Standing on My Soapbox: The Importance of Being Happy

You know those days when nothing seems to go right? When you can’t even pull yourself off the bed, couch, chair – wherever you may have laid yourself that day? When it’s like the world is completely crumbling under your feet, but no one else seems to feel the quaking and they just walk by like everything is fine? Yeah, those days. I’ve had a good number of them (with an alarming ratio being in the last four months), but I’ve discovered one thing: you’ve got to find something that makes you happy; something that lifts up your heart and holds it above the water for you when your drowning, because you can’t on your own.

For me, I have two tried-and-true methods: music and reading. Notice the massive increase in books read in the last three months? That’s no coincidence. I’ll break them both down for you, and hopefully you’ll find your own methods to try out for those blue days!

Love this sound

Love this sound

Music: I read a self-help book aΒ long time ago about teen girls and depression, trying to find some ways to fix myself so I could actually enjoy high school. That was me, at fifteen, trying to “fix everything.” At eighteen, I still do the same thing, but I’ve also learned just to ride it out and know that it’s not okay now, but it will be soon enough. I didn’t take many tips from that book, but one has stuck with me for several years now: make a mix of songs to lift your mood. Inspirational, girl power, get-up-and-dance-in-your-pjs type of music. Oh yes: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and more!

I just made a new disc today (it being Tuesday as I write this post), and based it on songs that make me want so sing so loud I lose my voice. It’s a long-drive-in-the-car sort of mix, with songs that all get me dancing like an idiot (think Matt Smith), but 100% are sure to make me feel better.

photo

I went a little Sharpie happy

My mix includes (if you can’t read it all):

  • Love Drunk by Boys Like Girls
  • Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia
  • Light ‘Em Up by Fall Out Boy
  • Young Volcanoes by Fall Out Boy
  • What I Wouldn’t Do by A Fine Frenzy
  • Run, Don’t Walk by Hey Monday
  • It’s Time by Imagine Dragons
  • On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons
  • Fingerprints by Katy Perry
  • Firework by Katy Perry
  • Stronger by Kelly Clarkson
  • Mr. Brightside by The Killers
  • All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers
  • Below My Feet by Mumford & Sons
  • The Cave by Mumford & Sons
  • Animal by Neon Trees
  • You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid by The Offspring
  • Courage by Orianthi ft. Lacey Sturm
  • Shooting Star by Owl City
  • Embers by Owl City
  • Long Live by Taylor Swift
  • Ready Aim Fire by Imagine Dragons
  • Clarity by Zedd ft. Foxes
  • Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars

And then the red bit says “Be Happy – Sing – Laugh – Scream – Cry – Just BE.” Yeah, it’s cheesy, but it’s a reminder that no matter what, just be alive, be present, and everything will be okay. Like right now I have the tracks playing in iTunes, and I keep taking typing breaks to shimmy around when it gets to a good part in the song. It’s a huge blend of genres and styles, but I have a pretty wide music taste, so it suits me. If Bach gets your goat, play Midnight Sonata over and over again! Eminem really inspire you? Blast that cd so loud your neighbors will scream “Turn that racket down!” To each their own πŸ™‚

Reading: I don’t think I can emphasize it enough how much books have helped me in these last few months. It’s an escape, and it gives me a chance to not only develop my writing skills through blogging, but I’ve made friends through all of this too. Fantasy will always have a special place in my heart, and it’s what I usually gravitate to when I’m feeling down, but in the last week (thanks to Veronica, Andi, and Arial) I’ve expanded to reading more contemporary fiction. Before, I always read those tear-jerkers. Remember my review of TFiOS? Let me refresh your memory:

But those three lovely, amazing people showed me that there’s actually such a thing as happy contemporary books! Enter Anna and the French Kiss. I have never felt so buoyant after reading a book – at least, not that I can remember. Yes, there was a bit of angst in it, but the happy ending had me singing, at 12 AM no less. I didn’t even know that was possible from a contemporary book! Contemporary always equated to pain in my mind. I think there should be more books like that, or the ones thatΒ are need to reach the same popularity as the feels-inducing ones. Or maybe I’m just living under a rock, and there are way more than I thought? *hunts down Veronica to drag her to Barnes and Noble*

So, after all my rambling, you should have learned two things: play music, and sing to it, no matter how much you sound like a dying cat, and read happy books, because life is hard enough as it is, and we don’t always need to have our hearts wrenched out by John Green.

I send thee out, and require reports of music-making and happy-book-reading within one week!

What other methods do you use to lift up your mood?

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13 thoughts on “Standing on My Soapbox: The Importance of Being Happy

  1. This was a much-needed post, Kayla. Thank you! I’ve been feeling really discouraged the past few days, too, because I’ve realized that my life right now is, quite frankly, a mess. I don’t have my priorities right, I’m almost always behind in my schoolwork, I take too-long naps in the afternoon, and basically, my studies are suffering because I spend too much time in the blogosphere, and I don’t receive as much in return. And then I see other people who are doing so much better than I am, and that makes me feel even more down, even though it should be encouraging, in the strange twisted way my mother says it will.

