I’ve just finished reading Reasons to Stay Alive, an autobiographical style novel that exposes readers to some of the hidden crevices of mental illness, more specifically depression and anxiety.
Many will maintain the belief that reading anything of the sort, that makes such explicit and direct references to suicide and depression, is extremely disheartening but I have never felt so uplifted and joyous after completing a book!
Matt Haig (the author) ends the novel with a very simplistic list of ordinary everyday occurences that make him feel ‘better’. Of course, after reading in profound detail of his distressing and difficult period of depression, the list seems innocently and purely, the most simplistic way to view little shots of happiness that occur every day and serve us (when viewed together) as a bright beacon in the darkest of times.
I made my own list and would encourage everyone to do the same, regardless of whether you are struggling or not. This list might just provide a perspective you have not yet recognised.
MY LIST OF THINGS THAT BRING ME HAPPINESS
- the ice cold feel of a can against my skin on a hot day.
- the smell of toast.
- the fresh, clean feeling after brushing my teeth first thing in the morning.
- the sound of fire crackling on the hearth.
- when somebody brushes my hair
- long, late night talks
- the sound of a baby laughing
- facetiming a friend or family member I haven’t seen in a while
- the warmth of the sun
- Christmas songs
- getting into the shower after a workout
- movies (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, When Harry Met Sally, Die Hard, any Simon Pegg movie, Harry Potter, The Hobbit – just to name a few!)
- Jane Austen novels
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (my favourite novel)
- Virginia Woolf novels
- going through old pictures and getting lost in reminiscing
- Frank Sinatra’s dulcet tones
- film music
- long walks
I could go on further but something tells me I’ll be sat here typing all day if I don’t stop now.
Write your own list of things that make you feel better and bring you happiness; I’ll eat my hat if you don’t find yourself smiling as you write it!