How to Find Happiness In The Middle Of Your Bad Week

Do you sometimes feel that events have conspired against you?  That whatever evil force running amok in the Universe keeps shooting arrows into your back?

Rain

When just everything seems to go wrong.  The car has a flat. The dishwasher breaks. The washer overflows.  Why does this all happen at once?

Or, one big thing goes categorically south.  You know, that dream you’ve been pursuing just trotted further out of reach.  Or you get a good view of what’s ahead and it seems like one mountain peak forms behind another and another and . . .

During those times, even the idea of how to find happiness seems out of reach.  So what’s a conscious person to do?

*      First off, don’t deny it.

Yep, that sack of coal got dumped right on your doorstep.  Despite all of your best efforts (or not!), things just turned to coal dust right before your eyes.

That’s the reality of it.  And facing it is often half the battle.

Running away from any problem just increases the distance to the solution.

*      Second, dissect the issues—one at a time.

If this concerns one big failing, then compartmentalizing it isn’t difficult.  It’s staring you in the face all the time anyway.

But when dealing with a list of problems, how easy it can be for them all to entangle into one big rubber-band blob.  And leaving it thus without disentangling the mess makes it almost impossible to sort out.

Even if the subjects do intertwine, they each have separate parts, tentacles that can be untangled, piece by blessed piece.  And even if they glom back together like magnets seeking each other once you’re done dealing with them, next time you’ll have an easier time separating those out.

Spend a set amount of time with each one.  Pull out all the tools—writing out the problems and possible solutions to the different pieces of the issue.  Identifying peeps to help.  Using the tools you already have gets you started quickly.

*        Third, figure out one action you can take today.  Or right now.

Something you can do to help the situation, even if it’s tiny.  Just the act of doing a constructive action will ease your mind.

Not busy work to make you think you’re affecting a change, but an action that actually will help.

It may seem that 3 and 4 should be switched, but acting, however, no matter in how small a way, causes feel-good hormones to at least trickle in, and you see things differently.  As Dale Carnegie said:

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Because then you can more clearly:

*        Fourth, make a plan.

Issues can be tackled.  From getting the plumber out to finding a new job.  And it all starts with a solid plan.

*        Finally, pat yourself on the back.

How often we blame and shame ourselves for our foibles.  I know so many folks (and I was once one of them!) who are simply fabulous at self-flagellation.  But they forget to tell themselves “good job” for what they did right.

By giving yourself credit for the good steps, you can more easily forgive your transgressions.  Or someone else’s.  Or the world’s.  Forgiving yourself and others starts with acknowledging what worked.

Now that you’ve faced the problems, dissected them, taken a good, solid action, have made a plan for tomorrow, forgiven yourself, how to find happiness has seeped into your day.  It always does.  And now you can feel gratitude for finding your way out of whatever jungle you’ve found yourself lost in.

I’m always reminded of author Harriet Beecher Stowe’s admonition of:

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Now, that makes me smile.  Which causes happiness to return.

How do you deal with bad times?

 

About the Author Susan Malone

Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.

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27 comments
Jessica says December 2, 2015

Great ideas. Some times something small can make a world of difference during a hard time.

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    Susan Malone says December 2, 2015

    It usually is the small thing, isn’t it, Jessica, that makes a big difference!

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Jackie Harder says December 2, 2015

I deal with bad times by saying, “What can I create from this?” And all your comments are perfect coaching tips, too. Good job!

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    Susan Malone says December 2, 2015

    Ohhh, I love that, Jackie! I’m going to adopt, What can I create from this! Wonderful!

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Jacqui Odell says December 2, 2015

These are great tips. I personally remind myself that it could be worse. No matter how bad it is..it could be worse. Than I try to find the positive in it.

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    Susan Malone says December 2, 2015

    You are so right, Jacqui–things can always be worse. That helps me at times too 🙂

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Beth Niebuhr says December 2, 2015

I wrote a comment and the puzzle wouldn’t let me post it and then deleted my comment and info. I don’t really think Capcha is valuable and this kind is particularly annoying. I’ve forgotten my comment but I try to start solving bad days be refreshing – maybe reading several chapters in a book.

