Happiness is a matter of attitude. None of us are given lives with permanent happy times but we learn to be happy even when time in not in our favor.
The thing with happiness, I now realize, is a matter of attitude, thinking and approach towards life. Now, all of us would face hard times, and that is for sure. What is also true is that only some of us would be able to deal with the hard times in a way that it doesn’t deliver a hard blow on us.
Is it possible to be happy in hard times?
Yesterday, I read an obituary of a man who died at 96 years of age. His children had clearly written the obituary and for reasons of personal privacy, I would not mention the name. The obituary, which is in public domain, went like this:
‘Dad was a man of many dimensions. He lived a glorious life, and on his terms. Today, we would like to celebrate his life. He won numerous accolades in his life and played several roles as a counselor, guide, mentor and many more. He will be greatly missed.’
This is a way to look at someone’s passing away, which is uplifting, and powerful. I absolutely loved how well it is written, and how highly it speaks of the departed. He clearly lived a long life with many happy times..
You may say it’s easy to say that of a man who died at 96. He saw quite a life, and that’s true. However, it is also an example that if one tries to flip the situation and find happiness in times of pain, it may be possible.
Let us try to understand this together. We are all in this, like they say, together.
Can we be happy in pain?
If yes, how?
1. Give the pain perspective
Pain comes in different forms. Give the pain some perspective. Understand that just like happiness doesn’t last forever, neither does pain. Life is a roller coaster, and although it may look like that pain would last forever, it wouldn’t. I have survived so many periods of intense pain in my life that I am convinced that pain wouldn’t last forever.
Even when our closed ones pass away, we cry for a few days, a week, a month, but we can’t cry forever and stop our lives for they are now gone and they won’t come back.
Sometimes, relationships fail, as they consistently do, we have the ability to emotionally heal from the pain we bore in those relationships, and start over.
If we fail in endeavors to become successful, we can learn the lessons that the setback gave us, and restart, this time smarter.
In times of adversity, it always feels that the adverse situation would last forever. We feel that we would not be able to emotionally recover from the loss of people we love, loss of our occupation, but people do. People recover, find love again, start new businesses or get new jobs. The human spirit is indomitable, and it has proven over and over that it is more powerful than any adversity. It is possible to turn adversity into happy times.
When you realise that it will be over, you would be able to find joy even in extremely painful situations.
2. Do not be guilty to be happy, in hard times
There is no guilt that you need to feel if you try to squeeze out some joy in the midst of adversity. You are already going through so much, and it is alright to want to extract some joy, a smile, a laugh in the midst of a hard situation.
If you do, you may realize that you can fight whatever you face. To be able to find joy in difficulty is hard, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. We must try to find joy, as much as we can, even in difficult circumstances. Even when you are alone you can learn to be happy alone.
There are several books available on how to be happy, in all situations. I won’t say mine is the best book on how to be happy, but I tried writing one.
Keep looking for joy. If you try, you will find some.
3. Put a positive label on the situation
Try a put a positive label on the situation, even if it is not true. Have you heard the often repeated cliché, ‘What happens, happens for good?’
I don’t think that people who say it all the time believe in it themselves. It simply isn’t true. How is it possible that people who have never smoked or drank alcohol through their lives succumb to ailments like cancer, or that 1.5 million people died in the year 2020 to a bizarre disease from nowhere called the corona virus, or even innocent civilians end up paying in wars for the mistakes their governments make?
What happens doesn’t really happen for good all the time. Sometimes, it does. However, it is a useful positive lid to put on the situation. It helps you say something in a situation where there seems to be nothing quite to say and turn a rather painful moment into a happy time moment.
There are times when people have breakups, go through severe adversity and they turn out successful, and happier, in which case the cliché turns out to be true.
4. Do not stop caring for yourself
It is important, especially in hard times to do the things that you do to care for yourself. If you allow yourself to rust physically, and mentally, it would be extremely difficult for you to face whatever it is that you face.
Therefore, go for your run/work out, and meditate, eat, get your sleep and not allow your body and mind to deteriorate. If you do, it will get even more difficult for you to emerge from the situation. These are small things that give us joy, and it’s important that we invest in them, even when times are hard.
5. All that may need to do is hang on
Sometimes, things just fall flat and we don’t know what to do. Don’t take too much pressure on yourself when you can’t understand a way out. May be, all that you need to do is to just hang on, and wait for the situation to change. Life is always in a flux and situations change.
The human civilization is the 21st century is the most resilient and powerful one. We have medical systems to fight diseases, we have the internet to disseminate information, learn and grow, and we have a lot of resources available to be able to change things when we face hard situations.
May be, all you need to do right now, is hang on. Release the stress.
6. Go to people you love and say you need them
I know, we want to be hard. We want to be independent, rough, and tough. Especially, we the men of the world. We are told not to break, to depend on ourselves, to not cry.
But, we need love. We need as much as anyone else does, as much as women do. We just don’t complain as much, because nature has designed us differently.
Love would save you, when you are at your lowest.
7. Focus on your blessings
Always, always, always focus on your blessings. No matter how much you lose in life, there is always life left, as long as you are alive. As long as you live, you can fight back, and can turn your difficulties into something positive for yourself. There is always an opportunity to forge life into a new direction, and do something that you never thought of before.
No matter what happens, focusing on your blessings would always bring you joy.
8. Think long term
Look at life long term. Whatever you face right now, would not matter a year, or a few years from now. It is temporary. It is difficult to look at life beyond the pain that you may face right now, but it is an important perspective that allows us to feel better in any situation we face.
We live in a short-term focused society, and that’s why it is difficult to see long term. But, when you are facing a crisis, a long range view tones down the stress of the crisis. It is not even a hypothesis, it’s the truth.
9. Use your sense of humor
Humour is one of the best tools to fight pain. Thankfully, the internet offers us ways to access other people’s sense of humour, when we can’t work up something on our own. When you are in pain, if you can find a way to laugh by cracking up a joke, even if you do in while in your own company, it will relax you, and make you feel happy in a difficult situation.
10. It is okay to cry
One of the best ways to ease up the pent up emotions is to cry. Release the pain. Once you have cried, you would be able to deal with the situation with a relaxed mind because you have allowed your emotions to flow out, and accepted the pain, for what it is.
Have you seen people or known a few who don’t cry for days after someone in their family has passed away? Then, they have to be pushed to cry, otherwise, they would implode.
So, when in pain, it is okay to cry. Tears only make you feel lighter.
11. Take a break from pain
When times are hard, most of the time is spent in grieving or feeling sorry about what has happened. Take a break from grieving and do something you enjoy. Solve a puzzle, play a game, go for a walk. Just do anything that would distract you from the pain, and shift your mind to something happier.
That will help you find some joy, and make you feel better. We have to be able to feel better to kick ourselves out of difficult situations.
12. Do something new
When we are overwhelmed, it is hard to see beyond the current state of life. Especially, if you have lost something that you were completely dependent on, you may feel that everything is over.
However, you could try something that you have never done before. You could start something completely fresh. Not only that would make you feel better, it would also give you a fresh lease of life that you so desperately need.
Thank you for reading.
The purpose of this blog to help you find your happiness. Please read the other posts on the blog, and follow so that you get updates when new posts are published. Please share any posts you like with your friends so that they can also find their happiness. If you have any feedback for me, please leave it in the comments and I would be happy to work on it. If you would like to support my writing and this blog, you may please send a donation through PayPal here.
I appreciate the time you spent in reading the blog and wish you happiness.