If you read last week’s blog, you know I was depressed when I wrote it. My efforts to change how I felt worked. Next day, I woke in a great mood. A week or so later, I’m still happy. Life is good. The sunlight in my living room is gorgeous.
My uplifted feelings exist despite this week’s events: mice invaded my kitchen, yesterday I had food poisoning, which was followed by…well, you get the idea—life strikes again. And again, often.
I’m not saying I’ve been blissed out all week. I’ve had my fair share of rants and down moments. Okay, I’ve had down hours. But I’ve been happy a lot, so much that it has me thinking about ways I find happiness during challenges. Here are three of those methods. Then, maybe you’ll share your techniques below.
1) Be proactive, if at all possible. When I came down with multiple sclerosis (that’s the closest we’ve gotten to a diagnosis, and it was tentative), I tried anything I could to improve my situation. Being proactive is not always easy. For example, at first, I’d get out of bed and finally manage to stand, then immediately become so dizzy that I would fall over; I would aim for the bed, hoping I would hit it instead of the floor. Luckily I always managed to get the bed.
I don’t mention my terrible vertigo in order to sound pathetic or heroic. My point is that vertigo was one of many severe, sudden physical problems that limited me; I had little physical or emotional wherewithal to get anything done. But I was as proactive as I could manage. Do what you can—no matter how little—to change your situation.
Besides, when you’re down, it really helps if you try to get up. LOL.
Yes, your efforts might fail. But your attempts in themselves have benefits. For example, a study shows that, during a traumatizing event in their life, people who actively seek ways to overcome the situation tend to experience less psychological damage.
2) Tell yourself that unseen factors can turn your negative situation into something wonderful. Tell yourself that you’re not seeing solutions but they’ll come. Assure yourself with these ideas, even if you don’t believe them; rough times can discourage us so much that our life view becomes needlessly hopeless.
Also, trusting a solution is possible creates a solution. That’s not New Age doublespeak. Once I think a solution exists, I automatically relax. I go about my business. Next thing I know, an amazing solution enters my mind. Had constant worried thoughts (“This is hopeless, hopeless, hopeless”) filled my conscious awareness, the creative outpourings of my subconscious would never have risen to consciousness. My brain would’ve been too full of misery to have room for new ideas, and lack the peace needed for an innovative thought to gently enter. *
Besides, repeatedly giving yourself messages like “What’s the use of trying!” heaps more misery on top of whatever you’re already going through! Life is painful enough, don’t make it worse by telling yourself things you’d recognize as injurious if someone else said them to you. In other words, if a person kept at you with remarks like “There’s nothing you can do to improve your life,” you’d think they were plain old mean ! Don’t be mean to you.
3) Help someone else.* My three tips are not necessarily easy to do. And there are times when the best way to help others is to take care of yourself. But when I can give a helping hand, I forget my problems. I get a break from both them and my fear about the future; I’m more comfortable in my skin for a while.
Focusing on someone else’s needs shows me we’re all in this together. Realizing that I’m not the only one with difficulties gives me perspective, destroys my self-pity (I am prone to the “Poor me, my troubles are worse than anyone else’s” syndrome), and helps eradicate a sense of isolation that often occurs when problems overwhelm us.
Think this article cheap talk on my part? If I can find joy despite my challenges, anyone can. But instead of a litany of proofs in my pudding, I’ll give one example: Illness has made me a shut-in for ten years.
Hard Times are just that: hard. But they’re part of life. Sometimes they last years, sometimes they come and go all day. Again, do what you can, even if it is tiny, and keep on with that as often as you can—it will eventually pan out.
Don’t wait until a crisis is over to look for happiness. It is waiting for you to find it. Look, right there, do you see it?
* For more ways to free up your subconscious’s creativity and informativeness: Share My Insanity, available on Amazon. The book also shows why being of service can heal your spirit in ways nothing else will.