I don’t know exactly when it started, probably with my latest existential crisis, but I have been thinking quite a lot about what makes me feel like I’ve had a good day and what doesn’t. This has become increasingly important for me since my one of my favorite definitions of happiness is “many good days and a few bad ones”, or something like that.
Spending time with people that make me feel good
It’s the one that has the most profound effect on me and is particularly important because I wasn’t even aware of the effect that people had in my internal state until very recently.
Love is the thing that lifts me up like nothing else. Whether it’s my better half, my family or friends, spending time with my favorite people is the #1 thing that creates a good day. It’s taking me a very long time to fully appreciate and embrace this but I’m getting better. One thing that has really helped me is that I’ve been super fortunate to spend a significant amount of time with a very close child, and it’s taught me or maybe reminded me) what unconditional love is. The way children love is the way we should all love. It’s incredible. When I was little my dad used to tell me that he learned more from me more than I could from him, and I never believed him —What could I have possibly taught him?— Now I understand.
Another very valuable thing I get from people is knowledge. I can’t stop learning and doing so with people I appreciate is another fountain of positive energy for me. I really enjoy spending time with people that don’t have anything to do with my world and see what their life and perspective on things are like. That’s why I love meeting new people, whether in real life or on interview podcasts, they teach me things I don’t know I don’t know, and that gets me super fired up.
One more really good thing that I get from people is laughter. Like sex, it’s great when done with other people and just ok when alone. For a while, I think I was probably prioritizing other types of serious matters and leaving this one aside, but it’s crazy what a good session of jokes and pure fun with people can do to you. I’m trying to surround myself more and more with people that know how to do it properly and learn from them. I’m rediscovering and improving my social skills and I’m just pumped about the effect it’s having on me.
As opposed to the previous one, this one I’ve pretty much always known about and relied on. For as long I can remember, I’ve always done some sort of physical activity a few times a week and it’s always been more about the way it makes me feel than the exercise itself. Running and lifting weights have always been my top two, although I’m trying to get into more group activities so that I spend more time with people, which multiplies the effects. (people + exercise = joy)
If I exercise early in the morning, it needs to be low-to-medium intensity, otherwise it will take away too much energy for the rest of the day. I also hate doing it early. My favorite time to work out is in the early afternoon, especially after an intense morning of work. When I come out of it, it’s like a new day has just started. I feel again full of energy and positivism for the afternoon and evening. If I can’t do it then or maybe I’ve had a shitty day, one thing I usually do is run at night. I love doing it in low-light spots like parks or trails. My brain doesn’t get distracted by what’s around me and it’s pumped-up from the exercise so I’m in this kind of positive dreaming state which makes me generally feel super happy and relaxed.
Exercise is so easy it almost feels like cheating. If you exercise you will feel better. It’s that simple.
Good work provides me with a different type of satisfaction and good feeling. Every task done or problem solved feels like getting a little drop of joy into mind and body, as opposed to exercising or some time with loved ones, which is more like a whole bucket of it at once. But enough of those drops and it will end up being just as good.
The thing though is that work is the most difficult for me to do and my brain never wants to get started. I planned to finish writing this post yesterday but instead, I almost cleaned the whole house, went grocery shopping and spent two hours fixing a bicycle. I struggle to find the time and commit to doing work outside of my job but when I do it, oh boy.
That’s it! This is kinda how I think about my well being. Do one of them and feel good, do a couple and feel great, check off the three and feel amazing. Then repeat for as many days as you can.
Can it be that simple?