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    Susan Malone says December 2, 2015

    Sorry, Beth. But when I didn’t have the Capcha thing, the spam on the blog was amazing. Thank you for trying again! And refreshing really does work wonders 🙂

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Sheila Bliss says December 2, 2015

Oh Susan! I can totally relate to feeling paralyzed at times by fear and doubt and the only thing that helps me overcome it is to push through it by doing exactly what paralyzed me in the first place. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

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    Susan Malone says December 2, 2015

    Doesn’t doing that thing that paralyzed you in the first place help you overcome the fear! Great point! Thank you.

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GiGi Eats says December 2, 2015

I always look at the bigger picture when I am not happy, I tell myself about all of the successes I have accomplished and I remind myself of the amazing support system I have. Typically that helps a lot of my mood 🙂

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Julie Syl Kalungi says December 2, 2015

This right here is my take away “figure out one action you can take today. Or right now”

WHY?

Because I like to take action and get things done rather than wallow in self pity or self dissection or beating my self to a pulp. we humans are good at that. Did you ever see a dog beating itself up for not getting the stick when its thrown by the owner while playing catch?

So I am good at compartmentalizing too…Awesome post on how to find happiness on a bad week Susan. Thanks for sharing!

~Namaste~ Julie

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    Susan Malone says December 7, 2015

    Julie! You just went to the heart of the matter! Getting things done really does help us not to wallow in self pity (or self dissection–love that!). Great point, thank you!

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Beverley Golden says December 2, 2015

Seems the weather is a big factor for me in how I will react or handle those “catastrophic” things that seem to show up and demand action now, Susan. Sunny days are easier for me to remain calm and take the necessary step. When I feel like I have too much to do and not enough time to do it all, I’ve learned to say to myself, “There is enough time for everything that needs to be done”. I also say “This too shall pass”. when feeling crunched and stressed. I think taking some action always leads to feeling like progress is being made. I also like Jackie’s suggestion of asking “What Can I Create From This?”. I’m open to anything that eases the stress we humans seem to cause ourselves.

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    Susan Malone says December 7, 2015

    You are so right about the weather, Beverley–we even have a psychological condition for that: SAD. Seasonal affectation disorder, which boils down to the blues following long bouts of not enough sunshine! And you gave me one of those chills. I, too, say, “This too shall pass.” 🙂 And then take that action. Always love your points!

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Sabrina Quairoli says December 2, 2015

This is great! Thanks for sharing. I would even add take deep inhales and exhales while going through the difficult situation.

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    Susan Malone says December 7, 2015

    Thanks for that addition, Sabrina. Conscious breathing really does help!

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Cyndi says December 3, 2015

Where was this post when I needed it a couple of weeks ago?! I handled my bad week by just facing it head on and knowing that the hard stuff would be over soon.

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Roslyn Tanner Evans says December 3, 2015

It does seem like bad days come in multiple catastrophes. Toilet overflows, painting falls off the wall, highest lightbulb blows out- all that happened one-day last week. I laughed and then said, so glad the 3rd thing happened, now I can relax. As a non-worrier, I have learned to roll with the punches and not let it affect my mood.

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    Susan Malone says December 7, 2015

    Isn’t it just the truth, Roslyn. It’s rarely just that ONE thing. And I look for the third thing too 🙂

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Mimi says December 3, 2015

You and I are very similar in our approaches to problem solving. I find great comfort in taking action to positively impact the issue(s), rather than allow it to fester.

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    Susan Malone says December 7, 2015

    And isn’t it just the “festering” part, Mimi, which undoes us. You’re right–how comforting it is to take action!

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Kimberly says December 3, 2015

I never understand why bad days are like a tornado of events. One thing happens and then everything just gets taken up into the funnel and your whole day is ruined. Great ideas on how to let a bad day get you down fully.

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    Susan Malone says December 7, 2015

    I just love your analogy, Kimberly–SO creative! I’m going to keep the image in my mind for next time I need it. Thank you!

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Priya Aurora says December 4, 2015

Hi, we all need to read this post in order to revive ourselves in the middle of the week. Thanks for sharing these tips.

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    Susan Malone says December 7, 2015

    Sometimes the middle of our weeks need reviving, Priya. Love that!

    Reply
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