Happiness 103: After The Slump

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Happiness 102: When You’re Unhappy

Learn how to de-stress after trauma

  • Too much stress with actually cause the brain to stop
    • If you keep holding onto your stress after the event, your mind will relive the shock as if it’s happening all over again
  • Experiment with stress-relieving habits
    • Crying is one of the most effective ways to release trauma
      • If you can’t cry, yawning also releases stress
    • Focus on extreme deep breathing:
      1. Exhale completely
      2. Inhale across 4 seconds
      3. Hold breath for 7 seconds
      4. Exhale across 8 seconds, then repeat
    • Doing focused repetitive and mindless tasks can help relieve the tension
      • This can involve cleaning, playing Tetris, or exercising
    • If the trauma is especially bad, pain medicine numbs emotional pain along with physical pain
  • You will need to practice self-love to allow yourself to work through the pain
    • Visualize yourself as a small child
    • Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love
    • Talk to yourself about how you feel

To prevent future unhappiness, change your thinking

  • Low self-esteem is one of the easiest ways to destroy any current happiness
    • It creates irrational fears of conflicts, rejection, failure and loneliness
    • It also magnifies rational fears into irrational ones and creates new fears that are just as irrational
    • People with low self-esteem are especially bad at a few things
      • Can’t solve problems or create effective results
      • Can’t take risks or adapt to change
      • Won’t assert themselves or define themselves in any consistent way
      • Won’t accept compliments or recognition from others
  • Low self-esteem is easy to understand, but can be hard to change
    • Get rid of self-effacing mantras that float around in your subconscious
      • I am worthless
      • I am not worthy of loving anyone
      • I am not wanted by anyone or anyone
      • I am alone
      • People always take advantage of me
      • Nobody loves me
      • Nobody cares for or about me
      • I am not needed
      • My opinion doesn’t matter
      • I am hated
      • Everyone lies to me
      • I am ugly
      • It’s already been done
      • I’m not good enough
      • I am not happy
      • I am cruel
      • I already know what the answer will be
      • I am a bad person
      • I will not make a good wife/husband
      • I would be a terrible mother/father
      • I am a child
      • I am stupid
      • I am too old
      • Why should I even bother?
      • I am a moron
      • I am a terrible friend
      • I am a burden
      • I can’t ever get anything right
      • It’s too late for me to do it
    • If you have a hard time accepting yourself as you are right now
      1. Identify your personal conditions you have to meet to be worthy of being accepted and loved
      2. Analyze the conditions and expectations about why they block your happiness
      3. Analyze if the conditions are reasonable, rational or possible and develop healthy alternative goals that free you up to be more unconditional with yourself
      4. Recognize that the limits and rules of appropriateness you expect to conform to are rules for wellness and prosperity but have nothing to do with loving yourself
      5. Identify the necessary standards and limits in your life that are both politically sound but not a basis for your own self-love
      6. Practice removing any conditions as you face yourself to learn to love without limits
      7. Identify what fears or beliefs or habits keep you from being unconditionally loving to yourself and replace them with healthy alternatives
      8. Learn to be free to verbalize your open and unconditional acceptance of yourself that you’ll want to experience the full consequences of your actions and that those consequences do not affect your love of yourself
      9. Clarify the belief that “tough love” is continuously and unconditionally accepting yourself but holds you to be fully and personally responsible for your own actions and their consequences
  • Poor self-esteem is also a gateway to many harmful addictions
    • The Law of Diminishing Return shows that the more you put into something the less you will get out of it proportionally
    • An addiction is when a person disregards the diminishing return as they put more and more into something to get happiness
      • Though people think of drugs and alcohol, any substance or object can be an addiction
      • Any relationship with a person or a group will become an addiction if it becomes universally more important than anything else
      • Ideas and social states can become addictions if they become the requirement for happiness
    • Most addictions will halt any further personal development
      • If you have an addiction, you will need to accept that you need help to get out of it
      • Overcoming an addiction is a bit like treating yourself like a strong-willed small child
  • Learn to accept reality, which will take humility in your weakness and incapability
    • Accept what you can’t change
      • You cannot “fix” anyone else, and everything in yourself will take longer than you want
      • Be honest with yourself about your feelings and thoughts
      • Learn your limits
