Sometimes we experience bad emotions and due to some tragedy or unhappy situation we feel lost and sad. It could be a hard say at work, where nothing is working properly, even your laptop is stuck. Or the deadline of a project is coming to an end and you are nowhere to the finish line. Sometimes you received a bad news or lost somebody you loved. Or you are lying sick and in pain in the dark alone. We all have experienced the financial crises where money are not enough and the credit payment is due… All of these sad and miserable situations makes you ask yourself why is it so hard? Why life sucks can’t thing be better?
Yes they can, but it won’t happen overnight. Still you have the power to change things, by first changing the way you think.
Happiness is possible, if you learn a few simple techniques:
1. Smile – go in front of the mirror and give yourself a nice, juicy smile. You will find it ridiculously stupid, but still… funny. Then when you are out to work, or the supermarket smile to a stranger. There are thousands of articles on the net, describing the benefits of smiling to strangers. It is a gift you give and receive. Be open and present and you will feel the warmth and the quiet support of the stranger smiling back to you. It is a miracle.
2. Allow yourself to be unhappy. When we’re feeling bad, feeling in pain, all we want is to get away from it. Ignore it, pretend you’re fine, comfort yourself from the pain, shield yourself, lash out in defensiveness, numb it with drugs, distract yourself. This is a very human response. But actually, wanting to get away from the unhappiness doesn’t make it better. It usually just prolongs the pain, makes problems worse. Instead, tell yourself that it’s OK to feel unhappy, it’s OK to feel pain. Pause and allow yourself to feel it, to fully be immerse in that unhappiness. See that it’s OK, and know that it won’t last FOREVER. And in fact, it’s where the healing starts, where growth happens.
3. Meditate. Escape from the everyday habits and give yourself the benefits from calming your mind and senses. Meditate for just 2 minutes a day, and you’ll create a habit that will allow you to notice your thoughts throughout the rest of the day, that will help you to be more present (unhappiness comes from not being present), that will help you notice the source of anxiety and distraction. That’s a lot that can be accomplished in 2 minutes! Sit or lie in bed every morning when you wake, and just notice your body, and then your breath. Notice when your mind wanders, and gently return to your breath. You become the watcher of your mind, and you’ll learn some useful things, I promise.
4. Realize the pain and it will go away. Now that you’re face-to-face with the pain and misery, now that you’re touching it and intimate with it… see that in fact, it is a tender feeling of being alive. Being alive means feeling pain, feeling fear, feeling disconnected sometimes. Allow yourself to feel it, and imagine that this is what living feels like. Yeah, you could say, “That sucks,” or you could say, “What an interesting experience, being alive.” It’s like bungee jumping or how I imagine it would feel if you discovered you could fly: full of fear, excitement, shock and joy. That is an incredible experience. You’re having one of those right now.
5. Be grateful. Being fully alive, being fully immersed in this experience of this moment… what is there to be grateful for? Even small things, like the sight of leaves outside trembling in the wind or someone laughing nearby. Or things we take for granted, like eyesight and music. Having relationships. Being supported by millions of people. Being able to do all the things you can do. The taste of the coffee or the smell of food being cooked. Your breath. You can find gratitude for any of these things, at any time, including right now. Find three happy things in this moment to be grateful for.
6. Realize the joy in being alive. You are alive! You should be singing from the hilltops. Even in our worst moments, we can find some joy in this not-small fact, that we ARE alive. Your heart is pumping. You feel the wind gently touching your face, or the water when taking a shower. The warm sun stroking your skin. The loving hug of a family member or a friend. Even the tears running down your face. You can FEEL How awesome is that?
Yeah, I know. It’s hard. I’m not saying that by doing this will magically make everything better. Step by step start with the simple thing. Just be aware of your thoughts. Once you realize they are negative switch immediately. Think of something that makes you happy, listen to relaxing, calm music or watch a funny video. It is that simple! There’s always joy to be found in every moment, if we dare to look.