Finding Happiness During Stressful Times
Article contributed by Barb Schroeder, a regular Creative Renewal Program presenter
Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can't help but smile. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness. Happiness depends on 50% of your genetics, 40% of your internal state of mind and 10% of your circumstances.
This morning, did you see that the sun came up wonderfully well? The flowers blossomed, no stars fell down, and the galaxies are functioning very well. Everything is in order. The whole cosmos is happening wonderfully well today, but just a worrying thought going through your head makes you believe it is a bad day today. When we are in a stressful situation it is easy to let these worrying thoughts overcome us and then we miss the moments of joy that may be happening.
Where to Start – 3 Keys to Happiness
Something to Do – Everyone needs a way to add value to the human race. Call it purpose, or a calling. Find a way to add value to the world around you.
Something to Love – Research has shown relationships are more important to our health than a lot of other factors. Nurture your relationships to keep yourself happier. Thank those who are helping to care for you physically and emotionally.
Something to Hope for – Hope gives us something to look forward to. Plan a vacation, day out with family or create your new goal plan to get you happier about the future.
Planning for Moments of Happiness in your day
This action involves consciously spending a few minutes each day focusing on some of the good things that happen to us. By doing this we start to notice what goes right as well as wrong in our lives. Even on a bad/stressful day there are some good things that happen, however small.
- Every night - before you go to bed, think back over your day and remember three good things that happened - things that went well, that you enjoyed or were grateful for. These can be small (e.g. a delicious sandwich or a child smiling on the bus) or of bigger importance for you. You'll probably find it varies. Try doing this for a week to start with.
- Note them down - this is important. You may want to get a small notebook just for this purpose - or you can track them online using an app or website.
- Think about why - for each thing you're grateful for, write down why it happened and why you feel good about it. This may feel a bit tricky at first but you'll soon get the hang of it.
- Look back - after a week, have a look back on what you've written. How does it feel when you look at all these good things? Do you notice any themes?
- Keep it up - try keeping it up for another couple of weeks at least. Many people find it becomes a bedtime habit. After a while you may find that you don't need to do it every night. Three times a week or even once a week might be enough. You may also find that you start to appreciate the good things more as they happen.
When we are going through stressful times, for many of us it is hard to look for moments of happiness or gratitude. Remember if you don’t look for it you will never find it. What moments of happiness have you discovered on your journey?
Time Special Edition, (2019). The Science of Happiness: New Discoveries for a more Joyful Life.