The gift of “good enough”

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I’ve been writing a lot of posts about self improvement. It’s been on my mind, and I honestly think it is something we should all be striving for. It’s important to constantly be shaping yourself into something better, because like it or not, you’re going to change either way, you might as well be going in the right direction.

But with all the talk of self improvement I think I need to counter it, because perfectionism is the enemy of good. If you’re aiming for perfect most the time you will fail, you should be aiming for better instead, or depending on where you started, a lot better. You can’t be great at everything, sometimes you simply have to be okay with being good at something.

So let’s talk about settling. We’ve been taught that settling is bad, and in some situations it really is. You shouldn’t settle on a spouse. You shouldn’t settle when you know your work warrants more. But there is a different kind of settling that no one talks about, a healthy kind that keeps you sane.

I’m talking about knowing when things are good enough and taking them.

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Seven Things:

 

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First of all- Happy Halloween! I hope it’s spook-tacular! I can’t believe we are already at the end of October, this year seems to be flying by. But if you have a few spare minutes to take in the day (perhaps while waiting for Trick-or-Treaters) here are some links for you to enjoy discovering and reading through!

Appreciating the little things creates a better big picture.

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You know when you have a cold and you regret not being amazed by the fact that you can breathe out of your nose 99% of the time. It’s crazy how much of life is like that- over looked, under valued honest to God gifts.

I think we take too much for granted. I think I take too much for granted.

We all begrudgingly admit that we’ve taken people and larger opportunities for granted, we can see them easily with clear eyes. We tend to see those when they hit us in the face. We hate it when it happens and it makes us try to reorganize our lives so we don’t do it again. We think big picture, and it helps our mental health, to think about everything on a larger scale, to know how important these people and opportunities are to your life.

But even if we are trying to take care and appreciate all our big items, even if we are cherishing our loved ones and trying to take every hand that’s reached down to us, we can still be stuck. We can still feel overwhelmed. We can still feel like we’re on the losing end. Maybe we don’t have that many loved ones, maybe the tasks before us are too big or simply not enough. Things happen and life often falls short of what we want it to be, even if we are trying to appreciate the big things. Even if we’re trying not to take anything for granted, but the fact is, when we’re doing these things we aren’t being overwhelmed with how amazing the little things are.

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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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