Mark Twain

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#11 Personal Peace

We all know people who seem happy and sunny all the time, as well as others who never seem to have a good day and always see the unhappy side of life. Whether these two sides of the coin are the result of habit, or chemistry or genetics is the discussion of many self-help books.

Being happy and peaceful mentally is usually my default state - what my personality eventually settles down to unaided - regardless of the stress trigger. I would like to say that I am fully responsible for my generally happy and positive outlook on life, but I also guess that there may be a genetic "gift" involved in the mix as well.

But life can send you a massive unexpected curve ball or a loss from the most unlikeliest of places, and that happy state of mind is extinguished in the blink of an eye. All of us have experienced this situation to a greater or lessor extent. You struggle to find answers, adjust your thinking and move on. From my perspective, adjusting and moving on has never required much effort - now I find it requires purposeful action. It should probably be on my list of goals.

That is where I am now: adjusting and accepting a new reality, working my way back to a happy, peaceful state, and moving on. And each day I make progress and the moving on gets easier. These activities help.
  • Think things through and make positive choices for yourself (sometimes very difficult ones), and then live your life with those choices in mind.
  • Time - time is my friend. No matter what the problem is, time and space usually heals.
  • Exercise - walking almost always makes the unbearable - bearable. It doesn't "fix" things, but it provides a brief respite when the world seems better than just a short time ago.
  • Cleaning - when I am unsettled, I find myself ... (I know you will find this unbelievable) ... I find myself cleaning house. Even aggressively cleaning bathrooms becomes a barometer of my mental state. Right now my bathrooms could be cleaner - guess that is a good sign. :-) De-cluttering becomes a focus - simpler environments always settle my mind. Lately I have been a de-clutter maniac.
  • Listening to audio books and pod casts and reading - these mental distractions are effective as well.
  • Seek the company of friends. Thankfully I have an abundance of wonderful people in my life.
  • Pray.
So what do you do when you are looking for a way to redirect your mind and to cope with stress or a loss?

2 comments:

  1. Yes we all go through those times and I think surviving them each time makes us stronger for the next "event". What you are talking about is resilience. I keep occupied and got some very good advice from a pro years ago, to carve out several hours each day to immerse myself in something that is all mine, not involved with the problem at all to give my mind and emotions a complete rest. This was some of the best advice I have ever had. I stay busy too, do some clearing out too, read something that really immerses me, and of course my hobbies especially mindless knitting are balm for the spirit.

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  2. When unhappy or bad things happen to me my first thing is to pray and ask God to help me through it. He has never failed me! Walking always helps and being with friends and being thankful for the good things in my life. And knowing that this too shall pass.

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