Updated: Dec 21, 2020
"Life is like a roller coaster. Live it. Be Happy. Enjoy Life" -
There is no question that life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. We all have experienced great tragedy and triumph. The trick is to be able to experience victory during a tragedy, to maintain happiness amid the sadness, and stay peaceful even when in pain.
Victor Frankl is someone I have spoken of before. He is an amazing man, who was a highly successful psychologist, professor and writer before the Nazi invasion of Austria, he was also a Jew. He, along with his family, was put into a concentration camp in Austria. His father died in that camp. He was moved to Auschwitz in 1944 where his mother was exterminated. His wife died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It is safe to say he both suffered and witnessed atrocities and degradation for years until finally liberated from the camp at the end of the war. Yet, the book he wrote is not a tale of bitterness. It is a testimony to our ability to find meaning in all things, even suffering.
He shares how the beauty of a sunset can move starving, freezing prisoners to tears of joy and how human compassion continues to shine even in the darkest corner and that each person had a decision to make: to wallow in the misery or to find one small moment of joy and cling to it and magnify it. Those who could see the pleasure could find moments of happiness, no matter what.
We all have the same choice.
Yes, we all have had painful experiences. It is essential to acknowledge our experience and to look at it. As a personal life coach
I help people ask some good questions: How can I release any unforgiveness toward myself in this past experience? Have I been punishing myself for it? Can I feel any tension or stress, tightness or pain in my body as I think of it? Am I suffering still from the past? Do I have trouble sleeping, or headaches, or am I fearful? Can I hold a job or money? Do my relationships end badly, or am I needy or aggressive? Do I push people away or hide from them? Am I blaming the world for the past experience? Have I taken ownership of anything that I need to? Maybe I was a child, and I had no control over an event, but I am not a child now. Am I perpetuating helplessness? Do I feel powerless, or worthless?
OK….good. Now, let it go. Yes, that's what I said. Let it go. Once you have acknowledged a problematic experience, examined it, taken any ownership and seen where you can make any correction then LET IT GO.
The point is not to stay in pain. There is no need to keep in the low point and berate yourself or others. You found it, you acknowledged it – you didn't pretend it wasn't happening.
Now, it is time to throw your arms in the air and prepare to feel the air on your face as you climb toward the summit. Get ready for the ride to CONTINUE. By staying there, you gain nothing. Instead, you can take the experience and USE it to INCREASE YOUR WISDOM.
As you move up, up, up on the roller coaster, look back and see what you have moved through, but don't STAY there. Move up, up, up. And WHOOSH! Live. Be Happy. Enjoy it.
How? You aren't likely to just magically feel better. So how do you "be happy" and enjoy anything?
You just start to do the things that you KNOW would make you happy, or a reasonable person happy. If you have ever been happy, what made you that way?
Use your memory. If you have never been happy (and some people haven't) then use your imagination. Create a list: a happy list. I'd like to help you get started with some of the things that make me, and I'm going to go as far as saying, most people pretty happy. Feel free to borrow from this list and then keep adding to it:
·Play with an animal.
If you are lucky enough to have a pet of your own take time every day and play.
It is nice to take your dog for a walk, they love you anyway, but they will especially love you for a W A L K. ( I have to spell it or my dog goes nutso). If you don't have a dog of your own, then the local animal shelter might be looking for you. They need dog walking volunteers and people willing to help in other ways as well.
If you are a cat person, play with your cat if it will let you. Cat's can be a little trickier to play with. Some are like, "seriously, I don't play." But, many communities have cat cafés where you can play with cats that are a little more social. Have tea or coffee and a snuggle.
·Play with a child.
Kids don't know that things are so "serious". They are professional play-meisters. One of the big lessons I have been fortunate to learn as a Gramma is that play is FUN.
I didn't play enough with my kids.
I hadn't realized yet that nothing else matters as much. When my little ones were little, I thought my problems mattered, or the housework, or my schedule, or dinner on time, or something I wanted to do first. Really, that moment of laughter and sparkle was the ONLY thing that mattered. Now, I get it. That is why grandparenting is so much more rewarding. It is not because you are less tired. I still have a sleep disorder, and if I let it be an issue, I would be exhausted. But, I now know that play is the best balm for almost everything. It infuses me with energy. While I am being a tickle monster, or making farmyard sounds, or reading Peppa, or watching a magic show, I am not tired at all. Walks are for adventure and discovery, they are not to get quickly from A to B, they are for fun.
·Play with your partner.
The dishes didn't get put away. They looked at me funny. I could go off with a story in my head that can put me into a funk for the rest of the day or….breathe and pull a funny face, and say out loud "are you lookin' at me?" "are YOU lookin' at me" "are you LOOKIN' at me?" …just like Robert DiNero in Taxi Driver, and now we are laughing and putting the dishes away and being silly for the rest of the day. Way better than sulking and fighting.
My partner and I like to play scrabble. Yes, scrabble. Or euchre.
We like to watch soccer together and yell at the television. We go out (when it is possible) for a couple of beers. Dance in the kitchen. (I do that, he thinks I'm cuckoo), sing in the car, chase each other around. Be silly. But keep it nice.
Playing doesn't mean making backhanded insults and saying "hey, I was joking." Watch your tone and watch your intention.
·Watch a funny movie.
Right now, keeping with the season, I highly recommend Elf. I love this movie. But, there are so many funny movies old and new that will crack you up if you let them. Stand up comedians all have specials out that can keep you in stitches. Again, be careful not to engage in dark comedy. Some things are bitterness and resentment and hate wrapped up with a bow that says "comedy".
Please don't indulge in this negativity.
Find truly uplifting comedy, not nastiness.
·Eat something yummy.
A nice bit of chocolate puts a smile on my face. Maybe you love a special treat from Starbucks? Let yourself have a treat. Really make it a special celebration for your senses. Close your eyes, focus your attention on the sensations as you enjoy every moment of it. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty! You have chosen this with intention, and you get to enjoy it! YUM!
· Do some exercise
I like to walk my dog. My partner likes to use a stationary bike. Some folks like to do bootcamp in their living room.
My son does yoga. My daughter walks to the bus to work. You don't have to do a crazy workout regime unless that's your jam. But do something every day. Move your body—dance around.
Shake it, baby. You might not feel like it, but you will feel better, happier, for it. It is impossible not to because your body is sending out endorphins telling your brain that you feel great. Soak them up.
· Call /Zoom a friend.
It can be tempting to isolate and stay quiet and alone when you are in a low point and only share when you are at the heights. Pick up the phone, send a text, zoom with someone and say hi. You don't have to spill your guts. Just say "hey, hi" If you are at a low and don't feel like talking that is cool. You do not have to be sunshine and lollipops all the time.
But connecting with others will lift your mood. Listen to their news, ask for one thing that they are grateful about and share one thing you are grateful about.
Get out of your own head. Lift your eyes up and to the world. You most likely have a lot more than a lot of other people, and there are things you can do to help someone else. If you spend all your time focused on what you don't have, you will see what you don't have. Spend some time focused on what you can GIVE. What do you have: Do you have time – 30 minutes a week? Of course, you do. Do you have skills – can you read to a child, brush a cat, walk a dog, lift a bag of food, sort some clothes, spoon out a soup – of course you can.
· Do Something Positive for yourself.
As long as you continue doing exactly what you are doing, you will continue feeling exactly how you are feeling and living exactly how you are living. So, start doing things differently. Find someone who can teach you how. Get a life coach who has a practical approach and will work with you to set the right goals and hold you accountable to reach them.
I would love to help you and offer a free 30-minute session to see if we are a good fit.
Contact me at email@example.com to set up our session.