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7 Ways to Discover Happiness When You Hate the World

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In life, we are bound to experience the challenges that can sometimes put us down, it sometimes makes us forget to look at the brighter side of things. But with the help of our friends and family, we can stand up again and be able to aim for happiness. We just need to be positive and thankful for whatever we currently have.

 “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama

Happiness is the most wanted dream for everyone. Almost everyone when asked about what they want in life, the answer will mostly be happiness. Happiness is always the primary goal–others are only secondary.

A mother when asked about what she wants for her child will surely answer to happiness.

Happiness is already challenging to find. But finding happiness when you hate the world is not just challenging but really daunting.

When I was on top of my career some years ago, happiness was mostly based on achievement. That was before tragedy struck. I was then supposed to be sent to the head office of my company in Vancouver. But fate was against my career path. I was diagnosed with a kidney disease. The same disease that killed some members of my family.

Sadly, I shared the same fate. I hated the world for giving me this just when I was at my prime. I was full of anger. It was the hardest time of my life. I had to stop working. I had to stay in the hospital to undergo different procedures. It was a tiring and long process; it tested what everything in me: including my faith and strength.

I was ready to give up when a friend told me that I shouldn’t. He said I’m still breathing and that is proof enough for hope. He said I just lost a job not my life, that, I can still be happy. I have my family and friends–he made me realize.

I should not be hindered by this awful disease. Instead, it should push me to fight.

I did.

It made me realize that happiness arrives through different routes.

Here’s my journey to finding happiness while hating everything that’s happening around me:

 

1. Acceptance

In my experience knowing and accepting things make everything easier. I’m not saying it will cure the pain you are experiencing but it can help you grieve. Being able to grieve is one of the most important steps in the process of healing.

Acknowledging the pain can make moving on easier. In due time, the pain will subside and the sadness will diminish.

 

2. Surround yourself with people who love you

Encouragement from people not just helps strengthen you but it also helps you regenerate.  A support system makes you feel safer and they can make you stay away from revisiting and rehashing old wounds.

If you only see the sticky mud after the rain, you will overlook the beautiful rainbow above. Positivity is the key. With friends, family and even pets, you will find the road to happiness passable.

 

3. Distract yourself

Keeping yourself busy makes you focus on other things. So, why not go and join activities that can energize your body? Activities like dancing, exercising or singing can be a better way to waste time. Staying at home all the time and not mingling with other people will just remind you of the pain.

So go out there and release all the tension in your system. You will notice that after a while, you can think clearly again and focus more on how you can achieve the happiness that you are aiming for.

 

4. Smile

Give yourself reasons to smile at people. Sometimes even the act of smiling itself can make you happier. When we are in pain, this is the first thing that we forget.

We tend to wallow too much of our losses that we forget our ability to smile. Smile and start focusing on what can make you happy.

 

5. Be positive

There is a saying that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life becomes hard and difficult we need to be resilient. We should not let it put us down.

It’s not the trouble that can bring us down. Looking at the positive side of things can bring wonderful resolutions to whatever problems we encounter. Make the sour sweet.

 

6. Calm yourself by writing

Whenever I feel down and I feel like the world is just against me, I try to calm myself by writing. Keeping a journal of how I feel makes me see things in a different light. Often it allows me to work through these emotions, making me feel better and making life seem extra beautiful.

 

7. Be thankful

Aside from being positive, being thankful for what we have is one of the keys to finding happiness, whatever situation you may be in.  Most of the time because we are in pain, we don’t see the bigger picture.

We only see what we don’t like, what we hate. But the fact that we are alive and the simple things that we have like the food on our table are reasons enough to be happy.

In life, we often encounter hardships and difficulties but this should never hinder us in continuing our pursuit of happiness. Because as what Audrey Hepburn said

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”

 

How do you deal with serious misfortunes? Share your thoughts  in the comment section below.

enjoys writing for It’s OK to Die™, a self-improvement blog where Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy, MD educates Americans on the importance of preparation for death and dying. Dr. Murphy is a board-certified emergency physician, blogger, grief speaker and author of a famous end-of-life decision-making book It's OK to Die™. If you want Dr. Murphy to speak at your event or need more information then please visit OKtoDie.com

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Angel

    Mar 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Great article, loved this, yes in hard time we have to accept things, and keep us buzzy in doing things we love to do. I tried with yoga and meditation.

