If you were to ask me what my favourite thing about being a dad is, I'd probably tell you it was the fact I can vicariously live life through my boy's eyes.
And that's a complete surrender to the moment and all the unbridled joy that comes with it.
It makes you realise that finding happiness doesn't need to be all that complicated.
The first thing is to understand that happiness isn't a destination, it's a path that requires work and commitment and a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of who we are and what makes us tick.
We can all see how recent technology has massively changed our way of life, it's shaping how we work, play, communicate and interface with the world around us.
Essentially, it's made things far more complicated. But why would it want to do that?
Technology was created by us so naturally, it follows the same fundamental principles as us. Evolve no matter the cost.
We've got to the point where deep-learning algorithms know us better than we know ourselves. They have worked out what we want and conflicted that with our needs.
So let's look at a few simple ways can we take back control and free our minds.
Expect the best and plan for the worst.
One of my late father's favourite mantras was 'Expect the words and then if it doesn't fuck up you'll be glad - he was no poet.
I'd argue with him that pessimistically walking around expecting everything to go wrong all the time would be a really depressing way to live your life.
But it turns out there is a small nugget of truth in his logic.
It's not that you should always expect things to go wrong but instead not expect everything to go perfectly right.
We're all guilty of wanting our lives to play out like a Hollywood movie so when it doesn't we're left somewhat disappointed.
The best experiences we have in life are never planned or anticipated, they arise out of nowhere, they're in the vast space between the stars that we're so fixated on.
The simple thought experiment is to lower your expectations.
Don't expect things to be a disaster but equally don't expect them to be a flawless masterpiece, as if directed by James Cameron and scored by Hans Zimmer himself.
Dad wasn't right, but he also wasn't wrong. There's a happy medium balance to his theory of expecting the worst possible outcome and that's just simply just not expecting perfection.
It all comes down to your own subjective perception on how things play out and then ultimately how you frame it.
We're basic bitches.
I've just got back from taking our dogs for a walk with my wife Hannah. Every day we have to take them out or they will get restless or depressed, they need to feel the grass under their paws, pick up interesting scents in the air, chase a scrawny squirrel up a tree. Dog's aren't complicated, to keep them happy they just need a few basic things, walks in nature, food, the occasional treat, our company and little else.
We're no different. We've created vastly complex lives divorced from nature and any sense of community.
Here's another simple equation.
less = more
Feel the sun
The next time you go out for a walk and the sun is out close your eyes and put your face to the sun. Feel its warmth drape over you, try to consider how that burning ball of hydrogen and helium is responsible for everything you've ever felt, touched and loved and experienced.
Rember the simple fact that you are the universe experiencing itself and it's all thanks to that burning star 92.9 million miles away.
Drink more water
Do you drink enough? probably not. Drink more.
Don't put chip fat in a Rolls Royce
Did you know around 90% of your serotonin is produced in your gut along with another neurotransmitter, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). These help to regulate and improve your mood by calming the nervous system and switching off stress reactions.
So eat well and feel better.
Try to avoid sugary snacks. Avoid processed food. Avoid seed oils and ingredients the names of which you don’t understand or would struggle to spell.
Eat simple foods - meat, fish, veg, fruit seeds and nuts.
It's good to spend time preparing food. Eat around a table if you can and made it a routine.
Give gratitude before you eat. Thank god, the earth, the sun whatever or whoever you feel like thanking but take a moment to show how grateful you are, not just for the food but for that moment in time you're all sharing.
No excuses. Run, walk, squat, do star jumps. whatever. Elevate your heart rate and you'll elevate your mood.
Get into the woods, take a trip to the sea take a walk around your local park. Fill your lungs with all that perfect air. Breathe it in deeply.
Notice how wonderful it feels to breathe it in.
Around seven weeks ago I challenged myself to go 1000 days sober, the catalyst to that decision was far too many alcohol-induced 4 am anxiety attacks. I decided it had to go, and like magic no more waking up at 4 am.
Sometimes you need to listen to what your body is desperately trying to tell you.
But if you don't want to go nuclear like I did then here are some other tips.
Turn off your phone a few hours before bed, don't eat too late, read something, avoid blue lights, and don't eat chocolate before bed and you'll sleep like a baby. (btw whoever came up with that 'sleep like a baby' has clearly never had a f**king baby). Oh god, I'm turning into Michael Mcintyre.
When you're feeling down your depression wants you to isolate yourself when in reality you need to do the opposite. See friends as much as you can.
Surround yourself with good people who resonate with a positive frequency, people who you know want only the best for you. Filter out the negative.
Enjoy the ride.
We're all handed a different set of cards but anyone who plays poker out there will know it's not about what cards you're dealt but how you play them.
The path to happiness is just that, a path and that path can be a lot more enjoyable if you make some small changes or small adjustments.
Sometimes you'll fall off the path and that's fine. All you need to do is get back on it whenever you're ready.
Trust the process and try to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, remember you don't have the power to control things but you do have the power to react to and learn from them.
"Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible." - Mandy Hale.
I hope that helps,