When my life can be explained in one word (chaos), I have developed a survival skill–focusing on a few things that up my happiness quotient. The concept of “happy” has always been a little allusive for me. I think I am always kind of happy and not happy at the same time. It is a dialectic that coexists in my worldview. There are real reasons for this way of seeing my life, and it has served me to understand it in light of my personal narrative. The more I know about why I see/feel/think like I do, the more ways I have to impact my own experience of life.
I am sure there are times when the chaos of raising a hurt child with challenging behaviors has you wanting to stick your head in the sand. One mother once told me that sticking her head in the toilet would be better than her life outside the bathroom. It was a bad day and she felt utterly hopeless. Don’t wait until you feel that awful to do some repair on your ability to up your own happiness. Here are some ways to do that without leaving your own mind.
- I am often urging you to get self-care and I still want you to do that; however, sometimes it is easier said than actually done. There is another way to get some appreciation for the things you really enjoy: stop having them. Yep, a little deprivation of something you regularly do increases your enjoyment of it. For one week stop having an everyday pleasure: eating chocolate, drinking coffee, watching TV, surfing the web, reading magazines, eating out. Give up something you like having every day. After seven days, you will be amazed at how delicious and dreamy that bite of chocolate tastes or guilty-pleasure TV show is to watch. Deprivation can increase your appreciation for the little things. In so doing, you can make something ordinary a little more special in your life.
- Actively focus on what is right and good in your life. Here is something you can get into the habit of doing or even do for only a week. At the end of each day, write down three things that went well, then write a bit about how you felt about each. This can shift you out of focusing on what you are trying to fix in your child or partner or life. Yes, there are a lot of good things in your consuming life, but you have to notice them to know that.
- I know for a fact that I feel better when I am my best self. If I speak lovingly to everyone, I feel lovable and I get more positive feedback from everyone (including my children). If I commit to looking in the mirror and thinking positive thoughts about the way I lo0k, I leave the house feeling beautiful. When I feel beautiful, I experience other people and ordinary things around me that way too. Choose one area to be your best self in for a whole day or a whole week. This practice can be a life changer.
If you don’t up your happiness, no one else will. Hmmmm…
The next 8 hr. Trust Based Parent Training is scheduled for April 23rd and 30th from 12noon to 4pm. $200 per couple. Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up email Jen@attachplace.com and she will register you.