If you're a regular reader of IamKathyB, you will know that I am a fairly jolly human being. There have definitely been crappy times, particularly earlier this year, where I've been consumed by the woes of the world, but ultimately, I fully champion the idea that we should strive to give this planet the best version of ourselves possible and always make a conscious effort to become that little chirpier. After all, life is not a blessing of eternal promise, and unfortunately time is a rascal. It gives no second chances. Every moment spent miserable is a moment of happiness lost.
Whilst there's no magic wand that we can wave to grant ourselves imperishable glee, I do believe that a sizeable chunk of our happiness level is the consequence of personal effort and that there are some things that we can all do to boost it. So folks, welcome to jolly o'clock. It's like Bernard's watch, but better.
Be nice. Every single time you're being nice to someone, you are making a positive difference to the little piece of world around you. You are brightening somebody's day, which in turn will make you feel good. The desire to 'connect' is intrinsic to human nature and being nice allows us to foster that sense of togetherness. So be nice! Smile at strangers. Say please and thank you. Exercise your funny bone and make people chuckle. Tell people how ravishingly beautiful they are. Lend a hand when two hands aren't enough. You know you want to.
Practice the art of forgiveness. Granted, forgiveness isn't always a walk in the park. Sometimes it's not even possible at all. However, all too often grudges are held over the silliest of things; over things that don't even matter to us anymore. How's that for bonkers? Who gives a flying banana if Patrick stole half of your peanut butter sandwich when you were six?! We're all human, and one of the biggest side effects of being human is to make mistakes. If you can find it within your heart to forgive those mistakes, be it those of yourself or others, you'll shake off a lot of negative energy. Give it a go. I dare you.
Treasure the people who make you feel good. People are fine, baffling, awesome creatures. Appreciate them. People who you can be your complete bizarre self around; people who get you and who make time feel like gold dust and who make you laugh until you're a wheezing, hysterical mess...Well, those people really are quite something. Don't ever let them go. They are the ones who will make your life extraordinary.
Dedicate time to cuddling. I bloody love a good cuddle. In fact, I love them so much that only the other day I chased one of my dearest chums around a living room shouting 'touch me!' until she gave in to my enthusiastic embrace. (I know; everybody needs a chum like me.) I'm not saying that you should start chasing your friends around begging them to touch you, but you should definitely indulge in a cuddlefest every now and again. GET YOUR OXYTOCIN OUT, you little rascal.
Find a way to channel negative energy into something positive. Negative energy can be handled in various ways. We can weep or wallow or stay in bed with it for a week eating our weight in biscuits. We can punch people in the face. We can declare that our life is over and that we shall never feel joy again. Or we can try and invest that negativity into something potentially positive. The parts of my novel that I'm most proud of were scrawled during times of hardship. A bad mood, believe it or not, is often creativity's greatest weapon, so go ahead and use it to your advantage. (And eat a few biscuits too if you feel the need. Mine's a custard cream.)
Exercise. To many of us, exercise may seem like an alien concept. To me, it was about as appealing as a date with a rusty spoon. But woah. One day I decided to go wild and get off of my juicy derriere. I moved around a little. I burnt a few calories. I got some boppety tunes involved. And I have never looked back. Regular exercise will make you feel groovy, I promise you. And if you don't believe me, ask those clever sciencey folk.
Chase your dreams. I know, I know. Cheesy, right? And it is cheesy. It's practically Red Leicester. But it is so important. Dreams give your life purpose. Despite what the cynics may tell you, you must never give up on that one thing that means the most to you. And yes, you might have a long way to go. You might have one hell of a challenge on your hands. There might be a whole bunch of people telling you that it's never going to happen. But ultimately, you will be so much happier in the knowledge that you're pursuing what's in your heart. Give yourself the pleasure of trying and the pleasure of accomplishing will never be too far away.
So there we have it; just a few, general ways in which we can live the jollier life. And there are so many other things that we can add to our own tailor-made lists. My list also includes 'do the naked Macarena', 'have a hearty chinwag' and 'eat marmite toast'. What would yours involve? What makes you happy?
Also, I think it's important to remember that it's okay to feel sadness. Life, after all, isn't always a bed of roses. So if you want to have a good cry; have a good cry. But when times are tough, remember; if we're still alive, we still have hope. If we're still alive, there's every chance we'll see the beautiful face of jolly o'clock again. It's like Bernard's watch, but better.