You awaken abruptly to the sound of bells. You drag your sleep heavy body out of bed and get ready for the day. You run to the bus in the soggy heat, fighting to outrun the sweat that threatens to seep from your tired pores. You get onto the bus and you are suffocated by the voices of young children. Your AirPods can’t drown out their all too chipper voices, as they mount in an incessant drone. You think to yourself, I can get through this, tomorrow is Friday.
Perhaps you can relate to this thank-god-it’s-Friday type feeling, it’s not uncommon for people to start to find boredom and monotony of daily living. They find themselves waiting on the weekend to relieve them of the burden of normal life. Some people push the exhaustion down, pulling all nighters and studying for hours on end; after all, success doesn’t come easy. They hope they’ll reap the benefits of delayed gratification, getting to a good college or job, but at what cost to their mental health?
I talked to seniors at SAS about their thoughts on postponing happiness, and despite the raging pandemic, many responses from the “class of corona,” were positive. I asked them this question: Do you ever feel like you’re waiting for the weekend in order to be happy?
Sanya Lokur said, “nah. I get excited everyday to see my homies. I’m very easily entertained, the most mundane things make me happy.” Cameron Ragsdale echoed this sentiment, “I feel like I am equally happy during the week. The only difference is the increased level of stress I experience on weekdays, but it’s never unbearable.”
Saskia Vujik added, “It depends on the time of the year. Right now, yes, because weekdays aren’t very exciting with school, but in general, especially if I was in season, I wouldn’t have to wait because practices with my teammates was also something that could combat anything, and distract me if I wasn’t feeling as good that day.” Despite being a four year varsity athlete, Saskia maintains that she is able to balance her time wisely.
I talked to a senior who says the she hasn’t done a good job at balancing time wisely. I asked her, Do you feel as though you’ve made the most of your high school experience? This senior had a lacklustre reply, “I think that there isn’t anything that I straight up regret doing or not doing, but I do not necessarily think that I’ve made the most of my high school experience.”
What’s holding people back from fulfilment on a daily basis? Based on the findings below, 50% of happiness can be controlled by you. Setbacks are only as bad as you make them. Although this chart is simple, the recipe to happiness is far more complex. For the people who are genetically predisposed towards negative patterns of thinking, happiness is something that takes work, in the same way one learns to ride a bike. With practice, people are capable of recognising and rationalising negative thoughts.
People who are clinically depressed are statically more likely to misread facial cues. According to Heather Murphy of the New York Times, “Depression and anxiety has been found to function like distortion goggles, filtering out signs of joy and happiness while magnifying signs of sadness or anger.” When people have the tendency to take things personally, it seems like the whole world is against them.
The people you surround yourself with can have a big effect on your path to self fulfilment. Let’s take a look at the crab bucket effect. When crabs are in a bucket and one tries to climb out, the other crabs drag it back in. This resembles an unfortunate phenomenon in human behaviour. As one person attempts to improve themselves, the people in their group may try hinder their progress if they believe they aren’t capable of that same success. If all the crabs work together, everyone can get out of the bucket. This phenomenon demonstrates the importance of being around people that raise you up, and it reminds us not to drag anyone down.
A positive mental attitude will change your entire outlook on life. Making good lifestyle choices, saying kind things about yourself and others, surrounding yourself with people who make you a better person. You are capable of soaking up the greatness of each day, no matter how ordinary it may be. Take time to recharge by working out, journaling, or reading in a bubble bath. Spending a few minutes of your day doing something fulfilling will give you time to recharge in a productive manner. Productivity need not be studying for a test, it can be anything that betters you or brings you solace in a time of chaos. Peace is a form of happiness that you are capable of finding any day of the week. So now, let’s consider a happier alternative to the start of your day:
You awaken to the sound of bells. You say goodbye to your blanketed oasis. You put on music that makes you dance, and the tiredness slips from your body. You walk to the bus and admire the softness of the sunrise, as though it’s straight out of a Monet painting. You get onto the bus and you smile at the unadulterated sound of children’s laughter. You gaze out the window at the trees and you wonder about the lives of strangers on the sidewalk. You chuckle at a woman walking four identical golden retrievers. You think to yourself, thank god it’s today.