project. What I have decided to do is make myself a list of personal commandments. I used this post on Gretchen Rubin’s website to guide me. Coincidentally, Gretchen says that making a list of commandments was one of the most helpful tasks she completed during her Happiness Project. Commandments are the principles which we try to live by, they are different for everyone. I wasn’t sure how many commandments I should have but Gretchen has 12 so I went with that. Once I got started I came up with 17 so I whittled it down to the 12 that are most important to me.
My 12 Commandments
- Be Hayley. I borrowed this one from Gretchen. I admit that I care too much about what other people think, I am going to make a big effort to be myself. I am a bit childish, I recently took up loom bands and bought myself The Lego Movie. Cue strange looks from my parents. So I’m childish, why is that portrayed as such a bad thing? There are worse traits to have! Plus how many times have you heard someone say “I wish I was a kid again”? Exactly.
- Let it go. This is also on Gretchen’s list but it is on mine for a different reason. It is to do with the song from Frozen. I really identify with the lyrics. For years I kept my anxiety a secret “Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be.” Then suddenly it was out in the open and everyone knew, “Don’t let them know… But know they know!” It is still my impulse to hide my anxiety. I am trying to learn to let my family and friends in, they know now so I may as well let it go.
- I can handle it. A lot of my anxiety attacks center around me feeling that I can’t handle a situation. Yet when I force myself to face my fear, I usually find that I can handle it. So now every time I am nervous about a situation I stand in front of my mirror, look myself in the eyes and say “I can handle it!” like a mantra until I start to believe it.
- Just get on with it. We all have things in life that we don’t look forward to. I tell myself that the sooner I start, the sooner I’m finished. Just get on with it!
- Take responsibility. A line of The Happiness Project really struck me. “If you’re willing to take the blame, people will give you the responsibility.” Do I always take responsibility when I should? Sometimes I worry that I use my anxiety. I decided not to put myself into a situation because of my anxiety but was I really worried that it would be too much for me? Or did I just not want to and my anxiety was a handy excuse to tell myself to give up the opportunity?
- Don’t over-think. I over-think a lot. It is a big problem for me, one that I am trying to work through.
- Little steps add up. There isn’t a quick way to overcome anxiety or any mental health condition. Sometimes it feels like I’m not progressing fast enough. I must remember, little steps add up!
- Take it in. To quote The Happiness Project again, “The days are long but the years are short.” I want to appreciate the here and now. I don’t want life to pass me by. That is my motivation for overcoming my anxiety.
- Listen to your body. It knows best! During my recovery I am making sure that I take time for self care and that I listen to my body. If it tells me I am pushing myself too hard I need to respect that.
- Patience is a virtue. I don’t really need to explain this one ha!
- Guilt is wasted energy. We are human. We make mistakes. Dwelling on what we could/should have done differently isn’t going to change that.
- Go with the flow. Sometimes opportunities present themselves or plans will change for the better. Don’t question or calculate. Go with the flow.
Those are my 12 Commandments. Now all I have to do is remember them! I’m planning to tap into my creative, childish side and make a big poster to put on my wall! Do you have any commandments or rules/words you live by? Please let me know below =)