Want to feel better?

People are suffering all over this country at the moment.  I heard a story the other day which really hit me hard. That of a teenage girl who was skipping school on Thursday and Friday because she was being bullied. The timing element was due to their being no electricity at home due to her family being unable to pay off their Electricity bill.  I hear similar stories of folks being cut off, on arrears and losing jobs – all over. Times are tough there is no doubt.  And people are suffering. Some suffering however is brought about by ones attitude. I have been speaking to lots of people and I find its surprising how useful a simple change of perspective can be for many of the people I talk to.

I can recommend three simple exercises to make yourself feel better.

The first is to let go of attachments. According to some traditions attachments are the major source of unhappiness. Attachments to the “things” in your life that are not strictly necessary – that flash car, that social scene you used to have, that high powered role you played, that group relationship you had. If you really look you will realise that you don’t NEED a lot of the things you worry about. It helps to make a list of the attachments you have and list those you could not survive without. I have met a number of people on my travels (and I’ve been there) who had to give up the flash car and the golf club membership and beat themselves up daily because of what’s gone. Rather than focus on what they do have – like health and family.

The second is to engender Gratitude. I went through some hard times in the early Noughties and was feeling miserable as a result. That was until I saw friends of mine going through suffering which involved their family which put my problems in such perspective as to almost make them disappear. I suddenly became grateful for what I had rather than mourn for what I had lost. Just that simple change in your perspective can alter your whole outlook. You should always spend a little time each day focusing on what you are grateful for. Even a minute, two or three times per day, will do it.

The third exercise is to look at the choices you have and the choices you make each day. I find that much bad feeling is around helplessness. It helps to understand that you are not without options and resources. When problems arise you look at them and analyze them and then you need to make a choice – what to do. We always have options open to us the trick is to find them. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the weight of what’s in front of us. The problem can usually be broken into small bits. The problem can usually be resolved over time with small steps. Small goals. When you break it into small steps then the key is NOW. What can you do NOW?  What can I do right now to start resolving the problem? What choices do I have?

The good news on these three exercises is that they cost you nothing,  they are within your power and I have seen them work on others and also used them myself. If you are feeling low, helpless and stuck, try them to shake yourself loose, get the energy back in your life and get moving in the right direction.

Aidan Higgins

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