  2. Jake

    Feb 17, 2014 at 4:46 am

    I was 11 years old and my mom past away from cancer . At that point in my life I was clueless on how to do things. From that point on my brother tried to do everything he can to raise me. Growing up from then I had so much anger and I still do now and I am 16 years old. I am a hockey player and have been told I am very talented however it seems everywhere I go I get screwed over. I got drafted late into the OHL where I was suppose to and told I was going to go earlier. in 2013 we moved out of the city to the middle of no where and I literally lost every single one of of my friends. I train every day to become better however I need to become better emotionally and spiritually in order for succes to come my way because right now everyday I feel so down and pissed off.

    • Wm. Derek Graham.

      Mar 30, 2014 at 11:32 am

      Hi Jake, Sorry to hear of your bereavement. You may still be struggling to come to terms with your Mum’s death. It may be helpful to contact CRUSE, a bereavement counselling service to help you work through your unresolved grief.

      Regards … William.

  3. Faisal Rehman

    Feb 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Sure Cynthia,

    1st of all you should find something that can become your journal it can be a notebook, word processor, journaling application like RedNotebook, etc.
    Set up a routine (you can take your journal everywhere you go) write down your thoughts as they strike you. Journalling as part of a routine will make you more likely to stick with it. Don’t forget to date your entry. Write out and organize your thoughts and feelings, don’t feel self-conscious. You might stop writing as soon as you feel like you’ve exhausted your thoughts. Remember the more dedicated you are to your journal, the more valuable it becomes so keep writing.

    Hope I could help 🙂 if you have any questions you may tweet me @fazi_scorpion

  4. Cynthia

    Feb 3, 2014 at 4:48 am

    I want to begin a journal, do you now some tips of how can i start it?

  5. Faisal Rehman

    Feb 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Aakash, awesome! Please let me know if you need help with anything 🙂

  6. Aakash

    Jan 31, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Hi faisal your article have inspired me. I will follow this 7ways as my situation is worse and undergoing so badly. I ll will take u as a role model and be happy with what I have

    • Faisal Rehman

      Feb 6, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Aakash, keep me posted on what works out for you 😀

  7. Danica Rose Cole

    Jan 30, 2014 at 4:19 am

    This is one of the most inspiring stories I read online.:)

  8. Habee Shirzad

    Jan 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I Love it,

  9. ukecigarettereviews

    Jan 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Acceptance is the key, followed by smiling or smiling at others. Not as many smile back, but those that do are worth it!

  10. Mike Kawula

    Jan 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Great post Faisal.

    I find Surrounding myself with others difficult as I don’t want my short-lived downs to impact others though I see your point how it can help.

    Great tips ~ Mike

  11. Gustavo Couto

    Jan 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Great article Faisal, thank you for being brutally honest and facing this head-on. I appreciate your insights!

  12. cutieflexy

    Jan 14, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Rich and Great article. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Kgololo Mokala

    Jan 9, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Faisal

    A great article man. just the kind of staff one needs to hear when emotions are taking tall. Great stuff man, will always remember this!

    • Faisal Rehman

      Jan 10, 2014 at 7:11 am

      I appreciate your feed back Kgololo.

  14. Naomi@businessstart-ups

    Jan 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Faisal,

    Just reading your post made me feel happier!

    I’m sorry to hear about your kidney disease – when being struck with illness it’s a downward spiral of emotions and a constant voice that doesn’t stop. “Why me!”. “What did I do wrong”. “What have I done to deserve this”.

    The one I mainly use on your list is Distract Yourself. Like most I’ve had time off over the Christmas period. But after so many days of not doing much I feel low, depressed and lazy. My cure is to get up really early and do whatever makes me happy. By the time I get home I feel better about having a productive day.

    Also one extra tip to keep me happy is having the worlds funniest children. The things they say, how they dance and unusual requests is MORE than enough to keep me happy and laughing.

    Thanks for useful read

    Naomi

    • Faisal Rehman

      Jan 9, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Naomi, glad I could help. Thanks for sharing your insights 🙂

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Life

How 8 Minutes of Meditation Can Give You the Productivity Boost You Need

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Of all the productivity hacks I’ve tried over the years, none has had as much of a positive impact relative to the time I put in than meditation. Just 8 minutes per day to be precise. Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries. Once primarily used by practitioners of Buddhism to reach a higher level of consciousness, science has since shown it has a lot of more earthly benefits as well.

As Healthline reports, meditation improves concentration, reduces fatigue and stress, brings a sense of relaxation and improves sleep patterns, among other benefits. All the above reasons explain why some of the most successful people rely on meditation to thrive in their professions. Jeff Weiner, former Yahoo executive and the current CEO of Linkedin says that meditation has made a huge positive impact on his productivity. Similarly,  Ray Dalio, who is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, attributes a big part of his success to meditation.

