Friday, March 8, 2013

How to be happy

This just keeps coming up in my life lately.

Maybe because I'm generally an optimistic person and I'm struggling with that currently... but I keep running into things that remind me I need to be happy now.

I need to enjoy life today, and not push it back to some kind of deadline. The "I'll be happy when..." thing isn't cool, because you just never know what's coming.

Some things I'm trying to remember right now are:

1. Be Grateful
2. Someone's having a worse day than you.

So the gratitude thing.  I've heard of a lot of people keeping gratitude journals* lately.

I've decided it's really important to constantly recognize what you're grateful for...  Grateful people are happy people.  They look at the good things in their lives instead of dwelling on everything bad.  And dwelling on the positive things will change your perspective.

So I'm going to start keeping a gratitude journal of sorts... but I kind of want to pull my family into it and talk about what we're grateful for at dinner and write it down in a little notebook--I'll have to report back to show you how it goes :)

Okay, so a little story about how being grateful can change you:

So I was at the grocery store about six months ago.  I was still in my first trimester and feeling really crumby, my kids were going crazy at the store, whining, crawling out of the top of the cart, wanting to be held, dancing in the aisles... I know, I know there were only two, but things were getting a little crazy.  I felt nauseous and tired.  And my husband was out of town... for 12 weeks... this was somewhere in the middle of it.

So I prayed, a really whiny prayer in my head in the grocery store.  Something to the effect of I'm soooo tired, I'm sick of this, I just want to be done with this trip... and I was literally on the verge of tears.

And an interesting thing happened.  An image of a third world country popped up in my head.  And all these things came to my mind:

You have food.  You have water.  You have money to pay for your food.  You have air conditioning.  All the food is here in one large store.

All these things just flooded my mind.  I thought about how women have to carry their children on their backs, get food from markets, some don't have money to feed their kids.

And it changed my attitude... I was grateful.  I could suddenly handle these goofy kids and my luxury life.  It was humbling.  

The other thing to remember is... Someone is having a worse day than you.

So I'm due at the end of the month.  I haven't been feeling well lately.  I had a really awesome, long 2nd trimester and then things kind of plummeted a couple of weeks ago.

I've been having a hard time.  I have super emotional, super cranky, super tired.  I'm ready to be done.  I've hit the point where I keep thinking:  I hate being pregnant.

But I've been trying to remember that it really isn't so bad... and that I need to look around me.  Everyone has something that they are struggling with, and if you can help someone, you might just feel a little bit better.

I recently found out a girl I knew growing up is having a really rough time.

She was pregnant and living in Germany with her husband when she broke her arm.  Breaking your arm would be difficult anytime, but when your pregnant and not feeling well... It would be worse. When she got it x-rayed they realized she has a rapidly progressing bone cancer.

They decided to deliver her baby a tiny, healthy, baby girl, and three days later the mom had to start Chemo.  She now is living in the US being treated, while her husband still has to finish his time in Germany.

She is grateful she broke her arm, so that they found the cancer.

Another friend's relative had a baby boy a month or so ago, just before they were about to leave the hospital the doctor checked him one last time and realized something was very seriously wrong with him.  Since then he's had multiple procedures and been in various hospitals.  You can read about his progress here.  

My sister-in-law and her sister (Hi Jenny :) ) have Cystic Fibrosis. Sometimes I need to remember what a blessing it is to be able to breathe.

I can't even imagine going through these things.  Here I am whining about a normal pregnancy, and all the "crazy" things in my life... when I should be grateful for what I do have.

Someone is having a worse day than you.  Go and find out how you can make it better.  You will be happier.

Any other thoughts out there?  What do you do to be happy?

*Random Rant:  I don't know why, but Oprah ruined this for me. I know Oprah does a lot of good things with her money/power/etc.  But I didn't like the show, I only watched it once or twice.  I guess it's the interview thing, where she's like digging into the souls of people on tv to millions of people and they are hurting about whatever they are going through and then she'd dissect them on television... it just seemed cruel and manipulative.  Plus people practically worshiped her... Anyway.  So anyway the fact that Oprah has plugged having a gratitude journal kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.  I'm getting over myself though :)

No comments:

Post a Comment