Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Being Happy Despite Tragedy

Everyone is going through a lot right now. Meanwhile, in the background, life goes on, and "normal" not-so-good things happen as well. There's a lot to get in the way of happiness.

Even if your job, your family, or your health aren't in direct jeopardy right now, it's difficult living in a world experiencing so much loss, so many sad and terrible situations. Just being alive during this time is stressful. Those who are getting along fine right now might even feel a sense of guilt over their good fortune.

But there are lessons to be learned from all this tragedy. One, in particular, is how fleeting life is, and how rare true happiness can be. If you have opportunities to feel joy, I suggest you take them and relish in that feeling while it's available to you. Because whatever is happening around the corner could evoke an entirely different feeling.

I'm one of those people who feels the suffering of others acutely, which is why I can't follow the news (unless it's Some Good News). Being empathetic was a helpful attribute when I worked in healthcare, but pretty painful in our current times.

I've already talked about how I choose to mostly live in a vacuum, but today I want to focus on other techniques I use to be happy. Also, I have a surprise announcement related to being happy at the end of this post!

1. I keep things simple

Wherever I can use simplicity to make my life easier, I do it. Sometimes, having more means doing less. What do I mean by that? 

More is less translates into using tools or developing systems so that individual tasks are easier. For example, I have all kinds of splints and mobility aids to help with my chronic illnesses. I have routines down for things I do regularly.

I use apps to help me track things, like a medication reminder app, my Google calendar, my Fitbit app, a meditation app, etc. It might be great to have a single app, but it might not do all the tasks as well as more specialized apps. So I opt for programs that stick to one or two tasks I need to track, and do those tasks well.

As for owning more physical objects, I do it if it makes sense. For example, if you want to put a nail in a board but you only own a screwdriver, it makes sense to go get a hammer instead of struggling through your task with a screwdriver. 

So I may have a lot of different things in place, but they are all present to help me simplify and keep from wasting time on things I can automate or make easier with available tools.

2. I let things go

I'm just as stubborn as the next person. Get me fired up, and I will argue my point of view all day long. But if the next person is just as stubborn as I am, then where does that get me? I've wasted energy, anger, and time trying to convince someone that my opinion is right and they're wrong.

How often does that actually work? You can't force someone to agree with you, and if they don't, then you just used up part of your life that you'll never get back on a useless endeavor.

I'm not saying you should just roll over when someone differs from your opinion. Stand firm in your beliefs, but don't try to push others to have those beliefs as well. State your case and move on. It will give you more time to enjoy your life.

3. I challenge others to be happier

I've mentioned before that mom likes to tell me all the bad things she hears either on TV or Facebook. She's not alone in loving drama--obviously, because otherwise reality TV shows, soap operas, and gossip publications wouldn't have survived for so long.

But for me, I'm not such a fan. So I challenged her: she can only tell me news if it's 100% good news. And the news can't be that it's good for one person but at another's expense, either. It has to be something like: a little girl finished her last chemo treatment, and as her mom drove her home, her whole neighborhood stood in front of their houses and cheered for her.

Mom took the challenge seriously. She told me that lots of people are starting micro-businesses during COVID, and many of them are children who are starting non-profits to help the needy. That's what I like to hear!

So if you have a drama-monger in your life, try giving them this challenge! See what happiness-provoking news they can come up with.

4. I remind myself of all the things to be happy about

I'm reading a book right now called 14,000 things to be happy about by Barbara Ann Kipfer. While I don't feel happy about all the same things she does, it's certainly interesting to see her list. It evokes memories and ideas. So much so that I was inspired to create my own list and share it through social media. This is the list I made today, even though I was laying in bed with a splitting headache while I did it.

My goal with my little happiness project is just five things per day, no matter how big or small. And then sharing those things on social media, to hopefully help others think happy thoughts.

5. I let myself feel all the feelings

While I'm encouraging more happiness, I think it's ridiculous to believe we can be happy all the time. That's just not realistic. Plus, you still need the lows to appreciate the highs. So if I have a memory of something sad or experience a "down" reaction to something in the present, I let it happen. I sit with the emotions and immerse myself in them, instead of trying to ignore or run from them.

But I only give myself a few minutes. There's no sense in dwelling on something for hours or days--that's a dangerous route toward depression. So as the feelings are winding down, I give thanks and send out a blessing that this moment has passed, and go back to happier things.

6. I accept the present

I'm not going to go too deeply into this topic at the moment, because...I made a product about it! Actually, this is something I've been working on for several months in collaboration with a company called Ultimate Bundles. They've put together a guide called "The Ultimate Guide to More Joy and Less Stress: 15-Minute Exercises to Strengthen Your Mindset." I'm honored to be a contributor to the guide. My topic is "Make Peace with the Here and Now in 2 Steps."

The guide goes on sale in early October and will be only $15. It includes a PDF workbook and 15 video lessons--so that works out to be $1 per lesson for a guide that's timeless and yours forever. I also feel that this guide came out at a perfect moment in our lives when we need it most.

