How I Stepped out of the Blues and Into Happiness

happiness

I hate everything and everyone.

That’s not true.

It used to be. I wasted the majority of my twenties, the last years of youthful freedom and the first years with my children, stewing in depression and bitterness. And the sadder I got, the fatter I got. 

I wasn’t always like that. In high school I was Mr. Social: the homecoming king, class president, football team captain. I was a student body president in college. Twice.

Then real life hit, and I was faced with living in a strange place, waking up too early for an awful commute to go a job I didn’t like and facing a team of “coworkers” that only wanted me fired so they could move up the ladder. It was enough to wipe the fresh faced optimism out of even the brightest soul, and I let it take over my life.

I was a bitter, cynical mess, and nothing fixed it. Not getting a new job, getting married, having a child. Neither did drinking, smoking or any other substance I would dabble in. No one wanted to hang out with me, and my wife...well, let’s just say I wasn’t invited to her side of the bed very often.

I knew I needed to improve, that I was wasting valuable time being a putz, but I didn’t act until my ten year high school reunion. It was there that I was reminded of how I impacted so many people simply by being kind, or offering rides, or helping a teammate off the ground. It dawned on me that when I focused on being good to others my own life was enriched in return. I was happier because I created happiness.

After the reunion I shared drinks with an old friend who had gotten into meditation. She claimed that just 15 minutes of quiet focusing on positive thoughts can trigger chemical changes in the brain (she's right). 

So I meditated. The more I meditated, the more aware of the good things in my life I became. Even things that others might construe as trouble I began to see as blessings, like a long commute (it allowed me to do things like these). 

My life changed within days. I got closer with my wife, my kids wanted to spend more time with me, I built a network of friends. I got involved with my church and charitable groups as well. It turns out, people enjoy being around happy people, not cranky bastards!

Since I felt happier, I wanted to look better too. So I started training for a triathlon, and you can read all about that here.

Depression is a serious disease for many people and always worth seeking help for. But for some of you, there is an opportunity to change today. Make the choice and commit to opening your eyes, because the positives are there, just waiting for you to see them. 

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