Formula for Happiness
I have been struggling emotionally a bit. I mentioned in a previous post that we had been considering a major life change (moving and a new job). I realized my major reason for pursuing these things was because I was unhappy where I live. The largest factor in my unhappiness: most of my friends have moved away. I was ready to move away and make new friends.
The Spirit has helped me to recognize my motivations for desiring change and my husband has helped me to recognize that starting a new job, leaving our home, and changing everything for the children and us simply because my social life wasn’t what I wanted it to be probably wasn’t very realistic or fair to the rest of the family. (How much time does a mother of nine really have to socialize anyway??!) As the opportunity to move passed, I felt the weight of sadness settle in.
I recognized several things, which are all ‘triggers’ for me:
- Food. I have been eating stuff (milk mostly….ice cream, cheese, butter) I am allergic to, but I LOVE! (I even splurged and bought a jar of basil pesto because for the recipe I wanted needed 1 tablespoon. But I bought a 22 ounce jar—44 tablespoons!–and ate a little every day!) This is one of my coping mechanisms—comfort food, food I love but should not be eating! I justify it because I am sad and it makes me feel better.
- Staying up late and sleeping in. I can’t do this everyday. But occasionally I stay up later than I should watching something entertaining because I want to feel better emotionally. I sleep in later than I should (which causes a bad start to an already busy day). I justify this behavior because I am tired, or I think I’m getting sick, or the baby was up in the middle of the night. The truth is, if I had gotten up when I should have, regardless of why I didn’t, the day would have gone better.
- Scripture study and prayer. I am a schedule person. I do better with a consistent schedule. My very best scripture reading time is first thing in the morning. If I get up late, or the children are already up, or the baby is awake, or I’m running behind schedule, I justify not reading right now and tell myself I will get to it later. I NEVER consistently ‘get to it later’. I know that. I have to take time in the morning. I need to be in the standard works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Conference addresses) a little each day.
- Exercise. Just a little bit of physical activity does wonders for me emotionally. When I am emotionally struggling, I usually quit exercising as well. I need those ‘feel good’ endorphins that come from physical activity, even if it is just a quick walk around the block!
- Service. Service has to be a part of the happiness equation. This is never lacking for me because I am a mother with children at home. But if you do not have consistent opportunities for service, then you need to find ways that you can help lift and serve other people.
The Spirit has let me know most of my emotional struggle is because I have not been diligent in the food, schedule, exercise, and scripture study departments. These are the areas the adversary uses to keep me off balance and interferes in my ability to receive personal revelation. Yes my friends have moved. Yes I am sad. But I would be managing it all better if I were also diligent in those areas and I would have peace and happiness, even though I miss my friends.
So………………I am climbing back on the wagon, a little at a time. First things first. Scriptures and prayers every morning regardless of time, even if I only read one verse. I am eliminating milk (easier said than done—but I do it all the time! Guess I’ll give away the rest of the pesto and not buy anymore!) Exercise and schedules I’ll look at correcting in the next week or so, but let’s make the more significant changes first. Let’s face it, I know where my strength comes from. If I am trying to develop a healthy body, would I quit eating? So when I am trying to develop a healthy spirit (strong and happy), should I stop nourishing it? Absolutely not! This is where my strength to persist comes from! This is the most significant and necessary change to have in place!
Oh, and I’m almost done painting the ‘man cave’ (family room) which is helping my mood A LOT, too! (And planting pretty flowers—-a girl’s gotta’ have flowers, right?)
Chin up, move forward! Come on little camper, we can do this!! (This is my positive self-talk 🙂
I totally relate right now. These things are a great reminder – I need them as well. I've been off chocolate for 4 days and I'm feeling a little better already. I have a great recipe for cauliflower white (alfredo)sauce. It can be made with butter or olive oil if you really want to cut out the milk. YUM! Shoveled snow this morning, so got some exercise there. (Yeah. Snow shoveling. 7 inches. In April)Now to get the spiritual stuff back in order…
I think it is common for many women to go through stages of sadness, and unhappiness, and sometimes wish our lives were a bit different than they are. I think your solutions to getting back on track are perfect. In addition, I think I'd add one more. As wonderful and supportive as husbands are, they cannot fulfill our every need. Men and women think differently (duh!), and I think all women need a couple of really good woman friends. A bit of 'girl talk',support and companionship from close friends who can understand our feelings from a woman's point of view is a real morale booster. While you will 'mourn' the loss of your friends who have moved, I hope you will also go out of your way to find some new friends to fill this void in your life right now. Love, Aunt Karen