The pursuit of happiness
How can you find happiness in a life where pain surrounds you?
Like many of you I am on two hand fulls of medications just to get me through the day and am now having to have surgery on both knees. It has been a year and four months since my official diagnosis as to how my life will change and that’s how long it has taken me to feel happiness in my life again.
I recently brought my cousin Stefan over from Macedonian to Australia for a very special occasion. Stefan and I are very close, I use to go to Macedonia at least once a year and we will spend all our time together, just doing everything and anything. Having Stefan here reminded me why I loved spending time with him, because it made me happy! It may be one of the point blank obvious reasons but somehow between learning how to adjust life to accommodate RA and doctor’s appointments 24/7, somewhere along the lines I forgot what it felt like to be genuinely happy.
Stefan being here is really a bonus to my happiness what he really did was trigger the emotion and since then it has just grown. Thinking about all my surroundings in my life made me reflect on how I got to being happy again, so here are my views.
My first known element is relationships; I have since learned to develop more close friendships, especially at work. We have a little group formed that seems to be growing each day, it doesn’t really matter if you have a large or small group of people, what makes the difference is how often you do activities together and share your personal feelings. With my team at work I am able to talk openly about health issues and even some personal matters. I have also been fortunate enough to have the guidance and leadership of some wonderful managers, and the support has just been incredible.
Keep moving! I know in our lives there are A LOT of days where we are bed ridden and yes we have all read the articles about exercise and diet to help with RA and funny enough I’m probably the last person to follow these instructions, but when I refer to the term ‘keep moving’ I mean going out, sightseeing, visiting family or friends, going out to grab a pizza, go to the cinemas to watch a movie, going out to the coffee shop down the road, a walk or drive to the beach/park, the point is to move you out of your everyday environment, try to get out and about. On my good days I try to do something while I can because you don’t know when the next flare up will lock you down again, moving will help with your mental wellbeing. Make every day a Saturday!
Find your strengths, with RA hovering over our heads it’s hard to find or even remember what our strengths were, we all get put in a position of weakness so we have to start from scratch and do some discovery, once you know your strengths we need to put it in to practice and use them. One of my strengths that I have recently discovered again was my determination, if I want to do something then I will do it, not matter how hard it was I would do it. Since I found my strength again I have jumped out of a plane at 14,000ft, did a road trip of over 20,000km and my biggest achievement, hiked to the top of Australia’s highest mountain, nothing was easy and I had to make arrangements and work around things to make this happen. The pain after the hike was excruciating, it felt like my whole body was on fire, but I did it because the chances are I will never be able to ever do that again. I was persistent to push myself to the top and finding my strength of determination, I achieved my goal.
Crank the tunes! Music is an excellent why to relax or even get you in a positive and energetic mood. Music has such a strong connection with our brains, there is an emotional rush you feel when you listen to your favorite song, it’s chemical.
This is one I love the most…GO SCREENLESS! In recent weeks I have since realized how bad screens are for our moods and productivity, now, I’m not saying to completely disconnect from social media or completely switch of our mobile phones but to cut back and give your eyes a different view for a change.
I hope each and every one of you may find your own pursuit of happiness. In the end, like many motions, how happy you are comes down to how you choose to live your life. For us RA suffers we need to show our DNA who’s boss.