Things You Need In Order To Stay Happy

You need to make plans to see someone on a Tuesday because having a guaranteed fun activity in the middle of the week will keep you sane and give you something to look forward to. And let’s face it, we all need something to look forward to during the work week. I’m all for having a dinner party with a few of my friends and getting three glasses of wine drunk at 9pm and being in bed by 11. By punctuating your busy week with something exciting, it will go by so much faster. It also always feels good to do something a little forbidden on a Tuesday (Oops, I went out when I should’ve stayed in. Oops, I got stoned. Oops, there’s work tomorrow!) Putting so many rules on yourself will ensure that one day you’ll snap and become a full-fledged alcoholic psycho in your thirties. (Just ask my mom! JK, love you mom!)

You need music you can fall in love with. Any spare moment I have, I’ll be up in the music blogs looking for that new song that’ll be like crack for my earbuds. I don’t know about you guys but when I find a new song to obsess over, I’m like pretty set for the next three days. I don’t need a flirty text message, a delicious meal, or an amazing night out. I’m pretty much set with my New Favorite Song.

You need someone in your life who excites you, makes you nervous, and forces you to question what you think you already know. These usually come in the form of a crush or a relationship. A relationship is obviously ideal but a crush can tide you over like a nice appetizer. We spend so much of our time feeling jaded and set in our ideas, and that’s clearly not a fun way to exist. We pretend it is but deep down it feels a little miserable because we don’t want to know all the answers. We want someone who’s challenging, who we can’t figure out, and can tell us that we’re full of crap. We need someone to get us off the internet and remind us that real life is much more fun. And it’s okay to be unsure and nervous because that just means we’re alive again.

We need stressful days in order to be happy. We need days when we get zero sleep and are working tirelessly on a deadline. Because if we didn’t, the lazy days wouldn’t feel good. After my accident, I took a semester off to live in LA and go to rehab three times a week. At first I thought, “This will be good. I can focus on my recovery and I’ll read a lot of books and write.” Um, yeah right. I was bored to tears. The days I wasn’t spending at the doctors or in physical therapy, I would be doing nothing. It’s no fun doing nothing. I don’t know how rich people can fill their days with pointless appointments and call it a fulfilling life. We need to always be working towards something in order to feel useful and have a sense of purpose. And then those days off when you just veg feel so good. We often say that we’d like a very long vacation but most of us would probably get very bored after a week.

We need to treat ourselves to stupid stuff. We spend a great deal of our time saying “NO” to things just so one day we can be like “Screw it. I’m doing me today.” If you did “you” every day, you’d either be broke or ridden with STDS.

We need family. Whether it be in the traditional sense of the word or the kind of family we create on our own when we get older, we need to feel like we belong somewhere. Otherwise, we would permanently feel like a raw exposed nerve that could just disappear at any given moment. If they died, who would claim the body?

And last, but certainly not least, we need to like ourselves in order to be happy. BOMBSHELL! Go read Eat, Pray, Love now for more new information! (Ew, don’t read that book ever.) Here’s the thing that’s funny about self-love. People say that in order to have someone love you, you gotta love yourself and I think that’s BS. I know many people who are in relationships and full of self-loathing. In fact, it seems like the more damaged someone is, the more likely they are going to be in a relationship. It might not be a healthy one but they’ll be tethered to someone for sure. So listen, don’t go love yourself and think it’s going to complete the puzzle. Don’t think people are going to gravitate to you because when you love yourself, you delete 70% of your dating options because you’re looking for someone who’s equally as happy and well-adjusted, which is a rare thing to find. So love yourself just for the sake of doing it, for being able to look in the mirror without wincing and to take yourself out to the movies and lunch and think you’re great company. Do it in order to stay happy.

Oh, and you need to have a healthy amount of sex. Always. TC mark

image – StarsApart

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Karla

    best article I’ve seen on Thought catalog so far.

  • A.

    This is good except the internet is definitely better than real life.

    • beatrice

      The internet is like fiction, a fictional experience. Real life experiences are still better but the internet provides unlimited experiences whilst real life has annoyingly realistic limitations

  • Dee

    Ryan, you forgot standards

  • valeria

    ryan, you’re definitely my fave writer here!

  • Benjy

    Love this.

  • olydig

    I love you ryan. haha

  • Becky To

    This has been one of the better pieces you’ve written lately, Ryan. Keep on keepin’ on :)

  • speckles

    This is absolutely one of your best. Just read this aloud to a friend, this is really an article that leaves the internet and becomes something to share IRL. Thank you. 

