Hello, Hola, Hi!
Mental health is a true issue in this world. We all know too many depressed/stressed/angry/etc persons, don't we? So... how about a way to feel happier, more emotionally stable, feeling more inner peace, following our hearts and behaving a more human way?
Here, I will try to explain in the simplest and most concise way as possible what I have understood of both what makes us unhappy, and how to stop it.
If you don't know what I will explain here yet and if I succeed in my explanation, this should result for you in a complete new (and way better!) way to experience your life.
All of that can be read in books about psychology, philosophy or spiritual teachings, written even before you and I were born. I'm not the inventor of all of that nor a psychologist, a magician or a unicorn, but just a "light seeker", a simple guy who genuinely loves all beings and who dreams of the idea of humans being happy.
One of the main reasons I'm writing this is that I have never found a really simple, short and from scratch explanation about all of that. Books on the subject can be hard/long to read and understand, plus, they never really begin from square one, so I thought it could be great to write this short text and share it as a gratefulness for the liberation it brought me to learn those things since i started to.
I wish, and am pretty sure that this "essay on happiness", as I like to call it, can help many persons to initiate a positive change in their lives. That being said, I of course invite you to take the time to check if those things seem coherent for you, perhaps by being what I call "a smart sceptical", by trying to apply this lifestyle sometimes and see if things are better, the same or worst than with the usual, mind-guided way to live.
I'm still a searcher, and am always interested in new finds and points of views about all of that so for those who would like to discuss, correct or improve this explanation, feel free to contact me.
Enjoy the reading! :)
1. Have you ever paid attention to your thoughts?
Everybody have thoughts. Like... a lot of thoughts! But have you noticed that those thoughts are mostly composed of: rehashing past memories, imagining a imaginary future that will never happen exactly as we thought they will, and judging situations, people and things?
In short: most of our thoughts are useless. And... not just useless, but they are also very often nocive!
2. Thinking too much is bad for you!
Simply put: We hurt ourselves by thinking too much!
We have useful thoughts, like « Ok, I have to repair my car, I need those tools to do so », but most of the time we just unnecessary think about the past and the future.
Look, whatever you think about:
• A past & positive memory:
« It was so cool when I was with this friend on the beach, I was so happy that day... »
You unconsciously compare this situation to what you are currently experiencing and basically say that this moment was better, and that now is not as good.
• A past & negative memory:
« Oh, I was so sad that day when I lost my favorite toy... », « I miss this person so much... », « I am so angry about this person for doing this... »
Have you noticed that you are thinking about a toy that you don't have currently? You had it by the past, ok, but now, you just don't have it! Why still think about it then? It's useless and just makes you sad to think about it. What you are doing here is that you voluntary recreate the bad emotional context and the bad feelings you had during this event or thing that have happened in the past. But it's in the past, and have no longer existence or influence on what is happening right now. So why voluntary create self suffering, hum?
• A future & negative event:
« If I miss my exam I will be so sad, my parents will blame me, etc etc... »
Here, you invent a scenario that will inevitably be wrong, because the reaction of your parents, even if they will blame you for real (which is not sure!), will be at least partially different of what you believe it will. Same thing for the exact feeling that you will have if that happens, you are not even sure either if you will feel sadness, anger, liberation, indifference or whatever, the only sure thing is that the feeling will also be at least a little bit different of how you think it will be in your thoughts. Don't be scared, don't plan on failing, creating disappointment or whatever for something you haven't even done yet, I bet you can't tell why this could be important to do so! ;-)
• A future & positive event:
« I will be so much happier when I'll have my diploma, this watch, this job, or when I'll have a lover... »
You can imagine yourself winning the lottery or whatever, it appears to feel good to think about it, but the truth is when you do that, you just again basically compare this possible feeling to your current experience of the "now" and consider that you aren't as happy as you could be "if...". And once again, in any case, the feeling you'll have if this thing happens (which is not sure!) will always be at least a bit different of what you imagined! So? Yeah, you got it: those thoughts are also useless.
