Death and tragedy are part of the process of living, yet when we lose loved ones or face seemingly insurmountable odds it can lead to depression, isolation and anxiety.
Sometimes it feels like everything hits all at once…and you know what?
Sometimes it does.
I have met with many, many patients who have basically survived a trauma tsunami. The foundation of their lives has virtually disintegrated.
Events like the death of a child, financial devastation, violent crimes or multiple losses in a short span of time can really knock people out of their orbit.
Yet, life goes on. As harsh as it sounds, a new day dawns and you have to keep living. So how do people survive such terrible moments? Is it possible for them to ever be happy again?
It absolutely is possible to regain your composure and live fully.
There is even an opportunity to build a stronger foundation than you started with before the traumatic events unfolded. What you need to do first is figure out and possibly redefine what makes you happy.
This doesn’t mean that you forget about the issues that caused the pain.
What it does mean is that you will be able to reframe the experience to draw out the positives so you can move forward.
It’s interesting that many cancer survivors say their diagnosis was the best thing that ever happened to them.
Why does this occur?
Cancer as we all know is a tough road for anyone to travel.
Radiation, chemotherapy and sickness do not sound enviable – so why would someone view their illness in a positive light?
Often patients are jolted out of the haze of their every day activity into the world of what really matters. We are all going to die, but when a doctor puts a name and time frame out there – something just switches.
No longer can you take relationships and experiences for granted. Quite often the diagnosis results in better connections with people where you may have only been scratching the surface.
Personal growth is also a large component of healing and moving forward. In the beginning your emotional reaction plays the starring role, but with time and therapy you will begin to be able to rationally assess the events to see where you can build integrity, strength and a deeper understanding of what happened.
Make Lemonade Out of Lemons
During this process you will be forever altering how you deal with life and its many curve balls.
The reason our brains are malleable is to allow us to adapt to new and challenging situations. It’s a survival mechanism that keeps us going, even when we think we can no longer continue.
From a professional perspective I believe that happiness is indeed a choice.
I hear many people wax lyrical about wanting to be happy…but what exactly does this mean?
For many it seems to be an elusive utopian dream that will never be achieved during waking hours, because they have no idea what ingredients would be needed to get there.
Many think it’s a state of being that is not within their reach or control, a mixture of luck and fortuitous experiences that create a feeling of calm fulfillment. This is absolutely NOT the case. Happiness is within your grasp right now if you choose it…no matter what the circumstances.
I highly recommend a book called Happiness Is a Choice by Barry Neil Kaufman. If you learn how to change the way you think it’s absolutely possible to modify the way you react to life events.
Change What Makes You Happy !
Let’s take a look at death through this lens. Our society mourns loss.
It’s a sad occasion and many of us even fear the hereafter. What if I told you there are groups of people that don’t feel grief when a loved one passes away?
The Satiyya community in Rajasthan celebrates the death of their members and in fact mourns birth!
It goes to show you how emotions are altered by the standards of the culture we live in.
What if we were to celebrate the death of friends and family members? This could be a healthy expression of the love we felt for them.
The plastic nature of our brains allows us to practice mindfulness techniques that can help overcome even the most horrendous trauma tsunami. Incredibly you may even find yourself in a healthier place than you have ever been!
Please know, you are never stuck with grief.
There are ways, not only overcome sadness and fear, but to embrace the best life has to offer from here on out!
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