How to actively make yourself happy
aka. how to romanticize your life
If you watched a ghibli movie, then you know that’s the vibe/aesthetic i’m going to describe in this post.
These suggestions are things which i do to make myself happy. I (try to) choose 1 daily. Why? Because you have to actively choose to do things in order to make yourself happy, why wait until happiness comes. go and grab it for yourself
Spend time alone and whenever you do, have some sort of activity, even if it’s just daydreaming
Make something you enjoy drinking; it can be tea in your favorite tea cup, it can be hot chocolate, it can be matcha latte etc.
Choose 1-3 hobbies but don’t make them chores, have fun doing them; don’t pressure yourself with the idea of being good at it, just have fun (suggestions: drawing, origami, making videos, grow a tiny garden in 2 paper cups, learn to play play at your laptop, make friendship bracelets, crochet, knitting, learn a language, embroidery)
Make something exciting to eat; pancakes, waffles, your favorite ramen, pizza pastries, lentil soup, mushroom soup, tarts etc. I said exciting, not your favorite because cooking something new can be amazing too.
Wear something you like; don’t keep certain clothes for special occasions. If they make you happy, wear them.
Try a new sort of tea or sweets. Your supermarket has something you haven’t tried before, i promise.
Got stickers? Use one of them. You keep hoarding them for “special moments” but they are the perfect thing to make you happy because you gave them that power. Stick them on your phone case, laptop case, journal etc.
Write yourself a love letter. By love letter i mean compliment yourself a bit. Tell you what you admire at yourself or tell you what you’re looking forward to do/learn etc.
Doodle some cute things. Pinterest has a bunch of easy doodles/decorations etc.
Go for a walk and take pictures. Find beauty in places you label as “ordinary”.. Maybe make a digital photo album as a diary.
Read something that makes you happy and take notes. Write why you like that book/character etc. You have a bunch of beautiful things in your life, they wait to be acknowledged.
Tell your friends they’re precious to you. Watch as they stumble upon their words as they process the words you just said.
Have tiny crafting projects for others. Made cookies? How about making some boxes or bags (with the help of pinterest) then decorate them and give them to your friend?
Go on a picnic with someone.
Stay a bit late and look out the window at stars or just at the empty street while the window is open and the window is chilly~
Clean your room while dancing or/and singing. Be proud of cleaning your space.
Look around your room and think what you’d change/ what you want to change and try to do so. Make a new poster, get a plant, move things around etc.
Learn something new. Enjoy the process. I said enjoy it, not aspire to be a master at it in 5 min. How do you enjoy the process? You remind yourself how 2 hours ago you didn’t know that, how you progressed and learn, how you improve, how this topic brings you joy and you won’t force it on yourself like you’re on a schedule.
You get yourself a nice shower gel, perfume, face mask etc and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
Lie down and daydream until you fall asleep.
Make yourself a bento even if you go no where. There’s just something about making pretty food that delights people.
Get some handerchiefs and think of some design. Customize them by sewing or painting on them. You can make these for friends too.
Have a tea party with your friends. or a sleepover if you can
Have a journal where you write what you want to do, what goals you have, places you want to visit, what dates you want to go on, what people (fictional or real) you like, what songs inspire you etc. Make it a dream place.
Actively try to look at things and people like they special. That sunshine? It feels warm and soft. Doesn’t it look nice? How does your friend make you feel? How would you describe them? Is it like the entrance of a magical forest ready to go on an adventure? Is it the comfort of staying under a blanket on a rainy morning? Is your meal making you excited to eat it? Is your drink making you happy you got it? Is your room the environment you envision yourself being happy in?
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Writing in the Details
Details can add another layer to your story, particularly if it’s a character driven piece in which the reader is privy to the minutia of your protagonist’s life. You never want to include details which are boring: discussing your main character’s breakfast is usually a no-no, unless it’s an unusual dish which reveals something about them. For example, if your hero always eats fish, there might be a reason for that - mentioning it could make the character stand out, and this is doubly true if it has a bearing on the plot later. If the character eating fish is an adopted mermaid who’s spent his life thinking he’s human, then mentioning his breakfast, and the fact that he has sea food for every meal, becomes relevant.
Even details which aren’t as personal to your character can enhance your story, though they should be used in moderation. As a writer, you should describe the warmth of the sun on your character’s back, how the sun burns their toes, and how green the forest smells - not only to bring us into their world, and make us feel we’re there, but to set a tone.
It might seem cliché, but describing how frigid a sad character is as they tramp through the rain, or how the breath was knocked from their lungs as a truck splashed them in a downpour, sets a mood. Rain is effective in evoking moods which are sad, despairing, and tired. Rain underscores how rundown your protagonist is, showing us their internal emotions without having to describe them.
Rain in films and other stories is common, because it works. It will continue to work. Whether we think it’s overused or not, we’ll keep seeing it again because it’s effective. All types of weather can be. That said, don’t overdo it. Many writers, especially new ones, fall into the trap of describing everything. They write five pages of description, and your reader forgets what was happening in the story. Description should exist to bring you into the story. It should never distract from the story, or sideline it completely.
Try to think of a character’s physical attributes, too, when writing. I’m not just talking about their wardrobe (though, if interesting enough, that can certainly add something to the character). Hair length doesn’t seem like a thrilling detail, and if it’s tossed into a lengthy grocery list of a character’s physical attributes it isn’t. In action, though, it can make your character’s place in the world seem more real. This sounds weird, but let me explain!
Within your world, your character occupies a physical space. When I mentioned the heat of the sun on a character’s back, you probably felt it yourself. Your character’s hair and clothes play a similar role to the elements. It should be subtle. If your character has a pixie cut, describe the breeze on her neck. If your character has long hair, have them smile when they keep finding strands everywhere; if they’re nervous in a scene, show those nerves by having them play with their hair. If a character is going on a date, they might fuss with such long hair -pulling it into braids, curling it, and then, frustrated, settling with a ponytail.
If your introverted hero is being dragged to a Christmas party, to see that one relative, describing how itchy their ugly sweater continues to be throughout the evening can underscore their frustration with the evening. That’s right - a horrible holiday sweater can set a tone. It can even be a metaphor for how “itchy” those annoying family members make your character feel. It can be a metaphor for how bothered your hero always is, in addition to bringing your reader into the scene with you.
Details engage our other senses, including touch, smell, and sound. They seem insignificant, but they can make a world more real, place your reader into the protagonist’s shoes, and even set a tone for a scene or a book.
Hair and sweaters seem small, but if used right they can elevate your writing.
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