Creator and Author of "The Work", Byron Katie
Try these 10 simple steps to stay happy during stressful times:
1. Breathe in, then out, deeply and slowly.
2. Close your eyes, if you need to block out distractions or that thing that is making you upset.
3. Pay close attention to how you feel. Be completely aware of the tension your dis-ease is causing in your body and heart (this is so you remember exactly what dis-ease feels like the next time it comes along).
Watch the next time someone gets you peeved–not just angry, irritation is stress too –pay close attention to how your neck, chest and shoulders tense up. Are you tapping your foot, while waiting in a long line? Are your cheeks flushed, because someone said something that triggered your embarrassment? Or are you rubbing your temples, because the person next to you on the train is having a loud, long conversation on her cell phone about the drama in her life–are you getting a headache? Observe!
You just let a skin irritation go without soothing. Why let a mental irritation go without attention?
4. Know that anything outside of happiness is less than you are capable of and far less than you deserve. Yup, even being irked, annoyed or irritated.
5. Talk it out with yourself, without saying “SHOULD”, “WOULD”, “COULD”, “WON’T” or “CAN’T” (or any variation of these words that you can trick your mind into believing is true–STICK TO THE FACTS!)
Just what is happening in the moment that has you so heated, and what about it is upsetting to you? What is going on in your mind? What don’t you like about this person or event?
Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this cashier is going to talk on her cell phone the entire time we are in this line. Is she cursing? Wow! That is soooo unprofessional! I worked in customer service all these years and not once did I get away with such behavior. I know she’s only giving such service because it’s a discount store, if this was a gourmet supermarket, in the suburbs, she would NOT get away with that! Shows what she thinks of people like me!
6. Now, this is where I have to give an official shout out to Byron Katie! It’s what “The Work” is all about. The truth and all of it!
Ask yourself next, after you figure out why you’re unhappy (while still applying step #5), are my thoughts about this person or event true? Are your feelings about the person or event fact or opinion (opinions can never be proven, otherwise they would be the truth–sure, you are allowed to have them, but they are not facts, which basically makes them fictional stories–made up by our tricky, perceptions). Byron Katie’s “The Work” humbles a Leo like me. It asks you how much do you know of the truth, how do you know the truth? and would you bet your life that you know that your opinion of this person or event 100% true? Basically, who died and made you God?
Well, when you put it like that…
How did I know that the lady was on a personal call? And was I always professional, 100%? Better yet, what is professional really (sure, I know the definition, but would she be unacceptable to someone else who waited on customers while chatting away on her free nights and weekends)? Am I really sure that she wouldn’t act the same if she was in another neighborhood in an upscale establishment?
More importantly, the question to ask is what if I didn’t think these things? What if I stood here and read The National Inquirer or said a prayer for all of humanity instead of wasting all this energy on something so small? Shouldn’t energy produce a better result than anger?
7. Ask yourself have I ever felt this way before? Did it last forever and did it solve anything? What good did it do me? Are my thoughts making me happy?
8. If it doesn’t make you happy don’t do it, don’t say it, don’t think it!
I know that’s hard. But so many times we go to others for advice in life, love, career, etc. How easy would it be to rely on someone who is always present? God didn’t give us emotions and feelings for nothing! Feelings and emotions are like those “Magic 8” balls that we played with as children. Ask yourself is ____________ (fill in the blank with your actions) going to make me happy? Shake yourself up (meaning, be real and honest with yourself about numbers 1-8–yes, it’s going to be hard sometimes)! And voilà, the answer can only be yes or no! If the answer is yes–go for it! No? Ummmm, well, leave that thought, action or reaction right where you found it (or in some cases him or her, lol).
If you’re unhappy, there’s something wrong and it’s your job to fix it, honey! There are times where I sing, talk to myself, watch classic episodes of Seasame Street, or sometimes I just have to scream out loud to let out my tension. Do whatever you need to do to put a smile on your face long enough to think rationally. Remember the lesson from this episode is to BE YOUR OWN SUPER-HERO! Save the day! How do you do that? By changing things. How? By changing your course of action. And where do our actions begin? In the mind, right?
9. Remember, your brain tells your body what to do, not the other way around; Unless you have some kind of addiction (which has a need for compulsion–which we will talk about in episode 4), understanding that actions start in your mind may be fairly simple.
10. I can’t say it enough, your actions begin in your mind. Once your mind knows that:
- You have control over creating your happiness. (Thank God for that gift, as soon as you believe it! It’s the inherited gift of life and power!) Never again do you have to depend on someone else to make you smile from the inside out. Have you heard better news?
- Just because you think it, doesn’t make it true.
- If there is unhappiness, there lies a lie. God gave us the gift of Joy! It’s the only thing, besides change that is constant in this life. It’s there, as long as God is there–even if we don’t acknowledge it/God. The truth is Righteous and Just. The Truth is also Freedom (Webster’s definition: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another). You know the old saying, “The truth shall set you free?” or “Shame the devil, tell the truth?” They’re two very true statements. How can we authentically acknowledge God’s love and power that we have to utilize and live an unhappy life? Is that possible?
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2nd Corinthians 3:17
Truth triggers happiness. If the Truth is Freedom, and you want the Truth and to be Free of unhappiness, you must know that God lives in you, therefore the truth has to be there also. It’s there, friend, and it was there all the time!
- Practice makes perfect. Once we admit and accept that the truth it then opens up the door to our personal happiness, because we can then let go of the stories that we create to make sense of things, and fix the issues that can actually be fixed–reality; We really do have to practice acknowledging it, though. If I want to build muscle I exercise–I focus on physical activities. If I want to find the truth, I have to focus on my mind, therefore freeing my heart.
I don’t know if you know this, but you have the power to change your life. It’s not in anyone else’s hands, but yours! You have the power to create the life that you want, and you inherited it from The Creator.
It brings me so much Joy to know that I may never be perfect (it’s cool), and people may get on my nerves sometimes, but it doesn’t help me to stay in a state of being upset–I may never get it right, butI can practice perfection. I will make mistakes, but I sure can switch some things around, and make the best of my life, right?
By seeing the Truth, I am forcing myself to see God in the things that I allow harm me. I can save the day, turn weakness in to strength and “bad” into “good”, so to speak–like only a superhero can!
If we are not happy and joyous at this season,
for what other season shall we wait and
for what other time shall we look?
Your happiness is in your hands!
Like what you read today? Please subscribe, share, like and comment. This blog is Episode 1 of a 5 part series, entitled: “The Get Free, Get Happy Series.”
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