(Forgive me dear reader. My Third World side wants to come out while writing this article and would want to contextualize and get rid of generic examples that may cause some feelings of discomfort and a lack of connection from readers from a non-Third-World country.)
A jam-packed shack filled with seven or eight members of a family, joblessness, poverty, floods, landslides—no matter how poor and disaster-stricken a country the Philippines is, I can say, in all honesty, that people here are happy people. And that being unhappy is strongly discouraged, an unwritten rule that has saved survivors from a lot of crisis. Yes, we are survivors in this Third World drama, and the only way to survive and keep going is to be happy.
But how to be un-happy when in Philippines? Here are my top 3 situations. (Some of them I have personally experienced.)
Focus on the negative.
Inflation is high in Philippines. And the prices of commodities have gone wayy craazy high this year. (Take note of the time stamp written at the bottom of this article to be more accurate).
I live in a small town, and cost of living is low. Yet, we can still feel this shitty increase of prices whenever we go to the market and come home, shoulders slumped, as we carry only a handful of food items that our money can buy.
Then, imagine turning on the TV and hearing more bad news from other parts of the region. A landslide in Cebu, drug raids all over the country, a frail justice system—these are common news pieces that may cause a sudden negative shift of emotion further prompting feelings of hopelessness and pessimism. (face palm) Point is, there is already so much negativity around us in that the only way to survive is to be happy.
Exercise has been proven to release happy hormones. It was even said that running produces the so-called ‘runner’s high’, a feeling of euphoria that can be compared to the high when one is taking drugs. (It’s not that I am suggesting that you should take drugs, tho. Or else the president will have to deal with you heads on.)
Sometimes, life is unfair to us. Maybe, you got fired for unjust reasons, or had just got out from a bad relationship but staying inactive would not help you solve your problem. It might even lead you to gain weight, which again, would further lead you to a labyrinth of unhappiness.
We may be tempted to be glued to our phones for hours, because you know, Facebook has free data in Philippines, or sit for hours to play Fortnight on our phone. These habits may seem so harmless in that you may not suspect they are affecting your mood and overall productivity of your day (If you care anyway.)
Always considering other people and compare yourself to them.
The Philippines is in the top 5 of the highest number of Facebook users in the world. Facebook plays a big role in our lives. It is here that we flaunt our latest vacation, our newest relationship status, our car (which we recently retrieved from a car loan) or our latest gadgets (e.g. iPhone X).
If your eyes are programmed to watch these messages from the moment you wake up, then you are feeding the wrong stimuli to your brain. Oh, Neighbor X has a new car. Yolo in a luxurious vacation in Hawaii. Stacey is finally dating that hot guy in her class. #Jealousmuch.
Happiness, according to some theories, is just a state of mind. And so as unhappiness then! We are in control of our feelings so the next time, unhappy moments or conditions may about to ruin your day, be prepared to stay strong and make a way to turn your day around.