« We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens. » — Epictetus
3. What are happiness and sadness?
Sadness is a feeling that we experience when something is not like we would like to be. In other words, when we would like something to be different of what we are currently experiencing. Ok with that? Take the time to see if it applies to a few sad moments of your life if you need...
You will find it funny (or maybe provoking) to hear, but face it: because we create the wish of something different of what we are currently experiencing, we can easily say that we (or at least, our mental) create our own sadness!
In the other hand, happiness is a feeling that we experience when everything is fine, not "the way we want it to be", no, but when things are just really great this way, so great, in fact, that we just enjoy how those things are now, without even the idea or wish to modify them! We don't even think « It could be even better if... » when we are truly happy, isn't it true?
4. Think less, be in the moment, accept it as it is!
You can always invent another life and say "if only..." and imagine that things could be better "if" but it's a total illusion. No one wants to live through an illusion, right? The truth is: how things are now can't be another way. It's just how they are. End of the story!
Happiness doesn't have to depend of something external (a lover, a god, a job, a status, possessions, success, ...), we can be happy right now and that, anytime just by accepting and enjoying the present moment how it is. The true happiness can't be under conditions "When I'll have this/When this will happen", if we do that, that means that we miss the joy of living right now. And we all know that when we have finally bought this new "incredible thing that is supposed to make us happy" or have done this "project of our life": quickly after that, our Ferrari just becomes our car and we want something else in order to be "even more happier"! Incredible how our minds are messing with us...
You probably now want to know what are you supposed to do, and it's pretty simple: everything one has to do is something... that we just have to stop doing! To stop having so many useless thoughts and wishes to modify how the present moment is, and just accept it the way it is. Why not just say « Ok, how things are now are this way, and can't be another way » and enjoy it just the way they are instead of always wishing something else? The present moment is, has always been and will always be the exact way it is.
If it's raining, well, you can't change the weather, right? So instead of saying « Oh, it sucks and it would be better if it was sunny » and calling it a « bad » weather, you can just stop to have different expectations and say « Ok, now it's raining » without judging the weather: it won't change anyway. You can use an umbrella though. ;-)
The fact to think and imagine how things could be if the weather was different is a complete waste of time, it's useless because any scenario that your mind will invent will be either totally wrong, or at least slightly different from what you thought when those things will really happen. It's just your imagination and nothing will be the exact way you thought. And that makes us sad, because that means we consider ourselves as not happy enough currently.
The more you accept the things, the more you will feel in peace. And the day you can even accept your own death... well, you're good!
Even your own failures, bad behaviours, etc, have to be treated with acceptance, love and compassion. Don't feel guilty, stupid or anything because you did something wrong. It's already done anyway and can't be undone! Just notice how you have behaved and what feeling you had because of this thing you did and try to be a better person next time if you think you could do better... treat yourself with kindness.
Now, have you noticed that in some moments of our lives, we naturally stop to think? Here are a few exemples among many others:
- When we put something really, really delicious in our mouth which is so good that instead of just « filling in our belly quickly so we're done being hungry » we are just focusing on the taste, the texture in our mouth, the smell, ...
- When we climb up a mountain, and we are like blissful watching this spectacular landscape we have from up there... just for a few seconds in general, before our mind comes and says « Hey, let's take a picture and Instagram that! » and then we miss the present moment!
- If you practice extreme sports, or even if you don't, you can imagine that if you are doing backflips on a bike or jumping from a building to do a base jump, you need to focus so much on what you do that I guess you are not thinking about your next meeting tomorrow...
- When we... make love! Maybe not like a porn star thinking about performances etc, but when we do it naturally with a really beloved one, fully feeling the skin of our partner, his/her smell, the pleasure itself, the beating of his/her heart, etc... in such moments, we are usually not thinking about our shopping tomorrow or if you looked nice in front of your next employer today during an interview. Apart from the carnal pleasure, isn't it one of the reasons of why people love to do that, hum?
