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Being Happy #2 - Surroundings

24 September 2013

There are a few different areas the idea of 'surroundings' can relate to - the first being your physical surroundings. I'll be quite honest and say my room's a mess, in terms of both décor and... well, mess. I've never really cared for colour schemes or had a feng-shui-less-is-more type of attitude - I love colour and I've collected a shedload of ornaments/posters/presents over the years that I still have on display now. 

Many a year ago, I painted (terribly) a car shaped piggy bank which was then glazed to look all proper and professional, at a place called Cornwall Pearl. We'd go to Cornwall every year with all of my dad's side of the family, and I painted a few items along the years including a sandwich plate my nan still uses to this day, and the car is just a constant reminder of the good times we had. The beach was always my happy place and I've also got a lot of beach paraphernalia and postcards everywhere. I've also got photographs from days out and my trip to Malawi up on the wall, and collages made by my friends for my birthday a couple of years ago. At the start of the year I bought a corkboard and some pins and called it my '2013 memory board,' and when something amazing happened or was going to happen I put it on the board. Some of the things have unfortunately fallen off, don't fit, or are elsewhere in my bedroom, but it's a great thing to look at and think, you know, I've had a great year, and there's still a few months of it to go.

My room, is also full of colour - as you can see I have bright(ish) blue walls, and they are covered in posters, postcards and photographs. I also have 2 big campervan canvases that are very colourful, as well as a LOT more beach-related images.

I'm not just bragging about my bedroom, there is a point to my ramblings - I'm surrounded by a lot of things that make me happy. I've obviously been working on it for a while, and I've probably gone just a little overboard but there's nothing stopping you from implementing this into your own life. There are cheap and easy ways to do so, from buying cheap yet amazing ornaments and niknaks from eBay, markets or charity shops, that may bring back some memories, to printing some photos and buying a few photo frames from Poundland. You could even find some material and make your own throws or cushion covers... all of these things that could just add a splash of colour and sentiment into a room can add a bit of light to each day...

I felt nervous when I started my first job back in May, and a simple thing such as buying my own memo block and a cool mouse mat to use, and taking a couple of the photos of my friends from my room, were more than enough to calm my nerves, and once I'd overcome that, were just nice things to have near me on a daily basis, the photos would make me smile in the morning, when I was usually just, tired and cranky.

I asked a couple of my friends how they use the things around them to stay happy:

'I hate my wall paper as I never got the chance to redecorate my room so as a teenager, so I thought I'd just cover my walls in posters and pictures. If I had to pick my two favourite things from it I'd have to say my friend collage, as I can see our happy faces and relive the memories, and my dream catchers. Dream catchers are my favourite thing in the world, and I thank my nan so much for buying me my first one, and they always make me think of her.

Another thing I love in my room is my Jewellery box. It's not used as one any more, I mostly use it as more of a memory box. Whenever anyone gives me something that could be something sentimental or silly; for example I have a little Haribo heart sweet which a friend gave to me a couple of years back with the message 'never lose my heart,' I keep it in there so its safe.'

- Sara, @SmilePiper

"You've got to look out for what makes you happy, and a lot of that time, I feel it's down to memories. If you've got happy memories and you take a moment to reflect and flashback to them, it can brighten up any day. I have a 'pot of dreams' which I use to put anything good that has happened in my life, so I know they're always there and safe if I'm ever feeling low enough to need them"

- Nathan, @__Nathan

Another part of the 'surroundings' subject is the people. This could be your family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues or even people you see regularly down the pub. It's pretty obvious to say that there will be people you don't like, but will have to interact with on a day to day basis, but by focusing on the people that you do like, it'll keep you more positive in the long run. It may sound pretty simple but there's a lot of people who'll spend a good chunk of time worrying/seething over a person they don't like, than spending that time talking to or thinking about someone they do like. Even if you spend the time talking to someone you like about the knob, it's better than just thinking in your head, as it will become more light-hearted. Surrounding yourself with people who have a generally positive outlook on life will end up rubbing off on you too, as opposed to someone who is constantly moody or angry.

Another important factor is to have a great set of friends. Again, pretty obvious, but by having positive friends who will support you and make you smile, you'll feel great. Whether you have 4 friends or 40 friends, as long as you feel safe around them, and can have a laugh, they'll always be able to put a smile on your face. If you have people you care about, you'll feel happy if they're happy, and will do anything you can to cheer them up if they're not.

I asked another couple of friends what they thought about this:

'My mood depends on how people around me are - if they are happy it rubs off on you and its infectious, but if they are sad it can have the same sort of affect. I'll always try my best to keep them happy because when they are happy, I'm happy - its soppy but you know what, I dont care. Also a smile doesnt cost anything so people should stop being moody bastards cos the best things in life are free.'

- Ben, @BenN5293

'How do people around me affect my happiness? I think most of my happiness comes from those close to me. Having a long day or even a great day and looking at your phone and seeing a text, or meeting those special people is one of the best feelings.'

- Pav

Next week, I'll be talking about distractions and hobbies, if you have anything to add to what I've said above, or to contribute to next week's - feel free to leave a comment below!
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