Become happier by your new version
By this age, I have experienced the highs and lows of life. From cradle to senior status, I have survived turmoils and turbulence in events and emotions. I concede that my troubles are nothing compared to many all over the world who are facing doom, impending death, and suffering.
I am speaking about the events that spring up every day and it may erupt anytime, anywhere just when you least expect it. I refer to the daily annoyances of working and private life. The usual reactions were being utterly upset, shocked, saddened, and greatly frustrated.
If you were to look back, most events and incidents die down or become alleviated because some actions were taken or some decisions were made. But in the interim, the unhappiness, the uproar, the disharmony that resulted were all futile. It need not have to be that way.
These days, I go about my life trying not to be ruffled by anything. It may be hard because some people or events are just provocative but does it help to scream and shout the problems away? Most troubles are caused by people themselves or even self-created and only you can assuage your supposed problems.
Taking the following steps would help.
- Change of perspective
When an unhappy thing happens, I always look for the silver lining in the grey cloud. Something as mundane as choosing a color for your room and decorating the way you want may be highjacked by your family member because he or she is domineering and thinks that is the best option for you. It happened to a friend and many quarrels ensued.
Her pride had been trampled on, her choice disregarded and her sense of respect robbed. After much sharing, I proposed that she sees it as a gift of love and concern from her partner who cares enough to crack his head over her room. Otherwise, why would he go to that length? Decorating a room requires time, effort, and creativity and my friend agrees that she has none of these elements.
After the advice, she went about doing something else for her room such as looking for some decorative pieces and bathroom accessories which themselves are time-consuming activities.
Problem solved. Sometime later, when the opportunity avails, she could always have the room repainted.
In such times, retrenchment has become the by-word. A friend was so visibly upset when she was laid-off that she bordered on a breakdown. After much analysis, she conceded that she had been complacent and sitting on her laurels, not upskilling herself. Her contemporaries who stayed had the extra edge over her. While she was passing each day unremarkably, her colleagues have been displaying new skills and gaining new knowledge pertinent to the survival of the company.
The only way is to see it as a lesson as no amount of hollering would help. She grabbed the next job even at a severe pay cut, doing two jobs if necessary. Meanwhile, she upped the ante and used the government grants to upskill in some relevant courses. Out of necessity, her passion for work grew.
At the next interview, she shone and snared the job with a more decent pay. Because she viewed her predicament as a lesson, she was able to take positive action and came out stronger.
2 Control your emotions
Expressing emotions is the most human thing to do. But emotions when extreme can be destructive. I prefer a sort of temperance that allows your mind to be calm and steady which also affects your stance and behavior and most important your rationale.
As a dentist, my job can be fraught with uncertainties. Patients of all kinds come to my clinic. Some have had bad experiences and most do not like the dentists and would give the dental clinic a miss if they can help it. To deal with an angry or demanding patient requires another master’s degree to put it mildly.
My principle in handling these cases is never to fight fire with fire. I go soft when they go loud. I let patients vent first whether they are complaining about their previous dentists or unreasonable bosses or the damn pain. Even when I know that the next patient had booked for a difficult wisdom tooth operation and I am pressed for time.
Once the patients have said their peace, they usually felt better. Though under the stress of the daily schedule, I would do what is necessary and that is to diagnose accurately and alleviate the pain first. Comprehensive treatment planning may be dispensed and provided on another appointment when the patient is more receptive. In the next appointment, I find the patient highly manageable.
Once, during a difficult operation, where the tooth root was impossible to extract because of a dense bone condition, I would immediately decide on a small surgical option where some bone was removed so that the tooth root was accessible. There was no sense of feeling frustrated.
Short rest in between made the patient more relaxed and everything always turned out fine. I have always communicated the possibility of a surgical option even a referral if necessary and obtain the informed consent.
During such unprecedented times, one may view many aggressive videos of people fighting over the slightest issues. The restrictions of quarantine and Covid-19 consequences have caused people to rear their ugly heads.
Humans retrogressed into their basic animal instincts — fight or flee over the smallest issues. Anger, pride, greed, and envy overtook them and it is all for oneself and none for others. The slightest provocation and the negative emotions run amok.
Controlling your emotions is the panacea. Visualize the undesirable consequences that may result and look at the alternative way to respond rather than react will do well for everyone.
Take the time to catch your breath, let not the events of the world sweep you off your feet, meditate, pray, and think. Control what you can, let go of anything beyond your control. Retreat for a while, be still, trust yourself to come up with an idea. It may take time but everything works out in the end.
Many incidents stemmed from misunderstandings. In today’s hectic world, people do not listen well and jump to their conclusions. When things go wrong, they are quick to point their fingers at others.
To this end, I believe that when a task is given to somebody, there should be clear leads and goals. In the company, colleagues turn foes when the project is upended. It would do well to apologize when the mistake is clearly on your side. The magic words, “ I am truly sorry” and followed by “ It will not happen again” heals all ugly incidents.
Communication is paramount for success to be achieved. Be succinct in what you say and do. Reasons for not carrying out as promised should be given. When matters are clarified, there is no rationale for ill feelings. The other important phrase is, “ Thank you very much” and “ I appreciate that” are music to anyone’s ears.
Listen more, talk less and you become the most sought after buddy anyone can have. When you run into a problem, your friends would be all ears for you too. These basic principles should also be carried back home to your spouses and your family members and you will be surprised that the home can truly become a haven or sanctuary.
As I journal, I practice these steps daily. I must say that I am a happier person because I am reaping the benefits of these habits. I hope that you would give them a try too. It is natural to lapse into our instincts or unawareness now and then but persist and you will be amazed at the new, happier you.