  • Anonymous

    I like this piece ^^

    But I have a question: What constitutes a healthy amount of sex?

    • Gregory Costa

      To the point that you’re not burning flesh from too much friction. 

  • Reni

    Ryan, I thought I had you pegged. I was positive I could recognize your distinctive writing style, the use of the second person, etc etc.

    And now there’s this. WOW. 

    I was happy just reading it. Good job! 

  • L☁

    why is getting stoned on a Tuesday a little forbidden?

  • Girl

    you sir, are a machine.

  • Tovar Ximena

    On point. You are always so much fun to read

  • Ximena

    On point. Always so good to read your writing.

  • Lilac Wine

    “I don’t know about you guys but when I find a new song to obsess
    over, I’m like pretty set for the next three days. I don’t need a flirty
    text message, a delicious meal, or an amazing night out. I’m pretty
    much set with my New Favorite Song.”

    yay. this is Me!

  • Nikki Little

    So many truths to this. I was nodding my head along in agreement the whole time. Thank you for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t need a flirty text message, a delicious meal, or an amazing night out. I’m pretty much set with my New Favorite Song. ”

    Oh Ryan O’Connell, you got it made.

  • upupandaway

    RYAN YOU’RE THE F_ING GREATEST. you are the voice of our souls.

  • Guest

    Ryan you’re awesome. I just got out of a relationship and your articles have really helped keep me sane. 

  • Skinnypignyc

    This is a great reminder – and somehow I feel less insane after reading it which is always a plus. Thanks Ryan. :) 

  • Sophia

    Apparently-unpopular opinion: I absolutely loved Eat, Pray, Love.

    • Lila

      I absolutely loved it too. But I can understand it’s not for everyone. Nothing is though! 

  • Rej

    This article made me feel happy. :) Great article as always Ryan! :)

  • Lila

     In fact, it seems like the more damaged someone is, the more likely they are going to be in a relationship. ” This is the truth I’m still having difficulty coming to terms with. Thank you Ryan. 

  • Guest

    First of all, Eat Pray Love is wonderful, so don’t go knocking it. I can give an intellectual defense of it if you’d like. Second of all, you may know lots of people who aren’t self-confident but who are in relationships, but that doesn’t mean that’s the right place to be in. You may be tempted to use a relationship as a co-dependent crutch or a cast that will hold your splintered self until you get your emotional bone structure back. Don’t. Love yourself with compassion and endless forgiveness, and that will teach you to love someone else the same way.

    • Ƒɩƪţħƴ Ƿɑɀųɀų

      Are you saying people who don’t love themselves “with compassion and endless forgiveness” should not fall in love? Or are you suggesting they are incapable of falling in love in the first place? Not everyone who is in love yet lacks self-confidence is using their relationship “as a co-dependent crutch or a cast that will hold [their] splintered self until [they] get [their] emotional bone structure back”.

      Not everyone with a “splintered self” can even be put back together. Should they live the rest of their days alone?

      This is exactly why I hate this kind of advice. It sounds good, it sounds like it should be true – until you actually think about it. Some people will never be able to “love” themselves. I don’t even like the phrase “love yourself”. “Accept yourself” is more appropriate, and makes more sense. I’m suspicious of those who love themselves. That’s narcissism.

      Most importantly – and my biggest objection to the whole “love yourself before anyone else” – is that sometimes falling in love, and having that love returned, is the most effective way to help someone accept his- or herself and build their self-confidence. It is possible to be in a loving relationship and build your self-confidence while avoiding codependency.

      Sometimes, a hug and a kiss can accomplish more than years of therapy ever could.

      That “love yourself first” bullshit can be bloody dangerous. A person hears that, doubts their self-confidence & self-love, and avoids intimate relationships because they think they’re not ready – or, worse, not worthy.

      I’m not saying a lack of self-confidence in a relationship can’t be dangerous. That’s beside the point.
      ALL relationships are dangerous.

      That’s life.

      Being told to wait until you achieve some bullshit mystical peak of self-love and happiness before getting into a relationship? No thanks!

      “Eat, Pray, Love” can suck it.

      Love whom you want, when you want.

      PS: “Endless forgiveness”? So, what, cheating is acceptable? How can you love yourself while “endlessly forgiving” your partner’s infidelities?

      Empty words. Meaningless.

  • Gough

    I love Stress. I ALWAYYYYSS love stress. the pressure always bring out of me things i can never go for on my own. – 

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