Is there a way to make it easier?
This week I've had 2 adult male patients, in very different stages of life say almost the same thing. The other one was: "Why does it have to be so hard?"
(artist, image on right, Daniel Healey, 2008)
It does, in fact take thought and conscious effort to be you---all that you were meant to be or all that you want to be. At this stage in human development, a happy fulfilled life is not automatic. In fact, people who shun self-reflection and do expect a good life without doing any personal work are usually the most unhappy, after all. An uncomplicated example: If you simply take the first job you land in, after school, get enamored of the money coming in and don't try to discover what work would be meaningful to you, you can find yourself, years later, a misfit.
One thing that is much more available now to more people is, choice. You make many choices and decisions along the way that can be life-altering. Without some time spent searching inwardly and thinking about your choices, your life can fall off course.
Here are some simple strategies you can begin right away that can start you in the right direction:
- Highlight your positive experiences
- Substitute gratitude for worry and also, for tension
- Try to make someone in your family happier
- Contribute some volunteer time to your community
- Improve your psychological well-being by practicing forgiveness
Two ways that a therapist can help you feel better are to offer a safe place to re-visit some of your past painful experiences and, instead of feeling alone, scared, or confused, you can associate that memory with a respectful caring guide, with a comfortable protected setting, and a process of trying to understand.The second way seems so simple but is really profound. We have found that the easy-seeming act of naming your feelings, putting words to them helps to settle the brain; it lessens any activity that may be going on in your brain's alarm system. Sometimes a therapist will label the feeling you are expressing, for you, or-at least suggest a label. If it resonates with you, then you also receive that wonderful moment of feeling understood.