Happiness for some may be hard to define, but we all know what it feels like. On the other hand, many of us also know what unhappiness feels like. So what do we do when we face those times when we can’t find our happy place? Here are a few suggestions to get you back on the happy train.
Everyone knows a smile is contagious. If you’re feeling down in the dumps, force a smile and keep smiling. If you don’t give into that feeling of wanting to smile, you will eventually get the giggles from looking so silly.
The sense of smell is very powerful and can trigger several moods and reactions. Why not smell your way to happiness? Sniff your favorite flower, inhale your favorite fragrance, or indulge in the aromas of your favorite food. When I’m feeling down, I tend to smell lavender. I not only enjoy the smell, but it also has some calming and relaxing properties.
Chronic illness is defined as a condition that lasts for a year or longer. Examples of chronic illnesses include, but are not limited to: heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders and multiple sclerosis. PBS.org states that more than 125 million Americans have at least one chronic illness and estimates that by the year 2020, 157 million Americans will have a chronic illness.
These illnesses can cause a drastic change in one’s lifestyle. They can interfere with employment, interpersonal relationships, and individuals independence, and just disrupt the “normalcy” of their lifestyle. Not only do individuals who suffer with chronic illnesses have to deal with the illness itself, they often have to deal with the feelings of having the illness, the effects of the illness, difficulties obtaining treatment due to the health care crisis, and the side effects of medications used to treat the illness.
Individuals that suffer from chronic illnesses also are more likely to suffer from depression. The symptoms of depression are sometimes overlooked because they are overshadowed by the illness or dismissed as “normal feelings” of a person dealing with a chronic illness. Individuals dealing with chronic illness and depression should be evaluated to determine the source of the depression.
I’d spent the entire night studying for an 8:00 a.m. exam, only to be awakened by my annoying alarm clock at 7:35 a.m. Thankful I’d gone to bed in matching pajamas, I washed my face, brushed my teeth and ran six blocks as fast as I could through the morning sunshine. I made it to class just in time.
As I sat trying to catch my breath, the professor passed the exams out face down I took a moment to pray. Feeling confident from my long night of studying, I turned the exam over to begin. It only took a few seconds for me to realize one thing – I didn’t know the answers. I’d spent hours studying and in an apparent sleepy stupor set my alarm for the wrong time, only to race to discover that I’d studied the wrong chapters.
Fighting back tears, I gave it my best. Disappointed, I turned in my exam and walked out the door. Since I’d gotten my morning exercise by running to class, I took the elevator to the ground floor. As I looked out the double doors, I realized the morning sunshine had turned into icky rain. So, in my matching pajamas, I proceeded down the street.
Life is complicated. Just when we think everything is going smoothly, it throws us a curve ball. Whether it’s at school, work, with a friend or family member, or in a romantic relationship, something always seems to come up that can send us into turmoil.
Unfortunately, we don’t get a “coping with life” class in high school. We’re expected to just pick up the skills and techniques for best coping with life on our own, through “life experience” itself.
Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t (as in the case of alcoholism, emotional eating, etc.).
So it’s my pleasure to introduce Life Happens — a blog about dealing with life on life’s terms. It’s about finding a way to make lemonade out of lemons, even when you feel you’re all out of sugar.
“I hope that Life Happens will educate, inform, inspire, and transform — leaving readers feeling empowered and ready to deal with life as it happens,” says Donna White about her new blog.
Donna M. White began her counseling career after receiving her BS in Psychology in 2004 and her MA in Clinical Counseling in 2007. She is a practicing clinician and has worked in community mental health, alternative schools, chemical dependency, and vocational rehabilitation settings. You can learn more about here here.
Please give Donna a warm Psych Central welcome!