1. Actively seek ways to help others.
This is so, so important. If I try to identify the happiest moments in my life, the highlights repeatedly include times where I have helped someone else succeed or helped create a positive change in the lives of others. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” So, if you find yourself lost, having a bad day, or facing a difficult time in general, try taking the focus off yourself for a bit to do something for someone else. Whether you take time to volunteer for a cause that matters to you or just offer a hand to a friend in need, helping others is the easiest way to, simply put, feel good. Offering help broadens your perspective to the problems people face, and in turn, makes you more appreciative of what you have. Furthermore, giving back, in whatever way you can, also allows you a sense of accomplishment in having made a change. If you believe in karma, you’ll agree with me when I say that if you give good, good will come back to you in return.
2. Keep a record of what makes you happy.
In the last few months, I completed the “100 Happy Days” challenge, in which I posted one picture daily of something that had made me happy that day. The picture could be of anything, no matter how small. Although this was a very simple task to do, it altered my mindset drastically. It helped me appreciate the small joys I overlooked on a daily basis, such as getting hot breakfast in the morning or hitting all greens while driving. More importantly, even on bad days, it forced me to recognize and value the good I had experienced. Even though my 100 Happy Days challenge is over, I still take the time to write in a happiness journal daily. It doesn’t have to be through photos or words, but I strongly encourage you to find some way to record what makes you happy each and every day. It only takes a few minutes, and the self-reflection naturally helps you identify and appreciate the most positive parts of your life. In turn, you’ll feel a change in your mindset, and that is the most powerful change you can make.
3. Accept that there are things you cannot change, but change what you can.
As someone who finds security in being able to maintain control, this was perhaps the hardest lesson for me to learn. You will certainly find yourself powerless in some situations you face, and fighting that fact will only make the situation worse. Whether it is something small like the weather or more impactful like an illness, you definitely can’t always change what happens to you. However, what you do control is your reaction to any situation you find yourself in, and it is your responsibility to respond in positive manner. Negative reactions (i.e. complaining, getting angry, becoming unresponsive) not only extend the time it takes for you to accept the problem and act positively, but also only worsen the situation in the meantime. A far better tactic is to learn to accept any situation that is beyond your power, and instead, expend your energy in seeking ways to better what you can. Don’t sulk about the rain; carry an umbrella.
These lessons have helped me manoeuvre myself through so many difficult situations. It is inevitable that life will sometimes lead us into apparent darkness, but I hope these three points can help you flick the switch when you need it most!
This blog post was written by Faghya Shafiq, a CPPA Connect mentee. You can connect with Faghya via the following channels: