13 totally normal tips on feeling slightly happier when the world is falling apart
Life is tough. The world is complicated. For a multitude of diverse reasons. Some big, some small. Different but important for each of us. Your tax return is due. The icecaps are melting. Vampires still haven’t been proven to exist yet. You can’t afford your rent. Sharks are still getting a bad rep. Your boss is sexist. It’s cold.
You’ve got thrush. Again. Race discrimination is still incredibly rife. You need to see a doctor. Men on tinder can be horrible. Your life is falling apart. The heating is broken. You feel a darkness at the pit of your stomach. You can’t orgasm. Insomnia. Heart palpitations. Anxiety. WHY ARE YOU STILL GETTING THRUSH?
You hate your body. Your laptop has deleted your latest essay edits. You feel lonely. No one seems to like you. The last episode of Sherlock was disappointing. You feel trapped. Your mother is sending you passive aggressive text messages with ellipsis in them...
The list goes on.
There are millions of articles out there about how to feel better in the world. A lot of these articles state sensible things: turn your phone off, stop reading the news late at night, stop comparing yourself to other people, do meditation, get counselling, eat Kale, ping yourself with elastic bands, have a cold shower, have you considered buying crystals? etc.
Most of us know the sensible paths, but these don’t always work. I won’t go into my own list of neurosis, but trust me when I say I have tried lots of different strategies to help with my own life turds of despair.
One thing I have become aware of is the lack of conversation around the idea that embracing being silly, stupid and childish can get you through a lot more adult crap than you realise. I try to make myself laugh as much as possible, and I have learnt that being silly can exorcise a huge amount of stress that may not eradicate all of my issues, but makes them slightly less impossible to face.
Without further ado, here are some of my favourite (and totally tested) tips on how to feel happier on your own and with others when you feel like the whole world is falling apart.
WARNING: Some of these offer no use in the real adult world
1. Learn about Owls*
No one is more interesting than that guy who will randomly tell you on the bus that “Owls make no noise when they fly because their feathers break turbulence into smaller currents”.
2. Putting clothes on can be boring
It’s part of the rules of being grown up and, often, during the week these clothes are not that great. Adult clothes lack capes, they instead involve sensible shoes and grey underpants. If I was in charge of clothes, I would enforce that the government give ALL ADULTS a pair of trainers that light up when you walk in them.
Sadly, I’m not prime minister yet, so make your morning routine more risky by trying to get dressed to the beat of the music, ideally to the beat of Tiga’s ‘Shoes’ song (or anything faster than one of those mopey singer-songwriter-songs like Bon Iver, Ed Sheeran or that bloke who ruined a perfectly good Robyn song).
3. Google pictures of Elton John wearing sunglasses
4. Find a friend
A child you know (it’s crucial that you know the child), or a neighbour, invite them over, and practice learning the Parent Trap handshake. Not only will this involve you focusing and being in the moment - it involves good old fashioned interaction. Also, once you have learnt it, you can then show it off to everyone you know; luckily the movements coincide well with the beat of most contemporary pop songs.
5. When you are putting your bed sheets on, climb into one and pretend to be a ghost
But don’t do what I did and then genuinely frighten yourself, have a panic attack and run into a door.
6. Body insecure? Have a ‘Cellulite Party’
Either with flatmates, family or whoever you feel. Wear your pants and t-shirts and just wobble around your bedroom together. It may involve someone crying, but it can be cathartic. Also, if you are on your own, get body paint and colour in the dimpled bits so you turn into a literal creation of a Fauve painting. Then get some paper and create your own body art. Like the grown-up equivalent of finger painting when you were seven.
7. If you have a partner, ask them if you can drop your boobs on their head and wobble them about
There is no need to explain why this isn’t fun.
8. Personify all the furniture in your home and give it a past life
My bed is called Bertha and, in my head, she speaks like Miriam Margolyes. I also have two huge suitcases: one is called Nanny Boulder and the other is called Nanny Squeak. Nanny Squeak has a wonky leg and Nanny Boulder weighs 23kg without clothes. Personifying them makes me calmer when I’m sweatily trying to lug them up stairs on the underground.
9. Any time you have an opportunity to, draw a penis on something
And I don’t just mean ‘a cock and two balls’ I mean, REALLY go into depth and draw a penis. Be as artistic as you want. If you’ve never seen a penis before, just imagine what would happen if you accidentally slammed a hockey stick in a car door and then torched it slightly with a Bunsen burner. There you go, that’s what they look like.
10. Squash your face into as many big pieces of bread as possible
The texture feels like an expensive duvet. ‘Squash’ is a great word, isn’t it? That and ‘Sasquatch’. Say them out loud now. It’s good, isn’t it?
11. If you feel really bad, go to the park and sit on some swings
Being in motion helps with whatever life is throwing at you. Unless it is travel sickness.
12. If you’re able to, visit a Gallery and play ‘Scavenger Hunt with a friend**
13. Read about the Greek Gods
We don’t learn about them enough and if you feel boring or feel like you have nothing interesting to say on a date, try talking about that time Dionysus turned the sea into wine and a group of sailors into Porpoises.
So, there you go! These things might not change the world, but if they help change yours slightly and make you smile more, then it’s worth it.
*Did you know that Owls have three eyelids?
** Scavenger Hunt rules: One of you enters the gallery first. Once you find a painting/exhibit you like, text your friend a clue about what you’re looking at, and then move on. Do this for each painting/exhibit you see and like. Your friend will then follow your path and try and find the exact route you have taken. They get a point for each painting/exhibit they guess correctly. It’s a grown-up activity with a sense of haste; make your clues as cryptic as possible. Whoever gets the most points at the end of the trip gets to draw a penis on a postcard and send it to the other persons work address.
Written by Elf Lyons. Elf is a comedian, writer and performance maker.