Tag Archives: grief

How can I be happier?

A lot of people ask me ‘How can I be happier?’

Before that can be answered there are a few things that need to be defined. Firstly, what does happy mean to you? Then, how happy are you right now?

To me being happy equates to being content. If that is your goal I think you can be happy for much of your life. Others have told me that to them being happy is feeling joy. For people with that definition, happiness is fleeting and they will experience happiness for short periods, fairly infrequently.

Do you seek joy every moment of your life? If so, I fear that you will be perpetually disappointed. Even if your life moved from one amazing moment to another, you would quite quickly stop experiencing joy. Joy is an extreme emotion. It’s the thin end of the wedge, the edges of the bell curve. For brief moments it lights our life, but we cannot feel it all the time.

If your definition of happy is contentment, you will feel ‘happy’ much more of your life. This in turn makes you feel grateful and lucky, which leads to feeling even happier with your lot.

So, one way to be happier is to lower your expectations of what happy means.

Then we need to look at how happy you are right now. If you had to scale it between 1 and 10, with 1 being extremely unhappy and 10 being as happy as you can be, where would you score yourself? The chances are you are somewhere between 4 and 7. If that’s the case, you can probably do things to make yourself feel more happy. If you are at the extremes of the scale it can be harder to make a difference.

Obviously, if you are already on a 10, it’s going to be very difficult for you to feel happier than you are right now – there’s literally nowhere left for you to go. Awesome!

If you are at the other end of the scale, down in the 1-3 group, you are in a fairly dark place. There are lots of reasons that this may be the case. Firstly, something awful may have happened in your life. Loss of a loved one, bullying and poor health can put you in this place. All of these are things which take some getting over. Yes, there are professionals out there who can help get you through this time and support you with psychological strategies, but they are still difficult things to deal with. If you felt happy during one of these experiences, I would suggest there is other work to do.

Other reasons that people can feel deeply unhappy are anxiety and depression. These are two different issues which can be very difficult, but are also eminently treatable. With talking therapies people can work through these life limiting issues and get back to regular levels of happy – not happy all the time – just regular happy.

This brings me onto the final idea around wanting to be more happy. There is a regular level of happy. If you are happy all the time, you may have a problem. If you are unhappy all the time, you may have a problem. Even the best adjusted most balanced people experience happiness and unhappiness. It’s normal and natural. If you want to be happy all the time, you are setting yourself up for disappointment – which leads you to be less happy! There are things that steal our happiness, and we can work on reducing them, but if you love, you will experience loss. If you achieve, you will have to deal with defeat. Ups and downs are all part of the rich tapestry that is our complicated life.

My tip for today is be grateful.

Experiments have repeatedly shown that being grateful is one of the key things that makes us happy. Write down three different things every day that you are grateful for. It’s easy to start with big concepts like being alive, having a home, waking up this morning, but as time goes by you have to look for more detailed, smaller reasons to be grateful. Things like a good cup of coffee, a smile from a neighbour, enjoying a TV programme, somebody liking your blog post or even a positive comment…all of these things make me grateful, which is why I experience happiness every day.

Wishing every one of you a happy, healthy day. I’m so grateful you’ve taken the time to read this x

www.talktherapies.co.uk

p.s. If you are looking for a daily mindfulness tip/exercise follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/talktherapies 

 

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February – Heart Awareness month

Are you taking care of your heart? When you hear that, what does it make you think?

Do you think about diet and exercise? Do you think about relationships? Do you think about Self Care?

I think it should be about all of those things. I spent December writing about self care, and January writing about diet, so this month I want to write about relationships, what they mean and why they are important. Also hopefully, you’ll get some ideas on how to improve your relationships, feel better in them and get more out of them.

Today’s post though, is how to deal with the pain of the end of a relationship.

Relationships ending can be incredibly painful. Whether the end of the relationship is caused by someone ending it, or by death, there is a grief process to go through.

In both cases there is a relationship that no longer exists and grieving is a natural reaction to that.

There are famously said to be 5 stages of grief and these need to be worked through with a relationship ending.

Often the most difficult phases is denial. I have seen a number of clients in my hypnotherapy practice who say they want to get over a relationship that’s ended, but when I speak to them, they tell me what they really want is for it to be back on again. Despite saying they want to be over it, they are still in denial that it is really over. This is a terrible limbo land that can be difficult to move forward from until they accept that it’s over.

Then comes anger. It’s only natural to lash out when we are in pain, but anger is best kept in check. Not only can it make situations much worse if the anger is taken out on another person, but it can be much more serious when the anger turns inwards and we start to blame ourselves for the situation. This way leads to self-confidence issues and has other mental health implications contributing to¬†anxiety and depression.

Now we get to bargaining. Again it’s fairly normal to bargain with our ex in order to get things back on track again, but the best person to bargain with is yourself. You need to decide how you want to get through this and make deals with yourself to help you to achieve it.

Here comes the darkest part – the depression. You will sometimes feel sad. You will sometimes feel as though you will never feel anything other than sad again. That’s not true. You will get through this. You will be happy again. You will look back on this differently one day. And now is the time to think about the bargains you made with yourself. Hopefully you decided you wanted to get through this as best as you can and work to take care of yourself. Eat well, go out, keep clean, be around people. I know it can be tough, but it will get easier.

Eventually you will get to acceptance. You may never be happy about it – then again, you might, but even if you don’t, you will learn to accept it. If you’re clever you will learn lessons from it. Know what you want, what you are prepared to accept and what you might need to do in order to get that. Also know what you need to bring to a relationship? We often think about what we want from other people, but sometimes it pays to think what they might want from us….www.talktherapies.co.uk

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