Do What Makes You Happy …

When you live with a Chronic illness, you juggle a lot, i.e. doctors, tests, meds, job, family. etc. Some days, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. We’ve all been there. And that added stress is no good. So, avoid the hassle if you can. Respect your limits. Delegate a few errands/duties. Yes, the kids can vacuum. Your husband/partner can do the grocery shopping. Free yourself of the idea that you alone must do it all. And, by all means, find the time to do what makes you happy.

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Now, granted, happiness isn’t as simple as going to the store and buying something. Or is it? The key to happiness breaks down to wanting and getting. If you want a nap, then getting a couple of uninterrupted hours of sleep will make you happy.  Perhaps, you like to garden? Making time for your gardening will make you happy. Some people, I’m convinced, have no idea of what will make them happy. For them, the journey may take longer but it’s still feasible. So, hang in there … explore some ideas.

In a study done on children with Chronic conditions, the results found that many were just as happy as their healthy peers. Stress management played a role in their health, just as it does with adults. The more complicated their condition was, the more vulnerable they were to issues like anxiety and depression. Sound familiar? But, for the most part, kids don’t allow a disease to define them. That also helps them to be happy. And it works for adults, too. 

If you want to put more happiness in your life, here are a few simple things that can help:

  • Smile
  • Exercise
  • Get your rest
  • Eat healthy
  • Keep a journal
  • Be grateful
  • Acknowledge what makes you unhappy
  • Compliment others
  • Breathe Deeply
  • Learn to avoid stress

Your Chronic illness isn’t going anywhere. It’s chronic; remember? But you can learn to live fully and be happier, despite your condition. A few changes here and there can put time in your schedule and a smile on your face. It can improve your mood and that helps with your relationships, your overall productivity, etc. Remember the childhood song “If You’re Happy And Your Know It”? Try singing a few lines. It’s time to clap your hands, again!

 

 

Reference Links:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201801/how-be-happy-23-ways-be-happier

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-control/201806/finding-the-thing-makes-you-happy

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/5-ways-to-de-stress-and-help-your-heart

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3084723/

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-05-kids-chronic-illness-happy.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-be-happy#daily-habits

*Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

Sometimes, You Have To Bake Cookies …

Many years ago, my hubby told me that he always knew when I had a bout of Writer’s block. Apparently, in my frustration, I’d leave my home office … go into the kitchen … and proceed with a cooking/baking frenzy. At the time he first made this observation, I just laughed — dispensing it as nonsense. But in the years since, I’ve come to realize that he was right. I do get some sort of cathartic relief, when I cook or bake. And it isn’t necessarily caused by Writer’s block. The kitchen has somehow become my zen place.

 

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As odd as it may sound, there is medical research behind this. Studies have actually been done. When you cook or bake, you are creating … relaxing … destressing … spreading the love. You are experiencing fulfillment and satisfaction. Your body and mind is calming itself. If done with others, you are sharing quality time that strengthens any relationship. All positive. All healthy. All good.

In fact, cooking/baking is being used by many therapists and clinics as part of treatment for patients who live with a variety of mental and behavioral conditions, i.e. depression, anxiety, eating disorders, ADHD, stress, even some addictions.

We are living in crazy, chaotic times … nothing is as simple as it was just 4 months ago. Our lives, careers, expectations and work environments have changed. Learning environments have changed. There are added demands, frustrations and stress. None of us are immune. But we can explore new ways to deal with these challenges. 

Sometimes, you have to bake cookies … knead dough … chop vegetables … make a casserole. You have to step outside of your usual comfort zone and explore new things. You might even find that you enjoy it — a lot. It may comfort you as it has me. It may help you to cope. At the least, you may discover a new hobby or hidden talent. That’s not a bad thing. It could be a means of self-growth. And that’s positive, too.

I could go on, but there’s a recipe waiting … the oven is warm … and the kitchen is calling me. Need I say more?

 

 

Reference Links:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/feeling-down-scientists-say-cooking-and-baking-may-help-you-feel-better-180961223/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2016.1257049

https://www.mindfood.com/article/why-cooking-makes-happy/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minding-the-body/201505/kitchen-therapy-cooking-mental-well-being

https://www.calmmoment.com/mindfulness/how-mindful-baking-can-improve-your-mood-and-reduce-stress/

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/12/baking-anxiety-millennials/578404/

https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2020-04-13/how-to-relieve-stress-during-a-pandemic-quarantinebaking

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/baking-for-others-psychology_n_58dd0b85e4b0e6ac7092aaf8

*Photo by Madison Kaminiski on Unsplash