    I don’t have a CD player in my room, so unfortunately I can’t burn songs on CDs and scribble my heart out on them — though that is a really good idea — but whenever I just need a break from the daily whirlwind of life, I’ll jam in my earphones, turn the volume up until all other sounds are drowned up, and then recede into my own musical world. It works, sometimes. I should try the dancing thing, though! A little craziness once in a while is good. πŸ™‚

    Oh yes, books have definitely been one of the very few bright spots in my life. Without them, I don’t know how I’d survive. I don’t drown my sorrows in books, unfortunately, because for some reason I just don’t get the urge to read anything when I’m sad. No, wait. That’s not true. When I’m said, I get the intense urge to read HP. Haha, and you’re definitely not the only one who has the same opinion about contemporaries. I never thought I’d warm up to them, but I did, and I still am.

    Another thing I do when I’m sad is go take a shower, and then talk to myself and cry my eyes out. No one can hear you, so it’s the best. And then once I get out and look into the mirror, I see this puffy-eyed girl with the bloated nose and it just makes me laugh, so that cheers me up somewhat. I know, it’s weird, but hey. Whatever works, right? I also try to pour my feelings out into a letter addressed to an imaginary person of mine and tell her all that is paining me and then sign it off with a “Love, Megan.” I don’t know how helpful that has been, but it’s addicting!

    Beautiful post, Kayla. It’s good to find new methods to pick myself off the ground and continue on with life. ❀

    • Oh love let me just hug you for a minute *SQUEEEEEZZEEE* Time management is a pain in the ass sometimes 😦 And I get that too – you see everyone else who seems to have it all together, and you wonder why you can’t do that too.

      Dance your heart out! Just remember to lock the door if you’re easily embarrassed πŸ˜‰ I don’t have a cd player either, but my stereo has one in my car, so that’s where I stuck this disc.

      Ugh, HP. That is my second home. I totally agree with you: Harry Potter makes everything better. It’s even better than a blanket on the coldest day in winter!

      I think this is where we differ. I hate crying! Mostly because my mom or sister will ask what’s wrong, and I don’t want to talk about it, but they always insist. So I either cry when I’m home alone for a few hours, so my eyes can clear up, or I just get pissed and rage about instead. It works very well! For a minute… Lol.

      Oh kind of like Perks of Being a Wallflower? I may have to try that! It sounds like it would help πŸ™‚

      I’m glad I could help! And you know my email inbox is always open if you want to chat πŸ˜‰

  2. You know, I have been meaning to comment on this post for a while now, but just can’t seem to write anything I’m satisfied with– this post is just too meaningful for my mind! I just want to say that I wish you nothing but happiness and that, yes, listening and singing along to music (even if you sound like a dying cat) and reading books that make you feel good are some of the best ways to get a smile back on your face.

    • I’m glad it made you speechless(?), or helped you in some way πŸ™‚ Not many people took a look at it – I thought nobody really cared for it! Thanks for giving me some confidence πŸ˜‰

      And I wish you all the best too! I know life is hard sometimes… and I’ve learned it especially in the last year… but I really do hope that everyone can find something to keep them going. Just a little tiny thing πŸ™‚

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  5. I don’t think I could love this post more if I tried. If I’ve learnt anything this past year (it’s not been good for me on a personal level) it’s that music and books are two things that will help get me through anything. Your mix cd you’ve made it awesome, I love so many of the songs that are on there, especially Animals and Young Volcanoes. And happy contemporary books are true gifts, Anna and the French Kiss never fails to make me smile. Lovely post, thank you for writing it!

    • Oh I’m glad you loved it! I didn’t know how helpful it would be but I felt like sharing, especially with everything that’s going on. Sorry to hear about your year 😦

      Anna and the French Kiss will probably be my go-to if I need to smile!

    • YES PLEASE!!! When my bank account has refilled though… I spent a lot of money on books this month haha. Next month is going to be a really heavy ban except for the Hunger Games boxed set and then maybe one paperback if we go to BN πŸ˜‰

  6. I do the same things when I’m feeling down – listen to some nice music and read. Usually I read light and fluffy books that are just mostly chick lit because they make me laugh and fall in love. Anna and the French Kiss is definitely a favorite. Sometimes we just need to unwind and all. And I like your playlist. I only know some of the songs though. Usually I just turn on the party shuffle on my player and just skip some songs. Haha. Another thing I do is shop for books. Or simply visit the bookstore to stare. πŸ˜„

    • Yes! Just walking into Barnes and Noble makes me happy! Get a coffee at the cafe and then walk through the aisles… just touching the books. We might look a bit crazy, but I think it helps!

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