Finding the Positive in Difficult Situations

In these challenging times it can be hard to manage our feelings and find the happiness in the every day. Jennifer Valentyne interviewed me on Global News this morning to find the positive in difficult situations.

How can we be happy during this time of uncertainty?

In talking about “finding happiness”, we need to expose the myth of happiness.

The Happiness Myth:

The myth is that we’re supposed to be happy all of the time; and, when we’re feeling unhappy it means something is wrong.

The problem with this widely held belief is that it creates more discontent. Think of it this way: When you feel unhappy, your unhappiness about being unhappy increases. It becomes a vicious circle.

So what can you do to “find happiness” during difficult times — including this current pandemic?

#1: Accept Your Emotions

People are struggling emotionally right now. They’re struggling with stress, sadness, frustration, depression, boredom, and so much more.

Of course we’re feeling a multitude of emotions — our entire world has shifted!

It’s okay to feel the way you do. That being said, if you’re feeling overly depressed, please make sure you talk to someone for help.

(By the way, if YOU know someone who is struggling right now, please forward this message to help him or her.)

#2: Reach Towards a Meaningful Goal

The pursuit of a meaningful goal plays an important role in your psychological wellbeing. You’ll find you’re happier and more satisfied in life when you’re making progress towards something that matters to you.

It’s important to understand happiness itself is not the goal.

Happiness is a by-product of reaching towards a worthwhile goal—especially when that goal is a cause greater than yourself.

#3 Choose Your Response

It’s been said time and time again:

You can’t always choose what happens to you in life, but you can choose how you respond.

We didn’t choose this pandemic, but we can choose how we respond to what’s happening.

One way to do that is to shift your focus.

For instance, last week, I posed this question on Facebook:

“If you were to consider this pandemic was happening “for us” (our world, our families, and ourselves) instead of “to us”, what benefits do you see?”

The answers were incredible and included things like:

  • Healing of the environment
  • More time with family
  • Seeing what is truly important
  • Greater awareness of human impact on the planet
  • Spending less frivolously . . . and so much more!

Is it necessary to suffer to find meaning? No.

However, we can find meaning in life in spite of suffering. And when we choose to find the meaning and see the purpose in our difficulties, suffering ceases, or at the very least eases, making room for happiness to enter our lives.

All my best,
Denise Marek