I subscribe to, and follow, various "positive" pages or emails online. A nice daily quote in my Inbox (Oh, I do love a good motivational quote); beautiful photos of nature and wildlife, with vivid uplifting colours; inspirational people; videos depicting kind acts of humanity; that sort of thing.
Well, the other day an article popped up which initially seemed worth a read – something along the lines of "14 things to do in 14 days to enhance your wellbeing". Wonderful, I thought, let's see what I can add to my repertoire.
But in actual fact the article left me feeling like my wellbeing had been somewhat sabotaged. It was suggesting setting aside an hour a day for one thing, 15 mins a day for another, another hour a day for something else... And on, and on, so that by the time I'd reached the end of the 14 suggestions, not only did I feel totally overwhelmed with all these things I wasn't currently doing, I felt like I needed to set my alarm for 3am just to try and fit them all in!
Don't get me wrong, the "things" suggested were all valid and worthwhile (albeit things we probably already know would help) – doing something you love/derive great pleasure from, reading a chapter from a book, learning/trying something new, taking a short walk, reflection, affirmations... And actually it did make me stop and think that I could probably pick one or two to try and fit into my own evenings more often (certainly more than just slobbing out on the sofa watching Australian Masterchef whilst devouring a tub of BBQ pringles with sour cream & chive dip anyway. Don't judge me...)
But not all in the same day. Not even if you picked one a day, for the next designated 14 days. That still feels like an enormous amount of (counterproductive) pressure to try achieve all these things, in order to reach this alleged state of happiness.
So we need to be careful, and considered. I am, like most of you I'm sure, very open to new strategies to enhance the mood. But we need to decide whether the latest idea we're trying out is actually going to contribute to our overall wellbeing, or whether it's just going to add extra pressure or panic to what can sometimes be a very difficult day just to get through. Otherwise we run the risk of signing up to something that realistically isn't right for us; not enjoying any of the things that are supposed to "help"; and then finish with the feelings of guilt when we "fail" to complete the task. Definitely not the path to a happier self!
So go forth, my fellow Moodscopers, and fill up your emotional toolbox with whatever implement you think can be put to use on your way to wellbeing. Just be sure to pick the right tool for the right job.
A Moodscope member.