Here's the product list:

Clear Your Mind with a Brain Dump by Wella Zina

Do you ever have so many things stressing you out that you have trouble keeping track of them? This lesson will teach you a simple strategy to fix that.

Feel Good by Giving and Receiving Compliments by Liz Wilcox
Receiving compliments can be a great way to boost our self-esteem, but some of us shrug off compliments instead of fully appreciating them. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to make the most of every compliment and use them to develop more self-acceptance.

Get More Done with Tiny Time Blocking by Heather Davis

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by tasks that feel too big. This leads to self-doubt, procrastination, and guilty feelings. In this lesson, you’ll learn a simple solution for making big, scary tasks feel small and doable.

Destress with an Amazing Cup of Homemade Tea by Rachel Silves

If you want to feel more joy and less stress, you need to be kind to yourself. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to unwind and unplug with a good cup of tea, with herbs proven to promote relaxation and calm.

Make Peace with the Here and Now in Two Steps by Maya Nyssa (<--That's me!)

Many people feel stress because their lives don’t look the way they want them to. In this lesson, you’ll discover how to make peace with the present and experience joy because of it.

Get Organized with Small Acts of Decluttering by Samantha Pregenzer

Our environment can stress us out. But when we take the time to organize our surroundings, we feel more in control of our lives. Here’s how decluttering even small spaces can lead to bigger, more impactful changes.

Grow Your Confidence with Positive Visualization by Amanda Foust

When we feel like our goals are impossible, we’re tempted to quit on them. But thinking of ourselves as people who can do it gives us the confidence to keep trying, and today, we’ll look at how to develop that confident mindset.

Beat Procrastination with the “10 Minute Method” by Jill Wanderer

When we’re faced with a big list of stressors or to-dos, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Often, the best solution is the simplest: Just get started. Don’t think, don’t worry, just get to work. This lesson will help you do that.

Experience More Gratitude Through Journaling by Danielle Davis

When we think about sad things, we feel sad. When we think about scary things, we feel scared. When we think about things we’re thankful for, we feel thankful. Thoughts are powerful, and in this lesson, you’ll learn how to harness their power for good.

Calm Down Fast with a 16-Second Meditation by Kelly Page

Sometimes, we need a quick way to reset in moments of stress. In this lesson, you’ll learn a 16-second routine to help yourself calm down and recenter in stressful situations.

Eat Your Way to a Happier Mindset by Dr. Sarah Corcoran

Our minds and bodies are connected. And of the foods we eat can impact our mental wellbeing. In this lesson, you’ll learn about 5 foods that can help you boost your mindset.

Spot the Silver Linings and Feel More Peace by Alexx Stuart

Our happiness isn’t controlled by what happens to us. In many ways, it’s the product of how we choose to view our circumstances. Here’s a guide to help you reframe disappointment into more empowering thoughts and feelings.

Feel More in Control by Taking 100% Responsibility for your Happiness by Greg Denning

One of the most empowering realizations a person can come to is this: You are responsible for your own happiness. Even when your circumstances are bad, even when the people in your life are unfair and disrespectful, you still have the power to dramatically impact how you feel. And in this lesson, you’ll learn how to tap into that ability.

Become More Resilient by Shaking Off Bad Days by Kris McPeak

Some days stink, and we don’t want those days to derail us. Here’s a process to help you bounce back from a bad day and make tomorrow good.

Breathe Into Happiness and Optimism with this Morning Routine by Sandy Abrams

Sometimes, it’s the things we take for granted that have the power to change our lives. One such behavior is breathing. Simple breathing exercises can help you start every day with more optimism, and you’ll learn how that works in this lesson!

As you can see, there are a lot of good tips in here for a great price! I've reviewed my advance copy of the guide and I think it's going to be helpful for so many people; everyone should get this guide.

Also, if you buy early there's a great bonus: a one-year subscription to the Goodnewspaper, which is a $60 value all on its own. I'll keep you guys in the loop, but if you want to be notified directly from the source, use this link:


The last thing I want to discuss is an offer to make you a little money on this product. If you become an affiliate and help us promote this guide, you can receive a commission on each sale. If you buy your own copy and sell five guides, you'll be refunded the cost of the guide you bought as well. There are also sometimes additional prizes for the highest-selling affiliates!

What's great about this company is that they offer "swipe files" of marketing copy and graphics you can use and customize to your personality, so you don't have to worry about coming up with advertising on your own. They also do video training. If you're new to affiliate marketing and want to give it a try, it's a great way to get your feet wet. Not to mention you will have opportunities to become an affiliate for future products. They always have something good in the works!

So if money is a little tight at the moment, this could be the ticket to getting some extra coin in your pocket. Have any interest? Use this link to become an affiliate: 

I hope everyone is doing well and being happy whenever possible. Take care!