5 Ways Meditation Helps with Productivity

Before I get to my own meditation routine that takes just 8 minutes of my time daily, let me first go over in general how meditation can give you a huge leg up in your career and business, backed by studies.

1. Improves Your Attention Span

There are tons of factors that improve productivity, but one that plays a very important role is the ability to focus. Being attentive enough to complete the task at hand means you’ll finish your work with higher accuracy and better efficiency.

According to Pubmed, several studies have shown the efficacy of meditation in reversing parts of the brain that cause mind wandering and the inability to concentrate. Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications, says that meditation is one of the things that has helped him focus the most.

2. Increases Neuroplasticity

For a long time, scientists believed that brain development only happened during childhood and then ceased. But recent discovery regarding the neuroplastic nature of the brain concludes that our brains actually continue to change and adapt through experiences. In other words, the brain is continually reorganizing itself by creating new neurons and new connections.

Meditation is one practice capable of changing your brain’s structure and functions. In fact, Harvard Researchers at MGH have shown that meditation increases grey matter volume in your brain. What this means is that it causes more neurons to accumulate in one space.

Another theory that explains how meditation boosts neuroplasticity is that it increases cerebral blood flow (CBF). By placing you in a state of relaxation, blood is able to flow more freely leading to better oxygenation and nourishment in your brain. With increased neuroplasticity, your ability to acquire new skills and positive habits increase.

3. Sharpens Your Memory

A major benefit of mediation is that it boosts one’s working memory capacity. The working memory determines how much information the central nervous system can hold and process at any time. It’s like the Random Access Memory in a computer.

A study was done to investigate the effect of active meditation on individuals’ working memory capacities. Researchers had the participants take part in a 45-minute meditation exercise twice per week. After a couple of weeks, they recorded the results and discovered that the respondents’ working memory capacities had increased by more than 30%. Put simply; they could hold and process 30% more information than the average person.

The study proved that meditating increases the working memory capacity. With a larger working memory, you can take on more sophisticated tasks and handle them efficiently.

4. Improves Cognitive Thinking

As you age, your cognitive functioning deteriorates gradually. The resulting deficit weakens your ability to reason, remember and process information. All these are factors that can make you less productive at work and in other areas of your life. Good news is, practising meditation and mindfulness can help with that.

To examine the impact of meditation on cognitive function, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara conducted a study. They asked 48 undergraduate students to attend one of two classes: a nutrition class or a mindfulness class. The result? Those who attended the mindfulness class saw marked improvements in their exams afterwards, while the nutrition group saw no statistically significant improvements.

One factor that can explain this outcome is that meditation improves the balance of the left and right sides of the brain. Synchronizing both brain hemispheres allows for greater processing power and neural communication.

5. Reduces Stress

Stress is something that people experience on a daily basis, and more so at work. According to the American Institute of Stress, work-induced stress is the most common form of stress. Based on a recent survey they did, at least 80% of Americans experienced stress at work, hampering productivity and leading to mistakes.

Thankfully, having a meditation practice as part of your routine can lower stress and make you more productive. It goes beyond just stress reduction, however. According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.

How 8 Minutes of Meditation Daily Has Changed My Life

My personal journey with meditation has been nothing short of life changing. What if I told you there was a productivity hack that only required 8 minutes of your day, and as a consequence, will double your attention span, mental stamina, and ability to function under stress? What if I told you, thanks to just 8 minutes a day, a once self diagnosed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) sufferer now frequently loses track of time as he ticks off one item after the next on his daily to-do lists? Yes, that’s what meditation has done for me, and I believe it can do that for anyone.

The meditation routine I follow is based on the best selling book “8 Minute Meditation” by Victor Davich. As a meditation guru, Victor sought out to devise a meditation program that fits in with the ultra busy lifestyles of Westerners while still delivering the main benefits the practice at its fullest provides.

Here is the gist of the “8 minute meditation” that I practice every day right before I go to bed:

  • Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  • Find a comfortable sitting pose. This could be in a cozy meditation chair or sitting with your legs crossed on a yoga mat
  • Close your eyes slowly as if you were planning to sleep. Avoid squeezing them or shutting them involuntarily.
  • Next, start taking slow, deep breaths.
  • With every inhale, envision that you are breathing in light. Follow the light as it enters your body.
  • With every exhale, imagine breathing out all the tension and negativity that you have been harbouring. Relax every muscle from those on your face, chest, back, legs all the way to the tips of your toes.
  • As you breathe in and out, your mind will most likely start to wonder. Do not get upset. Just slowly bring your awareness back to your breathing. Imagine catching a fish and just letting it go.
  • Continue this until the timer goes off. Then, slowly open your eyes again..