During all those moments, we are "in the moment" and not in the past nor in the future. Now, don't you think these are among the best moments of our lives? :-)
The correlation between happiness/sadness and the time we live in is just... huge! It's like the key to happiness, a key that we all have not in our pocket (we don't even need pants to be happy!), but in ourselves, whatever you are a child, an adult, European or South-American, blind, with just one arm or with a (so called) perfect body, with a child/job/lover/house or not!
"I could tell you my adventures — beginning from this morning," said Alice a little timidly; "but it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." — Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Now (what a great word!), let's see what can you do to be more in the present moment/in the now/conscious and less in your thoughts/mind/illusions.
« Your life situation may be full of problems — most life situations are — but find out if you have any problem at this moment. Not tomorrow or in ten minutes, but now. Do you have a problem now? » — Eckhart Tolle
5. Now, drop your anchor in the now.
There are many ways to anchor yourself in the present moment. You can, at anytime, stop thinking about (and living in) the past and the future.
« Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. […] The present moment is all you ever have. There is never a time when your life is not "this moment". Is this not a fact? » — Eckhart Tolle
The most simple tool, which also offers tons of benefits for both our mental and physical health is certainly the practice of meditation; If you don't know it already, I let you google "benefits of meditation", you will be surprised! I know, this can sounds a bit hippy, but what if hippies were right, after all? Aren't they sort of an icon of happiness, bliss and joy of living? Or maybe, you had the image of a zen buddhist monk, surrounded by flowers, trees and birds, in a beautiful buddhist temple. Seems far from your expectations of happiness? If yes, the good news is that you don't even need to change what's in your wardrobe to be happy.
« Have you ever sat very quietly with closed eyes and watched the movement of your own thinking? Have you watched your mind working? Or rather, has your mind watched itself in operation, just to see what your thoughts are, what your feelings are, how you look at the trees, at the flowers, at the birds, at people, how you respond to a suggestion or react to a new idea? Have you ever done this? » — Jiddu Krishnamurti
Meditation is pretty simple. You don't need to follow strict rules or anything: just sit on the ground over a small pillow in a comfortable position, you can also land in your bed, sit in a sofa of whatever if you prefer. Now, just breath, naturally. Close your eyes, and without modifying it, observe your breath. Instead of thinking about useless things, just focus on your breath, this will be your "anchor" in the present moment. Each time you surprise yourself having a new thought, just notice it « Oh, I just had another thought! » and let it go, like a bird who would fly away, without retaining it. The "goal" is to have as less thoughts as possible... until you have no thoughts at all.
This will not be easily done, but little by little, you will feel better, better and better and will discover complete new rooms in the person you thought you were. Prepare yourself to experience a feeling of happiness that money will never buy, that a lover will never give you, that a god or a job will simply never bring you.
I know, that sounds very weird and if you never meditate, you are certainly doubting that this could be so incredible to feel so good and all of that, by just sitting and breathing. Ok, I can understand how hard it can be to believe... if you have never been in love, listening to someone explaining how is it to be in love will probably just sounds weird or even incredible and you might just think that this person is a bit of a fool. If you already were in love though, you just know what love is because you simply experienced it and felt it for real, you know that this incredible feeling exists for the same reason, and not because someone taught you what love was in a book. See my point? ;-) Then... allow yourself to just give it a try, maybe?
The cool thing with the practice of meditation is that you only need your breath as a tool to help you, and that you will always have your breath with you: in a doctor's waiting room, in a train, on a hike, in your car, at work, ...
You will see that it can be hard to do alone at the beginning because you will always surprise yourself having thoughts, but keep in mind that it's just like any other practice: you need to train before things start feeling easy. The best metaphor I have found so far is this one: If each time that your dog is asking for food when you sit on your table to eat, you ask him to go back to his basket, and be consistent about it, in just a few days, he will always be in his basket when you start eating. If you never take the time to tell him "hey, go to your basket!", he will never do it. If you tell him just sometimes, once every 3 or 5 days, he will not obey very well. Consistency is the key. Even just for a short moment, meditation must be done every day to feel its full benefits.
