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Happiness Under Duress

We will go thru times that test us. That make us wonder whether we have what it takes to make it thru that light at the end of the tunnel. Those times come and go like the tidal waves. They give us fits and indecisions. Everyone goes thru periods of struggle - regardless of how good they have it in life.


And I am no different. I’ve been going thru these moments these days. Some days are heavy. And the fog feels like it’s clouding me to make proper decisions. Sometimes, it feels like things will just stay down forever without a change. At those times, it’s hard to stay happy under duress.


To feel at peace in the moment. To stay present. To feel grateful. To be happy in general. When life gets you down, that’s when the true test occurs. That’s when it is time to rise up and practice your well-being.


It’s when we’re under duress do we truly know how it feels in the moment. We can use these times as a teaching lesson. A time when we figure things out. When we test the waters so to speak.


With relationship issues, it is hard. We humans are wired for social connection and when we lose a close relationship, it can be devastating and heartbreaking. I’ve been googling how to feel happy amidst broken relationships. How can you maintain that ray of sunshine when it feels like things are crumbling around you?


How do you administer hope? How do you administer peace? Regardless of the swirling external circumstances? It’s possible. You just need to make lemons out of lemonade. You need to see the silver lining of everything. Continue to develop yourself. Raise your awareness and perspective. See the humor of it all. Try to practice gratitude even thru the dark and sad times.


It’s possible. Happiness under duress is possible. I need to continue reminding myself that happiness does not depend on external moments. It’s not how much you earn. How good or bad your relationships are. Whether you got that promotion. Or found your soulmate. All that stuff is good and well. But, happiness comes from within.


And that’s the beauty of it all. The fact that we can be at peace and happy regardless of what goes on around us. When the external situation is dire, then that is the moment when we can practice truthfully and honestly. Meditate and stay grateful. Shift your perspective. Don’t worry too much about feeling that pain and anguish. The pain will come and that’s okay. Learn to feel it out. Process it. And then let it go. It’s possible.


To feel happiness and optimism under duress. It’s possible for all of us. When I was going thru my bout with social anxiety, I didn’t even think about staying happy every day. That wasn’t even a goal on my radar screen. And I think, ironically, that lack of a chase made me happier. The fact that I wasn’t intentionally pursuing the concept of peace or happiness. That I was just living my own life.


And I was okay with the Saturday evenings when I’m just curled up by myself at home with a good book to read. I was okay with hanging out “just” with my parents, instead of going out to a busy bar with friends and networking. I was okay with those quiet moments in my room. Being “alone”. Even though technically we are never alone.


Happiness under duress is possible. When we come under stress, that is the perfect moment to remind ourselves to practice and be grateful. To simply be with the feelings that come sweep you off your feet. To feel it out. And be okay with everything that comes your way. Whether we label it as good or bad is completely up to us. That’s the beauty of it.


We can shift our mindset (easier said than done) to encompass a feeling of gratitude and well-being. It’s something that comes with practice. The more we come under duress, the more we should feel grateful for this moment of practice. Because that’s the only way we toughen up and persevere. That’s the way we move forward in life.


I am thankful that I have a healthy support system of friends and family to fall back on. And I am grateful that I am still relatively healthy from a mental and physical standpoint. I am on the track of personal growth and I will continue to do so regardless of the external nature that surrounds me. I will have feelings of sadness and depression. That will come naturally. But, I will learn to be okay with those feelings and not purposely push them away.


I will try to find meaning under times of duress and turn it into a moment of learning. A moment to achieve a greater sense of purpose. I will not get too caught up with all the “happy” pictures posted on social media - knowing that they are at most a highlight reel of other people’s lives. And that most people are happy at times and sad at times. It really depends. No one is jumping off the wall in ecstasy and bliss 24/7. That’s just not possible. So, don’t get too caught up in comparing how you’re doing with others.


I will learn to work at my one pace. Take it one step at a time. Take it easy when necessary. And appreciate the simple and the mundane. The fact that I can breathe. That I have a roof over my head. That I have a full tummy. That I still have my parents in my life. That I have wonderful friends and family. That there are a wealth of resources out there in my community. I will continue to appreciate the “boring” and “ordinary” moments. Knowing that there is great learning opportunities within each of them.


I will continue to find optimism and happiness and peace even during times of stress and anxiety. In times of anguish, I will continue to find the silver lining amongst them all. I will continue to see the beauty and wonder of life. And I will stay resilient in the face of obstacles. Because we humans usually find a way out of the darkness. We find ways to persevere, to learn, to grow, to better ourselves in the darkest of times. We are not alone in our suffering. And at the end of the day, it will all be okay.

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