by Wendy Keller, survivor
Sometimes, it can seem like a heck of a lot of other people are having a better life than you are. I find this is especially true when you’re going through a worse-than-normal crisis time in your life.
If you’re bothered by the observation that others seem happier than you; that they don’t have to suffer like you do; if you’ve gotten the VERY short end of the stick, I’m here to tell you: you’re probably right. Surprise! The common belief that it’s all in your mind or that you attract all these bad things into your life is only partly true, in my non-professional opinion. The world DOES seem to favor some people. Think about someone drinking contaminated water in Africa; what about someone whose beloved son was just shot in one of the many wars going on right now on this planet; think about a new mother sitting in neonatal ICU wondering if her infant will survive. Those people are holding the short end of the stick, too.
There’s BIG BAD STUFF in this world. Most humans get their turn at bat, their chance to deal with the bad stuff. If it’s your turn, whether anyone else understands how hard this is for you or not, here are some tricks to use for getting happier. I hope they work for you:
1. When I’m feeling especially low, I give myself a break. My personality is sort of bullish anyway, so when I’m trying to force my way through things, force the Universe to conform to my will, force myself to feel differently than I really do, I’ve learned to force myself to do something smarter: Stop. Sometimes, I take a day off but often an hour will do. Go out in nature. Sit and watch kids or butterflies, bees or puppies. Or water. Let something other than your problem fill your consciousness for a short period of time. You’ll find this magically makes you start to relax a little, and you might even see the problem from a new perspective when you get right back into your regularly-scheduled life.
2. Change your respiration rate. I learned this from my yoga teacher. We’ve all been told to breathe really deeply to relax our bodies, right? Here’s his trick: breathe really fast. Inhale quickly to fill just the top of your lungs; Exhale super fast; Inhale fast; Exhale fast. Repeat it ten times. Then try this: inhale, hold for the count of 5, exhale slowly. Repeat that ten times. I have no idea why this works. Deep breathing doesn’t always work for me, because my mind is thinking, “C’mon! This is taking forever and I don’t feel better yet!” Try this fast-breathing thing next time you feel freaked out by the stress in your life.
3. This is totally nuts, but to get happy fast, change your body position. My teacher Anthony Robbins says “change your physiology”. I started listening to his tapes when I was trying to re-learn how to walk after a car accident mangled my leg. I couldn’t do a whole lot to change the way I moved my body at that time, so I’d do “half jumping jacks” – without any jumping! Just putting my arms over my head and clapping. The body has its own knowledge, and it seems that sadness seeps into our cells and paralyzes us. Make your body move in an unusual way and watch your emotions shift for the positive.
I hope these tricks for making yourself feel better work for you. I’d love to hear your results! Of course none of these are going to permanently transform the issues you are facing, but they CAN help you get through the day, achieve some mental clarity and feel happier right now.