Even though the Declaration of Independence cites the “pursuit of happiness” as an unalienable right, a recent Pew Research Center poll discovered that just one-third (34 percent) of adults in this country say they’re very happy. Here are ways to bring more happiness into your life, even while you are grieving.
1. Tap into resilience. You are much stronger, wiser, capable, talented than you may know. No matter how difficult your life may be just now, tap into your inner strength and talent. Step up to the challenge you are facing.
Consider this wisdom: Look within in the silence. Your soul is waiting to tell you everything you know. ~ Alison Stormwolf
2. Purge. Get rid of something that is a negative symbol for you. Purging yourself of an object that has negative energy opens the door to joy and happiness. When her husband died after a lengthy battle with multiple sclerosis, “his wheelchair, the symbol of our mutual imprisonment to his disease, was the first thing to go,” said his wife.
Consider this wisdom: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. ~ William Morris
3. Practice compassion. The English word compassion is used to translate the Sanskrit word ‘karuna,’ which means ‘suspending happiness.’ Reach out with love, kindness and compassion to someone else who is in a tough place. For a few moments every day, suspend your own happiness to focus on another.
Consider this wisdom: If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~ Dalai Lama
4. Learn something new. Even though you may be out of school, view yourself as a lifelong student. Learn new things—a language, a hobby, a skill, a sport, etc.
Consider this wisdom: Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. ~ Henry Ford
5. Forgive. If you’ve blundered, forgive yourself, try to make amends and then let it go. If you’ve been hurt, forgive the person and move on with your life.
Consider this wisdom: To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~ Lewis Smedes
6. Transition from setback to comeback. It’s impossible to go through life without experiencing disappointment and discouragement. When those enter your life, absorb what has happened, learn from it, and then, move from setback to comeback.
Consider this wisdom: I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. ~ Steve Jobs
7. Increase your creativity. Do something creative that you have only dreamed about—write poetry, start writing a novel, create art, start photography. You’ve been born with great creativity and just need to tap into it. Tackle it with the unbridled enthusiasm
of a child.
Consider this wisdom: Great is the human who has not lost his childlike
heart. ~ Mencius
8. Let the past go. Refuse to be a hostage to your past. Let go of negative or painful circumstances, situations, people and even your own past decisions. Remind yourself that you can and will write a new chapter for your life. In it, you will be the starring new character.
Consider this wisdom: Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~ Oprah Winfrey
Victor M. Parachin, M. Div., is a bereavement educator and grief counselor.
He is the author of numerous books about grief, including
The Lord Is My Shepherd:
A Psalm For The Grieving and Healing Grief.