A big part of the magic happens in meditation when you do it consistently. For me, with every day of practice, my ability to stay focused on my breathing and stay present increased during those critical 8 minutes. And as my ability to do those seemingly simple things improved, that’s when I started to notice all the tangible benefits of meditation I mentioned earlier.

Meditation is not a new concept. And it doesn’t require you to invest anything that you don’t already have. This is one of the greatest benefits of meditating; it doesn’t require any special equipment or registration for training. Essentially, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. To me, meditation dare i say is the greatest productivity hack of all time.

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5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Hitting Rock Bottom

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At one time, the term rock bottom was completely foreign to me. I can remember feeling really bad for anyone who claimed to have ‘hit rock bottom.’ What devastation they must feel. Their whole world must have just collapsed. How will they go on? I was soon to find out.

My journey to rock bottom

I’m not gonna say I had it all but for the most part, my world was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect and I’ll admit, I was sailing through on a song and a prayer. I lived in a nice house in a posh neighbourhood with my partner and in 2010 I purchased my first business, a hair salon.

I belonged to an amazing networking group of successful women. I was well respected in the community and had lots of friends. You could say my life was pretty good. However, this didn’t last for long.

Three years after the purchase of the salon I closed the doors and declared bankruptcy. Six months after bankruptcy, I walked out of my abusive relationship with nothing to my name.

I was a shell of a person. I had nothing and in my eyes, I was a complete and utter failure. At 52 years old, my whole world came crashing down on me and I for the first time in my life, was absolutely terrified.

I walked around in a daze for months. I was completely empty inside, both emotionally and mentally. I had no desire to rebuild my life. There was little life left in me to work on. I secured my old job at the salon I was at prior to my business purchase. Every day I had to face people who I’m sure were disappointed in me and most likely laughing at me behind my back.

I was a loser. They knew it and so did I. When you hit rock bottom, any and all self respect and self confidence you ever had goes right out the window. You’re constantly embarrassed and feel worthless all the time. However, one day something snaps when you look in the mirror and can’t stand to look at the person looking back at you. This is without a shadow of a doubt the moment some confidence and hope arises to change.

I looked in the mirror one day and I didn’t recognize the person staring back. She was sad, empty, blank and lifeless. This wasn’t Iva and I so desperately wanted her back. I missed the optimistic, bubbly and outgoing girl that used to stare back at me in the mirror. And I was determined to get her back.

I had reached a point where I was tired of crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of telling myself I was a loser and a failure and that I would never amount to anything. But I was mostly tired of just existing with no purpose or passion.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

The climb out of rock bottom

I started devouring self help books and reading any and all blogs I could on how to get your life back on track and how to find self love and self worth again. I read inspirational quotes and listened to motivational YouTube videos day in and day out. I journaled and cried and prayed and meditated. All the things I have never done in my life, I was doing daily without fail.

Slowly, Iva was emerging but she was so much different this time around. She had hope, faith and determination and nothing was going to stop her or stand in her way of rebuilding her life. My journey out of rock bottom took almost a full year to complete but in that time, I learned so much about myself, people and life.

Here are the 5 life lessons I learned from hitting rock bottom:

1. Failure isn’t real

There’s no such thing as failure. I’m not even sure why this word exists. You had an idea or a plan, tried it, and it didn’t work. You learn lessons from this and you move on. Always remember one very important thing: you tried. Most people don’t even bother. Believe in yourself.

2. You’re not stuck anywhere

If something isn’t working or isn’t good for you, leave it. I was terrified to leave my abusive relationship because I knew it meant I would lose everything. And I did. When I finally took the plunge and left, everything in my life changed for the better. Have faith!

3. Change is fun and scary, but do it anyway

Although change is terrifying, it’s necessary. We don’t grow in our comfort zone or in our misery. Sometimes you have to do things that will scare the daylights out of you..do them anyway. This is where you learn and grow. You meet people and you experience things you never would have if you stayed in your comfort zone. Take the leap.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

4. Everything is temporary

The good and the bad. Nothing is forever. No matter how horrible your situation is, it won’t last. It will eventually go away or maybe even turn out great! Embrace all the good life has to offer you and learn the lessons the bad will give you. Have patience.