        • You will never be perfect, but you can be extremely good at something
    • Accept what you can’t know
      • Our natural desire for certainty is so huge that we handle knowing something bad is coming much better than uncertainty!
      • However, nothing but the present is fully guaranteed, certain, promised, absolute or consistent
        • The future is completely uncertain
        • The past is a faded and corrupted memory that is constantly changing
    • Take responsibility for yourself and be in personal control
      • Learn to stop making excuses
        • Most excuses have some sort of personal responsibility tied to them
  • Change your focus to a specific set of rules
    1. Dismiss the small stuff, such as minor annoyances, inconveniences and mistakes
    2. Think of the past as a learning experience and remove any other thoughts about it
      • Learn to make peace with the past and reconcile the painful parts of it, since wanting a better past will make you despise the learning process
      • If you can’t part with a past memory, find more ways to learn from it
      • To forgive yourself and others is to give up the hope of a better past
      • Find meaning in the loss you’ve experienced
    3. Become excited about how the future has many great possibilities, but stay rooted in the present
      • Beware of destination addiction, which is being preoccupied with the idea that happiness is in the next place, next job or next partner
      • Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, you’ll never be happy where you are
    4. Remove any emotional ties to others’ successes, failures or expectations
      • Let go of grudges
      • Remove any conditions for others’ approval
      • Remove any decision-making that is based on others’ decisions
    5. Focus all of your desire for action you can do in the present
      • Take each day one at a time
      • Look at problems as challenges
      • Create big dreams and small plans for yourself that challenge you, but can be reasonably attained
        • If the goals are too big, you will run out of energy before completing them
        • If the goals are too petty, they won’t feel like an accomplishment
      • Devote all of your energy to one thing at a time
      • Make backup plans if you are still anxious about anything that is present
      • Find the perfect balance on Ben-Shahar’s Happiness Model
        • happiness
        • Look at both the future and the present moment as having a tangible benefit
    6. Release any other thoughts that are nagging in the mind
      • Stop thinking anything that starts with “if only…”, “when this…”, or “how come…”
      • Give up the remainder of your problems to God as you understand Him
      • Learn to ultimately focus on one singular thing at a time
        • Multitasking is popular, but has been proven to cause unhappiness, unproductiveness and ineffectiveness
  • Learn patience in all its forms
    • Patience in time, to give opportunity for things to play out
    • Patience with others, to look for possible scenarios that make others’ actions justified
    • Patience with things, to accept that even working with your own two hands has limitations
    • Patience with yourself, in your failures and inability to be perfect
  • Think outside of the box
    • You always have options, but you sometimes have to look for them
      • Brainstorm bad ideas that are much worse than what you currently have to choose from
    • Learn to be thankful for what you have
      • An easy way to find things you’re thankful for is to look at the other good things that cause your problems
        • A broken-down car means that you still have a car
        • Nothing good to eat in the fridge means that there’s something to eat
        • Your job is lousy because you have a job
        • A broken leg snowboarding means that you got to go snowboarding
    • Take yourself less seriously and learn to have a sense of humor
    • Develop yourself spiritually
      • Trust that God is in control
      • Learn meditation
    • Learn to meet your own needs
      • Live minimalistically
    • Stay away from too much life in the big city or in the open countryside
  • Make your relationships with others matter more
    • Avoid discussing alienating things with strangers like religion or politics
      • If you want to convert anyone, show them your happiness first, then tell them why
    • Get involved with others
      • Make small talk with strangers regularly
      • Create meaningful conversations whenever you can
      • Join a volunteer organization or getting more involved at your church
      • Set a goal to make someone smile
    • Learn to be unafraid of showing that you’re human
      • Express your limitations
      • Share when you fail
    • Nurture worthwhile relationships with the right people
      • Learn to become a better friend
      • Praise other people
      • Express gratitude for those you love
      • Learn to appreciate people who are under-appreciated
      • Surround yourself with positive people
      • Avoid negative people for advice
    • Open yourself to new happiness-making opportunities, even if it takes work
      • Get more connected with your community
      • Get a pet
      • Take a plunge into a relationship and getting married
      • Have children or adopting

