The importance of identifying mental health cycles:

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Life comes in phases. It’s a up down cycle of happiness and sadness. A constant revolving door between good events and bad events. It’s easy to dismiss that fact, to overlook it and think that each bad phase is going to last forever, but they never do. So, why is it so easy to dismiss the cycle?

Our emotions are overwhelming. They completely take over our thoughts. Our memories of both good and bad times get fuzzy and we think the only thing we know for sure is the crisp emotions we currently feel.

Because of this it’s easy to miss the fact that it isn’t just happiness and sadness that cycle, but all aspects of our mental health. Anxieties that we have conquered in the past can come up again in different ways. Habits that we haven’t seen in a long while can come back when we least expect them.

We often find ourselves trapped in cycles without even noticing it, and perhaps that’s because we really can’t control these cycles, and they’ll always come back despite us. But not being able to control our cycles doesn’t mean that we can’t beat them.

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Key factors in happiness: Gratitude and perspective

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I think one of the most important factors to happiness is perspective and the ability to develop and nurture it before a long amount of time has passed.

Given time and distance we can see how the trail of bad things were leading us to something good. It changes our mind on whether the bad times were worth it and most of us submit to the age old truth that those things needed to happen to us. If we’re able to keep that mindset in the present it changes our reaction to negative events. We start to see them as brutal necessities that will lead us exactly were we need to go.

It’s a hard mindset to keep though, and it is always easier said than done. One thing that greatly helps us cultivate perspective in the present is gratitude.

Giving thanks daily keeps our mind centered on the good. It helps us maintain a positive outlook on the future by realizing if there is good hidden throughout our terrible day, there will be far more when the darkness starts to fade.

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Is depression just a mindset or is it just a chemical imbalance?

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This titles a tease, because it’s both. But the internet has been arguing about it lately, so I thought I would roll up my sleeves and dive one in.

This argument has been around for a few years now, it’s been talked about enough that I felt the need to put a disclaimer on my “How to Embrace a Happy Life” post that talked about how beating depression isn’t as simple as choosing to be happy, even though there really shouldn’t have been a way to get that from the post.

People who fight depression have gotten sick of hearing those kind of lines, which is completely understandable. What isn’t understandable is the argument that depression is only a chemical imbalance that doesn’t have much to do with mindset.

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How to Embrace a Happy Lifestyle:

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Happiness is not a destination you can reach, it’s a lifestyle you have to live.

Once you realize that no matter what you achieve you always find yourself saying “I’ll be happy when…” you start to shift your perspective on what happiness actually is. No matter what our dreams tell us, we all know that there isn’t going to be a magic point and time where we are completely happy. The reason we hang onto this hope is because looking back at our past we can point out years when we were. Our memory tends to throw out the bad days sprinkled in our good months, and it’s a good thing, looking back we can say that that was what happiness feels like, but you need to have the perspective on those times. Even your best times had nights you cried yourself to sleep.

So, if we can’t all of a sudden make it to happiness how to we become happier? Happy is a lifestyle, and it’s not one anyone can maintain 24/7. What all does this lifestyle entail?

Happiness is hard work, especially when your life isn’t making it easy. I’ve always been amazed by loved ones who are happy while going through hell on earth. You always marvel and ask them how they are doing it. The answer you normally get is along the lines of “I just decided to be happy.”

It isn’t that easy, but it is that simple. Here are some ways to embrace the happy lifestyle:

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself when Looking for Direction and Identity:

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Everyone gets in a bit of a rut sometimes. Whether it’s with who we are or what we’re doing in our lives we feel at a loss sometimes. We think we’ve moved past it only to find ourselves facing this problem all over again. Everyone says to write out our goals, and it helps a lot, but that’s not always enough. We need a lot more than that to help get us out of these holes. These questions are just the tip of an iceberg, but lets talk about what you really need to be asking yourself at these times.

  • If you got the life you wanted and ended up still being unhappy what would you do to change it?
  • Which friends do you find yourself wishing you were more like?
  • If someone were to write a biography about you what would you want them to know that they might not know from watching your life second hand?

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Internally Happy.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness recently, about what it means, how to get it, and how to keep it. I’ve even been reading about it.

Happiness is achievable, we’ve all been happy before. We know it’s real, we know we’ll feel it again. The problem with happiness is it never seems to last as long as we want it too. In fact, it often feels fleeting.

When people say they want happiness in life, they mean for life. And that’s a tall order, in fact, it’s impossible. But still, here we are wanting. So what can we do to hang onto happiness longer, or at least regain it quickly after it leaves?

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Back to the Girl I Was:

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Sometimes I wonder if I’ve strayed from who I was when I was little. Certainly life has taken me on a different path. Seven year old Anna was completely confident, unapologetic, and so energetic. The confidence and unapologetic ways were stolen from me at age twelve from aggressive bullying. But like things do, they recovered, they grew back. I wouldn’t say they are stronger, but they are here.

I’ve always had this idea that we have core traits programmed into us, that our childhood selves can tell a lot about who we will become, not because we won’t change, but because some things will always come back.

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