5. You have great power over your life

I was determined to change my life any way I had to. I did whatever I had to do to turn my life around. Was it easy? No. Is it impossible? No. I knew I had the power to change and it was up to me, and only me, to do that. No one could do it for me.

No matter where you are in your life right now, if things aren’t working out the way you expected, don’t worry. Things will always get better if you try to make them better. You can do anything you want. All you have to do is find the power that’s in you and unleash it.

Have you ever hit rock bottom? What advice do you have for someone who’s there? Share your ideas and advice below!

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9 Personal Growth Lessons I Learned From Being Bullied

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Wherever I went, bullying seemed to follow me. Whether it was school, work or even family, I could never seem to find any kind of escape. For years, I was stuck in the victim mindset, constantly asking myself what I did to deserve this kind of behaviour towards me. I decided to turn my struggle into a personal growth strategy to help others who might be silently struggling with what I did.

Here are some of the key personal growth lessons I learnt from my harrowing experiences:

1. Be the victim

Be the victim but put an early as possible expiration date on this. Realise that it is okay to feel sorry for yourself; it is okay to validate yourself by reinforcing the fact that you didn’t deserve what happened to you. This will help you give yourself the compassion that you need in that moment. Recognition of the hurt and validation are the first steps towards starting the healing process, but the key is not to hang around there for too long otherwise you will be stuck with a victim mentality.

2. Why?

This is a question that is often asked – why did this happen to me? Were the stars misaligned or is this karma for sneaking the last doughnut from the party? Rather than getting bogged down analysing why you went through the harrowing experience, focus on what you learnt from the experience. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as finding your voice and setting boundaries. Every difficult situation offers an opportunity to learn.

3. Focus on the lesson, not on the pain

Whenever faced with a tough situation, ask yourself, “What am I learning from this?” Often, when drowning in dire circumstances, we cannot see light and we fear that any light might be an oncoming train. The best way to deal with this fear and overwhelm is to refocus your thoughts. Oftentimes, the lesson falls under one of the following categories: perseverance, patience, consistency and my personal favourite – staying true to who you are.

4. Control the controllable

Within every difficult situation, there are always factors you can control: your responses, your disposition and your actions. Using what you can control, redirect your energy on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t do. Sometimes, what you can do is simply getting through your day and giving everything you can. This helps in building self-confidence and self-esteem.

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” – Steve Maraboli

5. You do you

It is a normal human desire to be liked by those around us. Avoid trying to change who you are based on what others say about you. It is very tempting to do this because we all want to feel accepted and want to feel that we belong. The more you do you, the more you will attract people who love you for the “real” you.

6. It is not about you

When people criticize you incessantly, recognise that they are battling their own demons and they are easily triggered. You are not the real reason for their hurtful behaviour, they are filled with fear, anger and hurt which they vent out to others. You can only give what you have and if fear, anger and hurt is all you have, it is the only place from which you will function.

7. You have the power to choose

It is easy to forget that we always have the power of our choices and decisions, while our circumstances may be overwhelming, we can still make wise choices so as not to become victims of our circumstances. We should never forget this power as this is what keeps us afloat and breathing when caught in a flood of difficulties.

8. Revenge is not the answer

While it is perfectly normal and human to wish revenge on those who have hurt us, it is crucial to note that what we wish upon others, mirrors back to us. Wishing your culprits to battle incessant sneezing while stuck in traffic controlling explosive diarrhea might give a moment of satisfaction, but is this something you are willing to risk mirroring back to you? I certainly am not. Put quite simply – negativity breeds negativity while positivity breeds positivity. Remember, you have the power to choose.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

9. Forgive

Don’t gasp so loudly. Yes, forgive those who have hurt you. Why? It definitely doesn’t absolve them of the hurt they caused you, but it releases you from the chains of negativity that are binding and rooting you in place preventing you from moving on. How do you forgive? Ask whatever higher power you believe in to filter those who have hurt you out of your life, sending them blessings and healing wherever they may need it in their lives while also blessing over positive outcomes for all of you.

I have used this technique personally and I swear by it. Sending blessings and healing while asking for positive outcomes, results in all these wonderful things happening to you as well. Giving what you have mirrors back to you. You have the power to forgive, let go and move on. This is a choice that you also happen to have the power to choose.

The next time you feel stuck and overwhelmed by your circumstances, revisit these personal growth lessons and apply them to your unique situation. You will be glad that you did.


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Life

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed

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Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)

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