I will not detail how to meditate here but just give you a few quick advices if that can help:
- You can find guided meditations on YouTube and Internet in general for free. Just audio tracks that guide you through your meditations. Try different ones of them and keep the ones you like the most, maybe. You can even search something like "guided meditation 20 minutes" for instance, if you only want to allow it 20 minutes.
- There are some iOS and Android smartphone/tablet apps for that, those can really help you too!
- If you live in a big city, you can certainly find grouped meditation classes, which are really cool too, though they can be hard to follow if you are a total beginner!
- Google about it, or buy a book if you want, maybe you'll find good advices.
- But first of all: practice it, because that worth hundreds of readings!
Meditation is an awesome tool, but you can be in the present moment not only by focusing on your breath in the lotus position with no noise around you, no, you can live "now" anytime! While driving, walking, listening to music, washing your hands, ... don't wash them while thinking about what you will do next. Wash your hands, you are just doing that now, nothing more! Take the time to feel the water on your hands, the touch sensation of your fingers against each others, the slippy feeling of the soap on your skin, the temperature of the water, ... you can then feel the texture of the metal when you close the tap. This is the basis of the practice of "Mindfulness" meditation.
Let me give you a metaphor: if you're watching a movie but instead of following what is happening, you are just "in your thoughts" for a minute, could you say that you really watched the movie? No, you just skipped a scene and have no idea of what just happened in the movie! And... this is the exact same thing with your life! If you miss the details, the sensations, the smells, the noises and all of what you are living right now, sorry, but you are not living: you are missing what you are living! Yes, that is a harsh fact!
Not only during meditation but all along the day, if you surprise yourself having thoughts, you can just notice them and say « Oh, I just got some thoughts again! »... and then let them fade away, the same way they came! Just that, no judgment, don't feel guilty or anything, but just let them go. The more you practice meditation in any of its forms, the more you will naturally do that here and there in your days.
A really interesting exercise to do is to close your eyes (to not be disturbed), stop all you current thoughts, focus on your breath for just two or three seconds, then ask yourself « What will be my next thought? », and wait until this next thought comes. Be extremely watchful while you wait for it to come!
Have you done it? If not, just do it, it only takes a few seconds.
You will notice that your thoughts can take a little moment to come... and you will also notice that while you were waiting for your thoughts to come (in other words, while having no thoughts), you were feeling good. :-)
6. The ego
The ego, the mental, the mind, the thoughts, the thinker, the little voice in your head, the character, I/me ... we can call it lots of different ways, and it's a really important notion to understand, because it will help you to solve the failings of your mental health.
« What a liberation to realise that the "voice in my head" is not who I am. "Who am I, then?". The one who sees that. » — Eckhart Tolle
When you tell yourself « I told myself », have you ever noticed that there is a "I" and a "myself" in this question? It's like one entity, that talks to another one... all that, in yourself. Weird, right? Not that weird, in fact...
« The fact that man produced a concept "I" besides the totality of his mental and emotional experiences or perceptions does not prove that there must be any specific existence behind such a concept. » Albert Einstein
With a bit of practice maybe, chances are that during meditation, you will feel that you are not just a name, an age, a job, a parent, a story, the owner of material possessions etc... those are just the top part of the iceberg, but you are something wider: a presence, a consciousness, an observer, a soul, ... whatever you call it.
Those things that we usually consider being "our life" are, in fact, our "life conditions". When you identify yourself as those "life conditions", you are no more your true self (a consciousness), but you become a "character" and your vision is extremely limited under this condition. Your mental makes you think that you are those life conditions and that you must protect them if you want (if your ego wants) to survive at any cost, because they are what you are and that without it, you are null, you don't exist, which is an illusion.
« The good news is if you can recognise illusion as illusion it dissolves. » Eckhart Tolle
I invite you to try another exercise, maybe during your next meditation session as it will be easier, but you can still try it "just like that": close your eyes, and please put aside everything you think you are for a while. You are no more a man or a woman, no more a profession, a religious person, you have no more age or name, no more possessions, no relatives nor friends, ... try to feel how is it if you are nothing of all that, but just a living being, nothing more, absolutely nothing more!
If you did it seriously, again, you will certainly feel really good and congratulations, you just felt who you really are!
