When you're feeling down, what do you do to get yourself back to your usual happy chappy self? If you're like me, you might pop on your lounge wear, throw yourself onto the couch and whack on a feel good film to lift your spirits. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I opt for a film with an unrealistically happy ending to convince me that I too can have what most of us would deem 'the perfect life'. This is a habit I developed at a young age, having watched Cinderella Story and The Lizzie McGuire Movie at least 45 times each. Can you blame me? Who doesn't love a sing-a-long movie and a bit of eye candy courtesy of Chad Michael Murray? If you know, you know.
It will come as no surprise that my taste is a little more adultcentric these days, favouring The Women, Sex and the City, Bridesmaids and Mamma Mia for my feel good fix. I'm a big girl now, you see. As much as I love watching these films and the burst of seratonin they give me, I know it gives me a bit of an unrealistic idea that life will go swimmingly and I'll get all I want in the end without too many difficulties along the way. For the short term it’s fine, no harm done. Long term exposure, however, maybe not so much. Life just doesn’t always pan out like it does in the movies, even if I wish it did. I’ve been waiting for an overwhelmingly sexy hunk like Ryan Gosling to chat me up in a bar who I par off and who still pursues me regardless ever since I watched Crazy, Stupid Love. Stillllll waiting...
I find that this sunshine and rainbow attitude I sometimes adopt as a result of watching these films, alongside other things, can mean that when something does change or go wrong, it completely ruins my day. My happy bubble is suddenly popped. The day has not gone as planned or exactly as I envisaged. As a result, I feel completely unprepared for what has happened and my anxiety abruptly awakens and goes into full swing, like a toddler that has missed out on nap time and is now on a rampage. To be fair, I can relate. I also love nap time.
I must mention that I'm not exclusively blaming films for the mindset we can all often find ourselves in. As mentioned before, I still flock to them now as my relief when I’m not feeling so good. I think Instagram, and specifically celebrities, are also partially to blame for the squeaky clean lifestyles they portray. It's pretty easy to forget that no one's life is perfect when your drowning in photoshopped pictures of ripped half naked bodies, flawless faces, luxurious holiday destinations, flashy cars and dreamy million pound houses. Am I right?
I'm all for having a positive outlook on life, but there has to be an element of realism running alongside it for me. It just helps to make me a little more resilient if things don't quite go to plan. I have found it one of the most grounding and helpful things I have introduced into my life over the last 12 months. I originally came across this mindset when reading the Chimp Paradox which was recommended by Olivia Buckland (now Bowen) during an interview she did where she talked about her mental health and how she coped with her depression. If you haven't already read The Chimp Paradox, I'd pop it on your reading list.
This insightful book encourages you to establish a few truths in life so that you are not blindsided by things as they occur. The idea of the Truths of Life, as they are referred to in the book, is that if we believe something can happen, we are more likely to be able to deal with it, making us more emotionally resilient.
So, being a bit of a lazy bugger, I nicked a couple of their 'truths' and came up with a few of my own. Here are just a few that are now part of my daily mantra, especially when I'm getting into a bit of an emotional rut:
Life isn't always fair It's a harsh truth but still, it's the truth. Some people are naturally born with an absolutely banging bod. Some people, like me, can put on 2 pound by simply looking at a packet of biscuits in the supermarket. Moaning and getting caught up in how hard done by I am isn't going to magically transform my body or help me shed a few pounds. Instead, I accept the body I've been given and get on with what I need to do to stay healthy. Yes, I have to work a little harder at the gym and watch what I'm eating a little more often than others to stay at my ideal weight, but that's life, as Franky Sinatra once said. So, I suck it up and crack out those squats like Tom Hardy is watching. Yet to receive any feedback from him.
Nothing stays the same forever If there is one thing us 90s babies learned at a young age when the Spice Girls split up, it's that a good thing doesn't last forever. Don't even try pretend the recent tour was remotely the same. Anyway, staying on track, things do change. That is a fact of life. Friendship groups and relationships change, commitments change, life pulls you in different directions and a wide range of opportunities present themselves along the way. Rather than getting upset about the fact it's the end of an era, I try and remind myself of the adventure and new opportunities that possibly lie ahead. When I first moved to Manchester, I was excited but pretty nervous about moving away from some of my closest friends. Now, I can see it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I have not only maintained a lot of those relationships, but I have made even more friends who I love spending time with. Aren't I a lucky gal?
Money comes and goes Controversial, but something I end up telling myself a lot. Sometimes, your car decides it wants to have a colossal break down and you have an unexpected £450 bill in your lap to take a nice chunk out of your savings. Now, you can't avoid paying for your car to be repaired. Yes, it's frustrating and often RIDICULOUSLY overpriced, but you'll get that money back eventually. Plus, you'll probably save dollar in other ways, maybe even through a cheeky tax return. Too optimistic? Probably. All the tax man/woman ever wants from me is more dollar. Hun, I work for a charity, PLEASE STOP.
Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to change a situation There are just some things in life you can't control. Your ex or crush has moved on? Realistically, there is nothing you can do to stop how they feel about that person, unless you are going to go into full on psycho mode and who really wants to do that? Crack on 'good as hell' by Lizzo and move the hell on. Heavy traffic mean you’re going to be 30 minutes late for an important meeting? Unless your car turns into a hovercraft, not a whole lot you can do my love so pop on some tunes and chill the hell out. Straightened your hair and the heavens have decided to open on you? Trust me, I feel you. That's why I don't straighten my hair anymore, especially given I live in Manchester which feels like it is situated underneath a constant rain cloud. Pulling a tantrum and ruining your day or night before it’s even started isn’t going to stop the rain man.
So, that's it. They are the four truths I have learned to repeat to myself when life decides to shake up my day. I have found that by accepting these few truths, I feel more empowered to deal with the inconvenient situations life likes to kick up once in a while and maybe even laugh in their face at the same time. Yes, it might be laughing and crying all at the same time but hey, I'm still bloody laughing.