Stress management and techniques to happiness

by Mary Ann on December 1, 2010

grandfather laughing picture

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each  morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved  perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After  many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled  sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description  of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.  I love it,’ he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just  been presented with a new puppy.

Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.’

‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ he replied.

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.

Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.  ‘It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away… Just for this time in my life.
happiness picture

I really enjoyed reading this short story because it highlights a important law of success – it happens in our minds first.

The truth is that happiness is an attitude. It’s not something created by outside circumstances, but instead is completely within our control.

The other day Don did something that really ruffled my feathers! I felt the anger well up and the inner pout come on. As I stood at the sink I realized that I had a choice to make. I could be angry and let Don know it or I could flush what was bothering me and just be happy.

I decided to let it go and just be happy.

Gee, it wasn’t easy. That negative emotion just wanted to run around and around in my brain replaying whatever it was that was upsetting me. So I had to find a way to shove it out for good. I choose to be grateful. I began thinking up a list in my mind of all the things that I like about Don, all the fun and pleasant memories that I have of the two of us. Guess what, the negative feeling dissipated and I felt happy.

As we parent our families there is plenty to stress us. Children aren’t perfect, we aren’t perfect, systems and tools don’t always work the way we want them to, sad things happen, bad things happen, relationships can turn bumpy, our family culture is often a poignant mirror of all the work we need to do.

Despite all this we can choose to be happy. Here are a few techniques to help you get happy when you’re tempted to be something else,or in other words,the happiness laws.

1. Be grateful – This tops my list. It works every time. When I am feeling really put out or downtrodden, if I begin thinking about all the wonderful parts of my life I just can’t help but perk right up.

2. Take care of yourself – What are some of the small things in life that make you feel good? Do one daily. Take a short walk, write for a few minutes in your journal, have a short meditation, watch the sunset, hug a child. For me, it is a hot shower just before bed every day. I love it! Whatever reminds you that you are a human being and not a human doing will improve your outlook on life.

3. Be creative – Creativity and self-expression generate happiness. Schedule some creative time each day, even if it’s just a few minutes of writing, painting, baking or sewing.

4. Move – Move a little every day to stay happy. It releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone.

5. Read inspirational material – It helps to be reminded of positive thoughts and positive attitudes. Read in your spiritual cannon or get a small book of positive, inspirational thoughts and keep it by your desk. Read one or two thoughts each day.

7. Contribute – Serve others. Think about the needs of others. Make a difference. It boosts your self-esteem, your gratitude and feeling of well being.

8. Be in nature – Nature rejuvenates and restores the human spirit. Give yourself the gift of visiting it frequently. Take the kids to the park! : )

No matter how many wonderful things you do to create a positive, happy, satisfied life, you could still end up in unhappy stressed situations. Ultimately, happiness, gratitude, and a feeling of satisfaction is a choice.

Remember that it is a principle that what you focus on you get more of so focus on feeling and being happy. It is a gift that you give to yourself and your family.happy family picture

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacqueline Johns - Your Happy Life Mentor December 2, 2010 at 12:42 am

Yes, gratitude is definitely the secret!!

I defy anyone to be grateful and unhappy at the same time. The beauty of it is, it is always available to us – there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for, it’s just a matter of CHOOSING to focus on it.

Ain’t life grand?

Live Life Happy!


Kimberly December 3, 2010 at 2:02 am

Thank you so much for this inspirational story and great tips. I’ve seen for myself that I can stop and change directions emotionally. When I find myself getting agree, I remind myself (sometimes out loud) my reaction is a CHOICE. It takes practice, and your post will inspire me to me more conscious of my reactions and attitudes! Thank you.


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