If your thoughts came and said "Hey, no, what are you doing!? I want to keep my possessions, my roles, my body etc, this is who I am!!", it's great too, that means you just observed your mental working, which is a great first step: you just felt the existence of this "little voice in your head" as a part of you, instead of living with the usual belief that you are this little voice in your head!
Your ego is that part of you. This "me/I" who wants to exist and survivre, who needs to prove that it exists and that, at all costs, even if its reactions will badly affect your relationships, your experiences, etc...
By the way, your "story", all the bad things that happened to you, all your "failures" or disappointments, doesn't have such an influence on you today. Whatever happened in the past : was in the past. Your ego loves to complain though (face it!) and those "bad things" are great arguments to do so. But you really don't need to keep carrying all those things on your back now, it's purely useless and even though I know how hard it can be to do so: just drop that bag of your stories right now, wherever you are, and continue your way without it! You will never miss it, and will love how light you will feel to continue your journey through life! :)
We'll get back to that a bit later...
« Awake. Be the witness of your thoughts. You are what observes, not what you observe. » — Buddha
When it comes to take a decision, we all had this experience of having an instinctive idea of what to do, an idea that comes from deep in our body, just like that, before having the time to think about it! Then, our mind starts to think about it and tells us to do another way, and we follow what our mind told us to do... in the end, we feel that the final decision was bad and that we should have trusted our instinct instead of thinking too much about it!
Let's take another case: someone tells you something unpleasant. By the way, maybe it was not this person's intention, but your ego made a projection and interpret it "the victime's way" because it often works this way... so your ego feels aggressed and immediately reacts: you are vexed/angry and tell something mean in return! Depending of your personality, maybe you will say nothing, feel deeply hurt and keep that inside yourself then cry later when you will be alone, or maybe you are already planning a revenge and worst, if you are the nervous kind, perhaps already having your fist ready to hit! Isn't it crazy? What if, instead, we could have a more human reaction and calmly ask this person if he/she was aware of being mean to you? In a lot of cases, the fact to talk peacefully resolves the problem, this person will probably say « Oh, I wasn't aware of that, I should have not said that this way, yes, I understand that it can sounds mean and I am sorry! » ... and it will be ok! If your reaction is to immediately yell at this person, chances are high that this will take a long moment before you restore peace, with a chance that both of you will keep a bit of anger against each others that will come back sooner or later! This is what we can call an ego-based behaviour.
« Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. » — Buddha
Your ego is also what emits what we call our "resistances". If you read this page in the right order, while reading the part about meditation, maybe you thought something like « What, meditation? No, that's not for me, I don't need this, I don't have the time for this, I have more important things to do! ». If that's the case, congratulations, you just spotted both your ego in work, and an exemple of your resistances!
It will be really important to be watchful the next time you will feel angry, stressed, blessed, sad etc. It's a perfect opportunity to see that it's not "you" who is angry/stressed/blessed. It's not your true self! As soon as you notice that, try to stop being your ego and to be what observes instead: the wide consciousness behind your ego. Suddenly, you are not the one who is sad, angry or anything, you are just the observer of your ego feeling blessed, angry, ... and you will quickly see that when you do that, because you are no longer this sadness or anger, it strongly (or even maybe entirely) looses impact on you and you will feel detached about a situation or event that you might have felt in a terrible way before! The reason is that when you do that, you stop identifying yourself as your ego and the pain is no more affecting you in your entire, but just your ego. It will take some practice before that, but at some point, you will not say « I am sad » anymore, because you will not be sad anymore, you will be able to feel the sadness in you, but will not identify as a sad person. You will be able to react clearer and will stop having ego-based behaviours, like being agressive when someone is a bit mean with you and such things and your relationships will clearly improve. The more you do that, the more you will note and feel how simple it is to stop being sad, and in deduction, how simple it is to be happy!
« The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self. » — Albert Einstein
7. Your body knows it better than your mind.
You certainly already heard popular sayings like "having a knot in our stomach" or "feeling heavy" and felt those things, too. Why, in your opinion? Well... our body is, of course, directly connected to our mind.
