Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Masters of Counselling & Psychotherapy UofA
Member of the ACA College of Supervisors
Level 3 Member Australian Counselling Association
Happiness is something that we often get confused and think it lives outside of ourselves. We also think that we can only be happy when the planets align and our strict criteria has been met.
That like a lot of thinking is flawed, it is simply not true. Happiness lives inside of us, it is an attitude we can adopt even in the darkest of times.
Here are some pointers on how you go about achieving that.
When you are at the bottom, start each day with a 10 point To Do list and every morning write in position number one: ďBREATHE.Ē This is what you start with and it is OK if to start with that is all that is on your list. Even though it sometimes seems impossible, there will be a brighter day. But to get there you have to remember to keep doing that one thing: BREATHE.
2. Remember this: all things must pass
Itís the basic law of life. Good times, bad times, nothing ever stays the same. A run of bad luck canít go on forever. The tide will come back in; it always does. Itís a law of life. Until then, keep breathing.
3. Look for the light at the end of the tunnel
You may not see it today, you may not see it tomorrow. But if you stick to steps one and two, you will finally see that glimmer one day. I promise you.
4. ďPoco a pocoĒ.
Itís a saying in Spain. They use it all the time; it means ďlittle by little.Ē You may want this nightmare to be over today, but it doesnít work like that. Grief, financial meltdown, divorce; these are things you walk through one small step at a time. When you finally see the light, chart a course towards it and start walking, one small step at a time.
Unsplash Max van den Oetelaar
5. Be gentle with yourself
If you ever played Snakes and Ladders as a kid, youíll know how frustrating it is to get halfway up the board then come hurtling back down again. Well this is going to be like that. Youíll think youíre almost out of it; youíre feeling a little better, or you cut a break in your career and you think the worst is done and then you find yourself back in the pits again. Thatís okay, thatís how it works. Go back to step 1 and breathe.
6. Donít think that time heals all wounds
Because it doesnít. People tell you this, and theyíd like it to be true, but really it isnít. Grief is nuclear, it has a shelf life of thousands of years. Believing that it will magically go away one day will just keep you mired in the past. What you want is for the pain to subside so that you can start again‒thatís not the finishing line, but for now itís your starting post.
7. Be tough with yourself
Allow yourself to grieve; if youíve lost someone you love, then let yourself cry. If you made a mistake of any sort...OK, indulge yourself. It is natural to beat up on yourself. But sooner or later, you have to stop. Youíll know when itís time. But when that day comes, you have to raise your eyes and discipline yourself not to keep looking back.
8. Donít make big decisions
Sometimes itís tempting to grasp for the first life vest someone throws us: a new investment that will make good of our losses or a new lover to heal our pain. We want so badly for this to be over. But be warned...the time to make any big decisions is when youíre not hurting.
Unsplash Matteo Catanese
9. Donít expect things to be the same again
When the tide comes back in, whatever was written on the sand before is gone. Accept that what you are going through is a life changing event. Your new life may look nothing like the old one. Wear the scar and move on to that new life, whatever it is. Write new things in the sand.
10. Remember to like what is left
This is the most important step of all. If you can do all these things and not break, then what is left is a remarkable person. What has happened to you is not a good thing, but you have walked through fire and come out the other side. That makes you a truly remarkable person.