“Nothing in this world can torment you as much as your own thoughts.”-Anonymous
Two people very close to me are dealing with mental health issues in their lives. While one has shut herself to the world completely, other one is finding it hard to express what’s going on on her mind. It’s really difficult when people close to you are going through something inexplainable and mentally destructive. It takes a while to come out of such situations and see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel very helpless to see them in pain and it hurts me to not know what to do to make them feel better.
I remember going through something similar last year. It took a while for me to get back on tracks and finally have a reason to wake up in the morning. I absolutely HATE it when I lose control of my life. Our thoughts, especially the negative ones, have the power to make you feel like crap and physically drain you of all your energy. Yes, it’s that intense! To come out of such situations, we need to find life worth living. Mental health issues give you every reason to lose hope and interest in life. When you finally snap out of it (and YOU WILL), you realize that your life is WORTH living and your existence matters more than the world to a lot of people.
Being happy is not a moment, it’s a daily, conscious practice. It’s hard work but extremely fulfilling.
There are certain daily rituals I forced myself to incorporate so that I never revisit that dark part of my life anymore. I am not practicing any of them now and can see a dip in my energy and happiness levels. I don’t know if this a sure shot way of living a happy life but they worked for me in the past. Doing these on a daily basis did help divert my mind from negative chatter box. Everyone has two voices in their heads, just like the angel and devil voices they show on TV. When I was on my fitness journey 2.5 years back, I mostly listened to my positive voice and was able to find the confidence to continue the hard task. The negative voice paid an occasional visit to destroy my confidence but my positive voice was relentless.
So what was my daily practice?
- GRATITUDE JOURNALING : This one is very important. I and my mom went for a walk outside today when we passed by group of homeless people. It was a large family with small kids without a house over their head or food to eat. I noticed that the mother in this family was playing with her kid, who was really having fun. They were happy! I on the other hand, live in a big spacious house, splurge money on food takeaways and can buy anything that my mind desires (within my budget and capacity) right away! Yet, there were occasions when I found it difficult to be happy? How? Why? Compared to many people on this planet who don’t even know where the next morsel of their food is coming from, I am privileged and blessed to have everything I want in life. The least I can do is be grateful for all my blessings. It’s very important to spend a good amount of time each day (at least 10 minutes) to write down 3 things that you are grateful for and feel it deeply when you thank the Universe for it. You can top it off by writing down 3 highlights of each day at the end of it, to pay attention to all the great things that happened during the day. Many a times, we just breeze through a day on auto pilot mode without paying any attention to it. Don’t live for the big days, every day has something to offer, make each day worthwhile.
- MEDITATE : I cannot stress enough on the benefits of meditation. Again, this one is not a one time thing. You need to follow it daily, consciously and consistently to reap it’s rich rewards. It helps you to not dwell on any thoughts, especially the dark ones. It trains your mind to step out of it’s place and view our thoughts as passersby on a busy street. Eventually, with practice, our mind will be able to focus better, learn to let go, not be sucked away by negative thoughts and just in general, be happy.
- WORKOUT : We all know that working out releases endorphins, which are known as the happiness hormones. So yes, working out guarantees a feeling of fulfillment and happiness by the end of it. Now, people might be busy in their daily lives to find out time for workouts. Even a 5 minute jump rope session can be effective than no workouts. And you most definitely can find 5 minutes each day for yourself.
- JOURNALING : When we are going through a rough patch in life, all we want to know is that we are heard. But many a times, the people around us, friends and family won’t really understand what we are dealing with. They might not have the right words to make us feel better or the time to patiently hear us out. Although a journal might not be able to provide you a solution, it will LISTEN to you. Write down everything, the good, back and ugly and live each day as it comes. Be present in your life and focus on the moment.
I know I have mentioned this many times before but I wanted to reiterate it because of my closed one’s mental health issues. If I was granted one wish in life, I will ask for the absolute and total removal of mental health issues (anxiety, depression, fear, judgements, prolonged sadness, trauma etc) from each and everyone’s lives. Till the time I am granted this wish, I am going to practice my way to happiness.
Trust me, it’s not that hard.