« What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. » — Oliver Wendell Holmes
If you have doubts about that, you can take a moment to try this little exercise. Two, actually. Close your eyes and:
- Think about someone you really don't feel comfortable with, a former colleague, teacher, friend maybe... imagine yourself in presence of this person and stay with that for a little minute. Then, focus on your body: how are you feeling? Light? Heavy? Flabby? Hard? Maybe you can have images that comes to you, or feelings like instability, movement, warmth or cold, ...
- Let that fade away... and now, do the same with a person that you really really like. Imagine yourself sitting together on a bench in a park, or at the table of a bar, and do the same. The felt sense in your body will probably be really different.
Sometimes our body tells us what to do or not. You think about eating carrots, and your body makes you feel that, hum, well... no, that's not what you really want now. Why would you force your body to eat those carrots you don't want to?
If someone tells you « Oh, I feel really tired! », you will probably suggest him to have a nap or to go to sleep, right? Then why do people prefer to drink coffee or worst, energy drinks? That's not really a kind thing to do to your inoffensive body that just wanted to let you know how to do good for you! :-)
« Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. » — Steve Jobs
I guess that you know a lot of these people, maybe you are even one of them, who are constantly busy, they never stop doing things, keeping their mind busy to feel alive! They say « I didn't even had the time to breath today! » and in fact, they simply just didn't took the time to live that day! Isn't it totally insane!? Chances are that, at some point, they will sort of "explode", and will really, really need to stay in bed for 48 hours straight or something! And it's not surprising.
I once read a line in a book about meditation that I will never forget. As a musician, it made a big impression on me, but it will speak to you in any case. It said something like:
« The same way a musician regularly needs to stop playing and tune up his instrument if he wants to keep playing in tune, we, too, sometimes need to take a break in order to live harmoniously. » — Christophe André
It might seem weird or even pointless to do that, maybe it's because no one taught us to feel what's inside our body at school, the same way nobody neither taught us to unconditionally love ourselves and I guess that really rare are the parents who encouraged their children to do so. The good news is it isn't too late. It's just now up to you to take the time to truly feel yourself, and this is a work that no one else can do for you.
By the way, you have to know that many psychotherapy techniques suggests to find answers in your body. You can observe but also interact with your body's feelings, your felt sense, and access to a lot of informations on yourself through your body. It's a wide opened door on your unconscious, which is the most viable source of true answers and an amazing source of inspiration for creative people!
« Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. » — Carl G. Jung
8. Things you can do to be happier
Be yourself is a very, very important thing! Keep that in mind: whatever you will do or say, wherever you go, whoever you talk to, however you dress etc, everyone will always have something to think about it. So don't try to avoid their judgments and comments, this would just be a real waste of time and energy.
It doesn't mean "be a jerk and do shit", it simply means "do whatever feels right to you"... killing or robbing someone will never feel right to you!
If going for a walk alone in the woods feels more right to you than going to your cousin's wedding where you simply don't want to go (for whatever reason), then go to the woods and be happy, it will be the problem of others if they aren't happy about it! :)
Whatever you don't match their expectations of intelligence, style, sexual orientation, skin colour, religious beliefs (or any personal beliefs in general), don't try to be different from what you are to please them; you will not be able to please everyone at the same time anyway. Plus, you help no one if you do that, neither that person, nor you! Because people don't have to love you "under condition" that you are this way, look like that, are doing this or that... the true love can only be unconditional, which means without any condition. It's impossible to say "I will love this person if"... it's just wrong!
So if someone truly (unconditionally) loves you, that means that they will naturally respect you and your choices, and love you for who you really are, not for the fact that you can match their expectations. So... do you want to be loved for who you are, or for a role you can play?
« The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. » — Thomas Merton
If some stuff can be hard to treat by yourself and could need the help of a competent psychotherapist, you can do certain accessible things that are basically simple self-therapy activities to work on yourself.
