ALREADY struggling with the typical woes of student life, my worries intensified as I began the final year of studying communications at the University of Newcastle.
I was contemplating entering the competitive media industry that I had wanted to be a part of since my childhood.
Sitting down one particularly stressful Monday afternoon, I began to write down some simple steps to remind myself of how to return to my carefree and balanced self in trying times.
I posted the 16 steps on my blog as an afterthought. What I hadn't realised was the chain reaction the blogging platform was capable of. Within two days it had been re-blogged 1700 times, and within a week, 100,000 times.
Now re-blogged almost 300,000 times, shared across numerous social media platforms and seen by countless eyes, I realised the simple steps I wrote for my own peace of mind has lead to hundreds of thousands of others across the world benefiting from my words.
Here are my 16 small steps to happiness.
1. Push yourself to get up before the rest of the world. Start with 7am, then 6am, then 5.30am. Go to the nearest hill with a big coat, a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. Push yourself to fall asleep earlier. Start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. Wake up in the morning feeling re-energised and comfortable.
3. Erase processed food from your diet. Start with lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal and bread. Use the rule that if a child couldn't identify what was in it, you don't eat it.
4. Get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. Fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic. Fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. Sit and eat it and do nothing else.
5. Stretch. Start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. Roll your head. Stretch your fingers. Stretch everything.
6. Buy a one-litre water bottle. Start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
7. Buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. Write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. No detail is too small.
8. Strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. Put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. Make your bed in full.
9. Organise your room. Fold all your clothes (and bag what you don't want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. Light a beautiful candle.
10. Have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. Wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. Lather your whole body in moisturiser - get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
11. Push yourself to go for a walk. Take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. Smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. Bring your dog and observe the dog's behaviour. Realise you can learn from your dog.
12. Message old friends with personal jokes. Reminisce. Suggest a catch-up soon, even if you don't follow through. Push yourself to follow through.
14. Think long and hard about what interests you. Crime? Sex? Boarding school? Long-forgotten romance etiquette? Find a book about it and read it. There is a book about literally everything.
15. Become the person you would ideally fall in love with. Let cars merge into your lane when driving. Pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. Stick your tongue out at babies.
Compliment people on their cute clothes. Challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. Then two. Then a week. Walk with a straight posture. Look people in the eye. Ask people about their story. Talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
16. Lie in the sunshine. Daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn't a thing. Open your eyes. Take small steps to make it happen for you.
You can see more of Emma’s reflections, recipes and creative pursuits on her blog emmaorwhatever.tumblr.com
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