Coping Skills For Mostly Happy People

I’m lucky in that I don’t have too many bad days. I’m constantly counting my blessings and I realize all the time that my life is pretty darn good.

I am a completely normal human being though, which means that I’m not happy all the time. Life is a roller coaster: ups AND downs are part of the deal. Yesterday? Was a downer.

Being a mostly happy person, I tend to freak people out when I’m having a bad day. It’s not that my friends think I cannot have a bad day (or am not allowed a bad day), but when I’m walking around living a 21st century Pollyanna life, it can be disconcerting for others to find out that I can ugly cry with the best of them.

There are two main categories of coping skills that a mostly happy person can use to get through those icky days: reaching outward and reaching inward.

Reaching outward is pretty self-explanatory. I am lucky (again!) to have a huge network of people who care about me. I have a husband who will drop what he’s doing at home to wrap me in a big hug or, if he’s at work when I’m having a rough time, will step out of a meeting room to chat or text. My kids know at first glance that I’m not myself and will ask me what’s wrong. And those friends. They help me pull myself up, all in their own ways.

I have a friend who will let me unleash completely, telling me “Better out than in!” Usually I’ve left the tears way behind after a few minutes of that therapy.

I have a friend who will profusely apologize for my misery even though it’s not her fault 99.99999999999999% of the time, and follows that up by pointing out all the ways my life could be way, WAY worse, which makes me laugh and subsequently I feel much better.

I have a friend who is loose with the emoticons. Sometimes she’ll hit me with them twice in one day, once as an initial attack on my mood and then a second time later, just to let me know she’s still thinking about me and wondering how I’m doing.

Emoticon love

I have a friend who sends me the most ridiculous and funny gifs that force me to laugh. Like this:

…followed immediately by this:

Taylor Swift Heart gif

I have a friend who intentionally annoys the bejeebus out of me, telling me how lucky I am and how my life is really just a vacation in disguise, until she breaks through.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. (Told you I was lucky!)

I’m not sure if it’s harder to reach out to others for help or to reach inward; I guess it depends on the crisis du jour. When I’m reaching inward, here are a few things I do to turn myself around:

1. Count those blessings.
2. Try and focus on other things.
3. Take a break, whether it’s a full day sabbatical like I did last summer or just an earlier-than-usual walk in the peace and quiet, before the rest of the neighborhood gets up and ready for their day.

early walk

4. Iron. (Really.)
5. Take a nice, long shower, crying optional.
6. Crank up the music, possibly Pitbull or possibly my “Release” playlist on Spotify.
7. Take a nap.
8. Get some exercise.
9. Most importantly, reassure myself that it’s only one day, that I’m allowed to be miserable sometimes, and that tomorrow is an opportunity for a fresh start.
10. Believe that. ^^^

Today’s a new day, and I’m well on the way back to my mostly happy self. (Thank goodness.)
This stuff works. Honest.