A Seven Step Program for Staying Happy During Difficult and Frustrating Times
Staying happy when everything seems to be gong wrong is hard. Getting depressed and down however, may not be healthy way of approaching the situation. The recession is causing many to despair. Remember: you are born into this world with nothing, and when you die you have nothing. Don’t get too uptight about losing the furniture, car, and shopping spree because of the recession. Those things don’t necessarily make you happy. Hold on to what is important: your family, genuine friends, and relationships. Be true to yourself and cherish that joy for living.
Here are some tips for keeping your head afloat and staying happy during difficult times:
Step 1: Be in the moment; Live Just for Today
Practice doing things, just for today. The challenges posed by the recession are largely about focusing on the here and now. It is difficult to predict what is going to happen in the coming months and years. Things could get better, or things could also get worse. The key is to be in the present, and not waste time in the past or worry about the future.
Let the past be the past. Stop harping about past mistakes. Don’t keep focusing on what has happened in the past. Stop telling yourself what you can’t do. Stop reminding yourself of your inabilities. Stop going back in your life to find all the times you have failed and projecting them to the future. Let the Past be the Past. It is over. There is nothing you can do about it. It doesn’t matter what you do now you cannot change the past. The past has got you to where you are today. It is time to move on.
Step 2: Stop being in denial. Accept the situation for what it is.
Being positive and being in denial are two different things altogether. Whenever positive thinking turns into denial, you are treading unhealthy waters. Having a slogan pasted on your refrigerator door saying “I refuse to participate in a recession” and “everything is great” are probably not the best solutions, as you have embraced a state of denial by performing such an action. Pretending that everything is okay is an unhealthy way of dealing with the recession and its impacts. Denial is like sweeping the dust and dirt under the rug, instead of picking it up with a dustpan and getting rid of it altogether.
Accept the state of things and then ask yourself “what can be done to address my predicament in a healthy way?” Start doing something about it, such as applying for new jobs, getting a part time weekend job, or starting a home-based business. Let it out and face the reality, rather than bottling it in denial, and pretending that everything is great.
Don’t deny your predicament. Whatever that has happened to you will mould you to emerge as a stronger and experienced person. Whether you choose to accept it or not, what has happened has already taken place. You might as well address it instead of ignore it.
Step 3: Be flexible to accepting change
The recession is going to force many of us to explore unknown territories, which we have never treaded before. Change is going to happen every single day. How you deal with change determines your success, productivity, creativity, passion and stress. Focus your energies on the changes that really affect your success and happiness.
Be flexible to embracing change. Change is sometimes, a good thing. It can bring along with it, new opportunities. Remember though, for any kind of change to be lasting and of true value, it has to be consistent, and not just a one time action.
Remain optimistic. Tough times call for stamina and endurance. Here is one method for staying optimistic and hopeful when you are unemployed. Every day, accomplish five things: one thing for your job search, one thing for your community, one thing for your family, one thing to improve your place of dwelling and one thing for your own spirit.
Stay positive. One way to get started with positive thinking is to focus on what you do have (good health, a supportive family or something else that is working for you) and view the tough times you’re facing not as a threat, but as a challenge and an opportunity.
Staying positive can be difficult when nothing seems to be going right, but the alternative is to fall into the trap of negativity. Negative thinking increases stress, which increases the risk for getting sick, which may lead to unpaid days off work and costly doctor visits.
Step 4: Take a chance If you can’t find a job in your own field, take this chance to do something you have always wanted to do. Whether you are short on money or not, cut back to what you need, do less of what you want.
Step 5: Unwind with cheap or free entertainment
Here are some steps for finding inexpensive and free entertainment. The key is to be able to find joy in life’s simple pleasures.
Stay local - Sometimes having fun does not necessarily mean leaving the boundaries of your town or country. For many of us, leaving the boundaries of our homes and driving far distances can cost money. Start enjoying the local places in your area. Visit a covered bridge, the museum, or the historical society, in your area. The Chamber of Commerce can provide interesting leads for you.
Watch movies at home - Instead of buying $10 a piece movie tickets or spending $5 at the video store, consider joining Netflix, where you can download free movies to your computer or get several movies delivered to your door for the cost of less than two movies tickets.
Use the library to save money - The local library rents DVDs and videos for free. Sure, you may not get the latest movie at the library, but remember, this is the time to re-think entertainment. You can watch some classics like High Noon and Sound of Music, and save money in the long run.
The library can be a fun place to hang out. I love libraries and I find librarians to be very special people. Libraries are where some of the greatest minds are nurtured. These are healthy places that will steer your life in a positive direction. If you have kids, bring them along and read some books. Some libraries even have a playground where kids can run about and have fun.
Sign up for programs. Many libraries offer free children's story times, free movies for adults and children, and host a variety of interesting speakers and informational programs. Some also offer free classes on grant writing, book publishing, and more. You already pay tax dollars to support your local library. Why not get your money's worth? Have a library day once a week and the whole family will be entertained without spending a fortune.
Step 6: Say it aloud
Whatever you are experiencing right now, say it aloud for yourself to hear. Here are some examples: “I am having a difficult time staying afloat; I am about to lose my job; the bank will foreclose on my apartment if I don’t make the payment on time; finding a job should be my main objective right now.” Saying it aloud can be a catharsis. It will also be a positive step forward about coming to terms with your situation and trying to do something about it.
Step 7: Associate with people who have a positive affirmation towards life
There is a saying in Hollywood acting: If you hang around nine winners, then you will be the tenth winner. If you hang around nine losers, then you will be the tenth loser.” Avoid pessimists and those who always see the glass half empty. It is easy to get depressed during a tough economy, when everything seems to be going wrong in your life. Hanging around in negative company, amongst people who have already given up, can be very contagious. It is like a weed growing in a well manicured garden. If you allow it, the weed will take over very quickly.
Distance yourself from negative associations, whether it is physically, mentally, or online. A negative influence is not something you can afford right now. You need to inject yourself with all the positive enthusiasm that you can get to keep your head above water and plug along.
Written by Preethi Burkholder, Editor and Founder, Gifted Hands Writing, April 14th, 2009
Co-Team Leader for All Health Pros, Binghamton Area Losers & Laid Off But Staying Strong SparkTeams
Tell Me What Is It You Plan To Do With Your One Wild & Precious Life? ---Mary Oliver
Don't die with your music still in you. -- Dr. Wayne Dyer
"We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." --- Carlos Castaneda
"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." --- Buddha
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