You will need to create a healing environment to maintain any sort of happiness

  • Healing environments can be felt clearly, but are sometimes harder to define
    • Group members are encouraged strongly to good things
      • Get better and bring themselves more and more into a state of good health
      • Be vulnerable to change and grow based on their own values
      • Be courageous and brave, where no problem is seen as too big or impossible
      • Show and receive physical affection
    • Nobody blames anyone for problems, but everyone is encouraged to support each other in changing and growing
      • There is no fear of condemnation, unfair punishment, abuse or banishment
    • There is zero tolerance for bitterness, belittling, rejection, resentment, revenge or unforgiveness
    • This is all built upon unconditional love by all of the members
      • Everyone is fully emotionally supportive, understanding, patient, sympathetic and caring
      • There is an overall universal commitment to one another to survive current crises for better causes
    • People with problems aren’t seen as bad, wrong or defective, but are instead seen as sick or ill
      • There is a universal view of “everyone is flawed” when approaching problems
      • Everyone is given a chance to love and be loved
      • There is a culture of trust that permits openness and honesty
        • Everyone seeks out open and direct feedback about their problems, concerns, faults and feelings
    • Disagreements are managed with clarity and directness
      • There are no power struggles to maintain emotional control of the environment
      • Nobody plays the role of victim or martyr
      • Nobody gets jumpy or defensive and critical feedback
      • Past mistakes, shortcomings, backsliding and failures are not factored into the conflict
  • A healing environment is not easy, and there are many obstacles that can stop one from happening
    • Unforgiveness, not understanding the need for forgiveness or unwillingness to release problems
    • Inability to accept personal responsibility for failings
      • This can also apply to consequences of actions, faults or errors
      • Many times this will be an inability to apologize for wrongdoing
    • Fearfulness of backsliding, being hurt again, being taken advantage of or losing more in the long-term
      • There will usually be a fear of taking risks, accepting change, failing or even success with this
      • This will manifest in a disbelief in anyone’s good intentions and a general noncommittal attitude toward the group
      • There will also be a lack of belief in one’s ability to meet the challenge to change and grow
    • Confusion over what is happening and inability to observe events
      • Inability to think deeply on problems and interpreting them literally instead of rationally
      • Inability to accept parts of the situation that don’t fit preconceived notions, expectations or fantasies of how things “should” be
      • Committed deeply and permanently to a relationship where the other parties aren’t being nurtured or growing
    • Avoiding any discussion about alternate viewpoints or different approaches
      • This is usually followed with name-calling, belittling, ignoring or condemning
    • Mental issues like depression or schizophrenia that forbid a healthy give-and-take engagement
      • This can show as a feeling of being a martyr instead of someone healing
      • The role of a parent often becomes of a caretaker instead of as a nurturer
    • Communication barriers that create an inability to solve problems
      • Inability to engage or receive on a feelings-based level
      • Not reading the nonverbal communication of others
      • Inability to solve problems verbally
  • There are plenty of reasons a healing environment isn’t present
    • High-stress or dysfunctional family backgrounds
      • Feeling of condemnation for “bad” behavior in the past instead of being treated as sick or ill
      • Immobilized through blaming, bickering, fighting, arguing, yelling, complaining or any other negative behavior
    • Withdrawn, silent or unable to communicate personal problems
      • Refusal to admit problems and unwilling to get help
      • Refusing to express fantasies and expectations of others
      • Ignores personal rights
    • Addictive problems with literally any substance
      • This can include being compelled to fix a home they came from, which almost never gets fixed from one of the children becoming enlightened about the truths of healthy relationships
      • This can also manifest in an addiction to a group such as an Anonymous group or other support group that values the group over literally everything else
    • Rigid and highly constricting religious, political or social beliefs
      • Inability or feeling unable to think or act independently with a sense of personal autonomy
      • Inability to say “no”, hear “yes” or “thank you”, laugh at oneself or be personally honest
    • Addiction to perfection, working/industriousness, or obsessively compulsive about tasks
    • Unfaithfulness sexually or emotionally
  • A lack of a healing environment doesn’t mean it can’t be developed
    • Everyone should believe a few things
      • Being hurt again is always worth the risk for a greater purpose
      • Forgiveness isn’t always easy, and it might happen again, but it’s always worth it
        • Holding onto a grudge is never worth it
      • They themselves are worth it as people to love and be loved
      • Everyone deserves a chance to heal and grow
        • Feelings are always legitimate and they should always be listened to, even if the reality they’re based on isn’t true
      • We all make mistakes, and any problems involve all parties to make mistakes
    • There are steps to creating a healing environment
      1. Assess why a healing environment is needed
        • Look at problems that affect your life, in what groups they exist and with whom
        • Look at whether people are willing to work with you on those problems and to what extent
        • If they’re not willing to work with you on the problems, whether you’re willing to stay in the environment and why
        • If someone was raised in a dysfunctional environment where members don’t want to discuss or fix the matter, it’s best to emotionally divorce and create a new one somewhere else
      2. Look at whether you have what’s necessary to begin creating a healing environment
        • Ask why each person you have problems with needs a healing environment
        • Figure out what healing behaviors need to be developed and by whom
        • Find out what obstacles exist that stop a healing environment
        • Look at the beliefs that need to be developed to create those healing behaviors
        • Find the problems in the environment itself that specifically will benefit from these changed behaviors
      3. Develop an action plan with the other people and clarify expectations
        • Agree what the problem is
        • Agree what possible solutions can resolve the problem
        • List the behaviors that need to be improved by each person
        • Agree on what outside help to use for resolving the problems
        • Clarify how any setbacks, relapses or backsliding will be resolved
        • Set a date and frequency to reassess everyone’s progress
          • Promise to revise the plan, create a new one or continue with the plan on that meeting date
        • Set target goals that indicate that a healing environment is starting to happen
        • Make everyone commit and have them sign and date it for full effect
      4. If all of this fails, go back and look at why a healing environment is needed

