If we want to BE HAPPY, we have to feel pain.
You’re probably thinking, “WHAT? But pain isn’t happy or fun. Pain, quite frankly, is painful. And we need to avoid it all costs if we want to be happy, right?”
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. So how does that play out right now?
Let’s be honest. COVID-19 is making life pretty hard for all of us – and talking about living in happiness seems completely inappropriate.
Loss, sadness, and fear seem to be all around us. New routines and responsibilities are compounded by greater restrictions. Our homes are getting smaller by the minute.
So how can we be happy?
It’s simple – by giving ourselves permission to be human. “Being human” means we allow ALL our emotions to flow – including the painful ones.
Our brains are negatively keyed and stuck in the past. When danger was an animal trying to kill us, we had only a few options – fight, flight or freeze. Most of the time, we can consciously – or unconsciously – overcome those reactions. But in times of stress, those draining perspectives will creep back up.
In stress, most of us will feel some combination of two perspectives.
- We feel sadness – like we are victims, helpless to change what is going on in the world.
- We feel anger, frustrated about all that is happening in the world and in our own lives.
It seems like neither of those have anything to do with happiness – but they do. When we try to block or defeat our emotions, we actually make them stronger.
SUFFERING (the next level of pain) happens when we try to pretend that our painful emotions aren’t real, when we hid them or when we run away from them.
To end this second level of pain we need to accept that during these difficult days we will feel sadness, fear, anxiety, frustration, anger and grief. We need to accept that we will feel disoriented, unsure and insecure.
Accepting those emotions does NOT mean we can act on them. It means we can simply give ourselves permission to feel them. It’s natural that in times of stress, we are not our best selves – and neither are our emotions.
By taking a step back – acknowledging the feelings and thoughts – we can actually lower our stress. Here are some quick tips on how to do that:
- Journal – write down what you’re feeling.
- Talk to someone – share your emotions.
- Meditate – let your mind rest as you focus on your breath or a mantra to calm you.
- Pause – as yourself if your thoughts are helping you feel better? If not, create a new thought that is true and helpful.
- Take a walk. Walking can help settle our thoughts and release some “happy hormones” to help us.
If you’d like a free coaching session to help you end the suffering from painful emotions, go to my website at www.happiness.com/.