Being happy can sometimes be challenging when you have a chronic illness. First there is the lack of dopamine and all the other physiological reasons. Then there are the daily challenges that can rack up, and zap our ability to be happy or positive. On those days, we may need to nudge ourselves in a more positive direction. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I’d rather have a short pity party, but then it’s time to get back on track.
Here are a few things that can zap happiness:
- Don’t “should” yourself all the time. I should do this, I should do that. It comes from a negative place. Say instead “I’d like to do this” or “I will do this”. And while we are at it, try not to “should” others in our lives.
- Comparing yourself to others. As FDR said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. It really doesn’t matter what others have done. Do what’s right for you. When you have a chronic illness, it can sometimes feel that everyone is whizzing past you in life. But it’s not a race. You do you.
- When you’re having a tough day, don’t pile on. It’s easy to start adding on other negative feelings or thoughts. Try to keep it to just that situation. You’ll get through it.
Practicing these things can create more happiness:
- Do little positive things each day. It’s not the grand gestures that make you happier, but the little daily habits that build on themselves.
- Exercise. It’s shown in studies that it not only helps us physically but can help reduce anxiety and depression.
- Spend time outdoors. Exercise, read, people watch, anything. Do it now while the weather is good.
- Socialize with others. Not only with friends and family, but casual relationships are also beneficial. So, chat with your postman each day or the cashier in your grocery store each time you see them.
- Write down two things each day that you’re grateful for. They can be the smallest things but write them down.
- If you want to keep it, give it away. Helping someone else can make you feel happier.