There are many good routines to improve your long-term happiness

  • Keep a journal or diary
    • Write down daily accomplishments and positive things you’re grateful for
    • Count your blessings
    • End the diary with questions about the future to inspire more journal entries
    • Reread it later to see how far you really have come
  • Get healthier
    • Eat reasonable portions on a consistent basis
    • Eat more fruits and vegetables
    • Exercise daily (20 minutes of it will improve the next 12 hours)
    • Practice breathing slowly
    • Drink a lot of water
  • Add hobbies that make life more meaningful
    • Find hobbies that bring new experiences instead of ones that get more things
    • Do something new every day
    • Do what you love the most
    • Drink tea
    • Find funny things to enjoy more often
    • Listen to music you love to inspire you or sad music to give an emotional release
    • Look for the small little pleasures of life
    • Learn to smile more, which has been proven to make you happier
    • Meditate for at least 10 minutes each day or join a yoga class
    • Read enriching and educational things for 10 minutes every day
    • Find beauty in common things and seek out beautiful things
    • Learn something new every week
  • Plan your daily routine to make your life easier
    • Prepare for the morning the night before
    • Schedule a play time into every day
    • Get enough sleep
    • Get up 15 minutes earlier
    • Recall 3 things that you’re grateful for every morning
    • Get up and take charge of the day, even if you don’t feel like it
    • Do a short morning workout to not feel guilty the rest of the day
    • Get to work early
    • Make copies of important papers
    • Make duplicate keys
    • Memorize where things go
  • Avoid things that can ruin your day
    • Don’t watch the news or get heavily engaged in politics
    • Avoid tight-fitting clothes
    • Repair or discard things that don’t work properly
    • Avoid smoking, drinking and drugs
    • Don’t procrastinate
    • Turn off social media
      • Everyone paints an image on social media that implies they are happier than they are
      • Those people are as unhappy (if not more) than you are
      • There is no benefit to reading a social media feed when you can contact them directly
      • To add to the endless stream of self-indulgence doesn’t add to your life or anyone else’s
      • If you feel inspired to share about yourself, try blogging or vlogging instead
    • Avoid traffic in your daily commute or find ways to not have to drive
    • Avoid making commitments to things that you may not be able to do
    • Set your goals as tiny as they can possibly be
  • Learn how to make long-term plans to avoid negative circumstances
  • Plan ahead for how to recover from another negative experience
    • Make a collection of music that always cheers you up
    • Learn to trust people more fully
    • Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people
    • Write down positive thoughts, fold them up and put them in a jar to pull out when you’re unhappy
    • Use a power outage to look at the night sky
  • Next January, start with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen, then empty it and read them all back on New Year’s Eve

If you have an especially hard time with any of this, you must learn forgiveness

Next: Happiness 104: How To Forgive & Release