When life starts to get us down, whether it’s work, family or life in general, we often think the grass is going to be greener on the other side. In other words, we imagine the ideal life or the ideal job, and then fantasize about how happy we will be when we make that change. Unfortunately, what often happens is once we are in the new, “ideal” situation, our fantasy or what we thought was going to be the perfect change (e.g. the ‘greener grass’), we find out that it actually does not make us any happier. Why doesn’t the ideal situation we fantasized about make our life better?
It’s the never-ending cycle of always trying to achieve something better. A new job or promotion, a bigger house, more money, a better car, a better relationship… the list can go on and on with things we need to change in our life that will be ‘better’ than what we currently have in order to be happy.
Appreciate Your Life Now
Instead of fantasizing about greener pastures elsewhere, if you appreciate where you are, you may inevitably find yourself happier in your life already. Your job, your relationship, your car, your house satisfies your needs and is good the way it is. A few ways I’ve found to enjoy and appreciate life right where you are:
- Be grateful for something in every situation. For example, if your boss treats you poorly, or maybe doesn’t like you at all, instead of getting down in the dumps, be grateful for the learning opportunity. You can take the experience, understand what it is your boss is doing that you don’t like as an employee, and know how to not be a poor leader to others. You can also be grateful that you have a job at all, when there are so many people that are unemployed trying to find a job to support themselves and their family.
- Stay positive. Try to always look on the bright side, and remind yourself that this situation won’t last forever. I love the quote: “The only thing constant is change” because nothing stays the same. As I’ve pushed through the bad times in my life, I can now look back on my past and truly appreciate where I am now. And even though certain things in my life aren’t ideal, change is going to happen, so I choose to roll with it.
- Be confident in yourself. Personal mantras can be self-fulfilling statements. When you are down, tell yourself “I am happy” or “I am beautiful” or “I am smart” to combat negative feelings. Confidence can be shattered quickly in a bad situation, but if you develop habits to spring back quickly from a negative situation, you can ward off stress and depression easier. I like listening to upbeat music or getting into a fun workout to bring up my confidence and quickly pull me out of a negative situation or bad mood.
- Even if you feel like you are failing, know that failure is part of learning. Embrace failure and know you will be more confident when faced with your next challenge.
- Don’t let problems from one area of your life follow you into another. If you’re stressed at work – you hate your job, you hate your boss, you made a mistake – you need to learn to leave your problems at work. If you constantly rehash all the horrible things about your job to your friends, family, even your neighbors, you are just making yourself more miserable. Try to find a way to incorporate ‘transition’ time to let go of your problems. My best transition times are spent doing a hard core workout, walking my dog, getting lost in a book, or relaxing in a warm bubble bath.
Change Your Mindset – Focus on Positives
Although you may be frustrated and think you can’t take it anymore, more than likely it is your own mindset putting those thoughts in your head and causing you stress. Focus on ways to turn around a negative mind and not dwell on the bad things going on around you. Stress and negativity ultimately undermine your ability to be happy. I understand there are times when making a change and moving on is the best option. However, I recommend, before doing that, you learn different techniques to improve your current situation if you can.
Turn that frown upside down! Smile! Be grateful! Feel the positive energy flow through you… and above all… remember… you can control your own happiness and you can turn your grass greener yourself. Because what is really on ‘the other side’? It may turn out that what you thought was beautiful grass is really fake grass lying on top of dirt and decay; the fantasy in your head is not going to be reality.