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The Answer is not in the Top 5 Lists


This week my mongers and anxiety got the best of me.  One of my go-to coming mechanisms is to start reading as much as I can about happiness and reducing stress. I Google all the 5 ways to Reduce Stress or the top 10 Ways to Gain Happiness. And then I am disappointed when I read them…because I KNOW this stuff.  Ultimately I am reminded that the answer is not OUT there.  I see it in my clients as well.  They come in to the Loft looking for the answer as if it is something external from them.  Then I remind them, it is all right there. Slow down, breathe, and have some self compassion. And they realize yes, they know what to do.

We KNOW what to do. We all KNOW what to do…we read the 5 Steps to Happiness and the 10 ways to reduce stress articles until we are blue in the face. And yet at the end of the day, we are one of the most stressed out societies on the planet.  We reach for pills, distractions and ways to numb rather than really implementing the 5 step articles that we read.

I have been questioning this pattern in myself (and in my clients too) for many months now.  And after questioning and observing myself and others I have found 3 main themes and these themes center around the need for love, compassion and empathy.

  1. We want an instant fix.
  2. We don’t want to be uncomfortable.
  3. We do it alone.

We want an instant fix.  This stuff IS hard.  Implementing change, going against the main stream of push, push, push is very challenging.  Even though we all know there is no such thing as an instant fix we desperately want one (I know I would love to take my 5 deep breathes and poof have all my stress disappear).  Living Happier take time.  It takes patience. It takes persistence.  It takes showing up each day and doing the best we can with what we have.  Being loving with ourselves and others and circling back when we messed up are paramount to Living Happier.

Pain, Sadness, Depression…suck AND they are a HUGE part of life.  They are were the best lessons are lurking.  That is where we experience the yin to the yang of life.  Without pain we wouldn’t question, improve, search and look for love. They are HARD and when we are inundated with 5 Steps to Happiness or 10 Ways to Experience Joy we feel even crappier that we are feeling pain, sadness and depression.  Uncomfortable is part of life. And when we can embrace our uncomfortableness.  When we can smother it with empathy and self-compassion. When we can welcomes sadness and pain as a very real part of love, risk, and relationships all which lead to a full life then we embrace living happier.

We need other people.  By far this is one of the most important lessons I have learned in my life.  I think doing it alone is one of the main reasons we are so stressed, tired and exhausted.  We need to share our fears, concerns, doubts with other people.  We need to build strong, healthy relationships. We need to show up for other people and make time for real connection. Again back to empathy, compassion and love. When I started sharing my fears, expressing my doubts and opening up about my sadness to the safe people in my life…my stress decreased, my anxiety lessened and I felt stronger.  Having a community is KEY to living happier and one that has gotten lost in the shuffle of success, money, power and success.  The importance of community is why I started the Live Happier Loft 

There are many many things that go into reducing stress and living happier.  Each of us have our own journeys in life.  And I know the more I relax into the journey, embrace the uncomfortable and reach out to my community the happier I am.

What about you?  What are you tendencies when you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted? What tips help you get back on track?

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