Happiness: How to Be Up During Down Times
While most of us realize that life is filled with ups and downs, we don’t usually remind ourselves of this reality on a regular basis. There will always be moments when we feel the world is ours and we can conquer anything. Then, suddenly, we can be hit with a major adversity that makes us forget our previous feelings of power.
Although we would like to maintain a state of ecstasy, reality contains the full spectrum of experiences. Thus, we must embrace the extremes of good times as well as the down times. Consider the fact that if life were made up of only good times, we as humans would eventually adapt and find that the positive moments were becoming stressful. Yes, that’s right, continuous positive experiences can become stressful.
As a former research scientist, I can tell you that organisms adapt to their level of reality. Positive moments can become stressful because we must feel the opposite, negative extreme in order to develop a point of reference. It’s only then that we can appreciate our good times.
For example, I love ice cream. But if I ate it and nothing else, I would definitely find it stressful in a number of ways. So, what are these down times all about? Are they real? Is there any relief from them? How can we avoid them in the future? All human beings who have ever walked on this planet have asked these same questions. When people ask these questions, they are simply playing games with themselves. They don’t want to accept that life is made up of highs and lows. For some reason, humans assume that life should never contain problems or highs and lows; and if it does then there’s something wrong with their lives.
Yes, the down times are real. Problems are real. We just have to embrace the fact that life has problems. In fact, anyone past the age of 15 has probably thought that life is filled with problems. When a person realizes that life is filled with adversities, he or she has a choice. You can try to run and hide or simply keep focused on where you want to go.
You might be asking, “Is remaining focused a form of denial?” Probably. But more importantly, it is necessary for survival. This attitude increases your happiness during those down times. When you receive a notice of a layoff, a death, or experience a divorce or severance of a relationship, or any of a wide variety of devastating problems that most of us face sometimes, you have a choice. You can choose to have these things direct your life and lead you into a lower state, or you can acknowledge them for what they are and then continue with your chosen path.
If you have a purpose or goals in life, nothing can stop you but yourself. Since everyone has problems we must stay focused on what we want and not what we don’t. When we adjust our lives to our problems we set ourselves up for more adversity. When we deal with our problems the best that we can and keep going toward what we want, sooner or later, our lives turn out to be our dream.
Now, it is necessary that we talk about a subject called production. Happiness is our main objective in life, why don’t we learn to increase our happiness? Happiness is only increased when we are in action or production. Humans are designed to be productive. The product human is a being who is expanding. People have a natural affinity for expansion – as with all living things on this planet. When we are growing, we are happy.
Next time you are feeling really down, start to work on a small project. Force yourself and see what happens with your emotions. Almost instantly, you will shift into a state of slightly increased happiness. Since production increases happiness, a lack of production increases depression or lower feelings. This is why the clinical treatment for depression requires the patient to get involved with work, hobbies or classes. Something to get them moving.
While it might sound easy to be productive during these down times, it can be difficult. The good news is that the first few steps are the hardest. After you get yourself moving or producing, you’ll soon find it easy to keep going. The more productive people are, the happier they become and the less they dwell on their problems.