I observed many people trying to escape their sadness and bad feelings in general. To escape that, they try to keep their mind busy watching some dumb shit on TV, play stupid video games, drink alcohol, do drugs, be rude to anyone, or whatever... and they say "I don't want to talk about it". Ok, let's make things clear: this just cannot be a solution. The day your roof has a little hole in it, what should you do? Do we agree that stopping your daily life stuff and taking the needed time to fix this hole before it becomes bigger sounds like a possible good idea?
Once you have understood the principle of "calming your mind" (after a bit of meditation, certainly), you will now be able to connect with your feelings much more, without following all the bullshit produced by your thoughts. That should allow you to use any creativity activity as a self-therapeutical one. Yes, free psychotherapy at home, 24/24 and 7/7, yayyy!!
For instance, and again, by being fully connected to your feelings and without "thinking" about what you are actually doing, you can make :
- Free drawing. You don't need to know how to draw. Just draw some random abstract lines on your paper sheet without thinking about what you're doing... just let express your feelings in the form of lines on a paper, with no expectations of having a "good looking final result", no, you just draw the lines that feel right to you to express your feelings.
- Free dancing. You don't need to know how to dance. Just put some music and without thinking about what you're doing, just move your body the way that feels right to you, while staying connected to your feelings... your movements can be very slow or very fast, you can roll on the ground or jump in the air, adopt weird postures or anything, it's fine, as soon as you totally let your body do the movement it wants to express your feelings, instead of trying to do something "coherent and beautiful"!
- Free writing. Take a paper sheet and a pencil, or just your smartphone or whatever, and write whatever you want, don't think about it, just write and if in the middle of a sentence you are already thinking about something else, well, just stop the previous thing and continue with the new-current one. Again, we are not seeking for coherence or poetry, but just to express your feelings! this exercise seems super-dumb, useless and too easy, but is very powerful if well done!
- Free singing. Ok, that can be annoying if you have neighbours or if you have some people around, but you can use your voice to let express how you feel... with words, or just sounds, both will work the same. Allow yourself to say/sing how you feel, just for yourself... you don't need to sing super loud, you can do it very low as well!
These activities are pretty simple to do, are free and can really help you to feel better! You can find many other ones like that, by the way.
You certainly understood that the main goal is to observe and then fully express your feelings. In other words, to recognise/consider them and treat them. Do it with kindness. You totally have the right to be sad, angry, or whatever. Be empathic with yourself, forgive yourself and don't hesitate to tell you how good you are... all by yourself, you can be the help you could need from someone else to feel better, don't hesitate to allow yourself to try to do that!
There are plenty of good things to do to help yourself being happier, and to work on your fears, resistances, troubles of any kind and i will not detail them all here. Just a last advice maybe... the basic stuff applies too: sleeping enough, eating well and healthy (fast food and sugar are now proven to induce depression), going out, seeing friends or meeting new ones... take good care of yourself, you will be the first one to feel how good it feels! :)
« Know thyself. » — One of the oldest aphorisms
If you want to go further...
We live great century, with so much accessible knowledge on the internet and that, for free. You will be able to find a lot of pages to read and videos to watch if you want to know more about this "lifestyle".
If all that sounds right to you and made yourself curious to know more about it, you can simply search for the most recurring words I've been using on this page on Google or YouTube.
You can check for a few books with the best rates on Amazon, even though I encourage you to buy them from a more ethical place, like any of your local libraries can be. Nowadays they all have a lot of books about meditation, well-being, self growth...
Readings are great, but most of all, don't forget that there is nothing better than practice. You can read a thousand books on "how to drive a car", if you never drove one, chances are lower for you to be a pilot. Be the pilot of your life now, stop being a slave of your thoughts and quit the "autopilot" mode. Be aware, live in the present moment. Be, just "be" instead of doing! Feel yourself living and don't forget to notice when you have thoughts or when your behaviour is guided by your ego...
I have nothing more for you. Nothing to sell, nothing to ask, I just genuinely wish you to be happy, to awake, to be able to understand things that could allow you to work on yourself and be always happier and in peace, to live in the present moment more often and start experiencing what really living is!
Take really good care of yourself and have a wonderful day! :)