How to be happy and trans
Happiness is linked to health and wellbeing. Studies show that happiness positively impacts our health and wellbeing, but what can we do to help ourselves feel better with everything that's going on around us?
Let's take a look!
Even small changes to what we do, or think, can have a big impact on how we feel. It’s easy to focus on the negatives and we can’t always control what goes on around us or what people say BUT we can control how we react to it.
It’s ok to feel sad, in fact it’s better to acknowledge and process negative feelings in a healthy way than it is to bury them. Have a good cry or scream into a pillow if you’re angry. Finding healthy ways to process difficult stuff takes a bit of thought and practice. What are three things that could work for you?
Our thoughts affect our feelings. Thinking about sad stuff makes us feel sad just like thinking about good stuff makes us feel good. The good news is that if we practice, we can catch ourselves thinking about bad stuff and choose to make a change. Let’s say something bad pops into your head, oftentimes it’s a worry that hasn’t even happened yet. We have two choices, we could stay as we are and worry about all the terrible things that might never happen or we could choose to recognise that it’s just a thought that we’re having and think about something that makes us happier.
It’s not always easy but the bottom line is, when the chips are down you still have a choice of what to think and what you choose will affect how you feel. The first step is catching yourself when your mind starts wandering to the dark side! What do you want to think about instead?
Finding something positive that you can take from a negative experience takes a bit of practice. Is there a lesson you can learn from that experience? Could it have been worse and you’re grateful on reflection that it wasn’t that bad? What three things would a friend say to make you feel better right now?
What achievements are you most proud of so far? – name them!
Think back to when you were last happy, when was it and what were you doing?
What makes you smile without fail every time?
Who have you got around you fighting your corner?
Whilst it's important to process all of our feelings, good and bad, sometimes we need a little help to do this. Having someone walk with you on your journey is great for building confidence and skills to help you feel empowered. Coaching or counselling are great options that can help you process your feelings and move towards the future you want. If this sounds interesting, why not check it out?
Do something Fun
Doing something fun, like Art-prompts, helps us connect with ourselves and others. Life can be pretty stressful sometimes and it’s easy to forget to enjoy ourselves. Being creative and getting together with friends or likeminded people to explore art in new ways is an excellent way to unwind and have fun. The great thing is, you don’t even need to be an artist or have any experience to join in with something like this so why not give it a try. Choosing trans friendly spaces to hang out for entertainment also helps to minimise anxiety when trying something new or meeting new people. Keep an eye out for more events from Unboxd that will help you relax and have fun.
There are tons of things you can do for fun, we just need to remember to schedule it into our week!
OUR FIRST EVENT - LINES OUTSIDE THE BOX
Check out our events page for more details of fun stuff hosted by Unboxd!
Move about a bit
Ok, so I must admit I’m not a massive fan of exercise. I want to be (in my head) but the reality is, it’s not that easy sometimes is it? Whether it be binders restricting your breathing, health conditions or fear of negative comments when you’re out and about there are many barriers to exercise for trans folks. However, one thing I know for sure is that I do feel better when I get out for a walk, especially if the sun is shining.
We all know the benefits of exercise so I won’t go on about it but finding something that works for you and taking small steps to build on that will help enormously. Be kind to yourself and start off slow. Try different things until you get a good fit. Just because your neighbour runs 10 miles a day it doesn’t mean that you should. You may hate running; the whole point of exercising is to stay healthy and feel better. Personally, I know I'm not going to feel better by forcing myself to do something I don’t enjoy and if I don’t enjoy it, I am not going to stick to it.
I find that I’m more likely to stick to a gentle dog walk a couple of times a day than I am to a regimented high impact exercise regime. The strange thing is, the kinder I am to myself if I skip a walk the more likely I am to do extra the next day or something else like Yoga instead. I even went on a bike ride last week! – for the first time in 2 years. Do what feels manageable and what you enjoy, baby steps, and build from there.
Ignore the Haters
If only we could bin social media for a day, or a week, a year, forever… But the reality is it’s also a great way to connect with friends and family and it looks like it’s here to stay. Have you ever noticed how draining it is to engage with negative online content? And, how many hours have you wasted online in battle with someone who is never going to change their mind?
Next time you see something hurtful or something that winds you up, remember you have a choice. Do you engage with this person and spend goodness knows how long trying to change their bigoted views? Or, do you choose something else. It’s up to you.
Time is the most precious resource we have, we can never get back what we’ve lost, and personally, there’s loads of good stuff I want to enjoy before I’m pushing up daisies. The haters are simply not worthy of my time, my time is too precious to waste.
It took me a while to learn that I can’t win every battle and nor should I have to. I do a lot behind the scenes for the trans community, that I am proud to be a part of, and I thoroughly enjoy that. However, it is not my responsibility to try and fix everything. The following wise words from our dear friend Ayla Holdom “if everyone does a little, nobody has to do a lot” have stuck with me since that Mermaids residential where we were all chipping in to achieve a big task.
I’m super grateful to all our activist friends but you don’t have to be an activist if you’re trans.
Use your time wisely. Find a balance between doing what you enjoy, spending time with other people, work or study and those not so enjoyable tasks (cleaning etc). And if you need help finding that balance - reach out, that's what we're here for.