Happiness is an option. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and comparing yourself to other people, and start making conscious decisions to get into the present and thinking in a glass-half-full way. Bethenny's therapist, Dr. Amador, is here to show you how.
The Pursuit of Happiness
By Dr. Amador
According to the US Declaration of Independence, the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental right of all people. Really? Isn't life filled, or at least peppered, with pain, hardships and tragedy?
My answer to both questions is "Yes!" Bad things happen to all of us, some are hit much harder than others, but why is it that some people like Malala Yousufzai (the Afghan girl who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school) can bounce back to pursue happiness, and turn tragedy into triumph? Today she speaks not of her trauma, but of how we can help other girls.
My point isn't to trigger the "I should be grateful, look how bad her life has been" mental reflex. Pain is pain, whether being betrayed by a trusted friend or partner, divorce, a child's cutting accusation, losing your job, serious health problems or inexplicable loneliness and sadness.
No… if you are unhappy, "comparing" yourself to others worse off than you is not the antidote. Understanding and acting on the difference between "pain" and "misery" is. If you let it, pain can create a prison called misery. To put it another way: pain is not an option, misery is -- and that means happiness is an option too.
How to Choose Happiness by Dr. Amador
1. Talk about it with a trusted friend or loved one.
2. How you talk about it is key.
- Denial is a band-aid or worse. Don't deny your negative feelings.
- Acknowledge the painful event or circumstance.
- Share your feelings about it (sad, angry, anxious) with someone else -- talking about it with someone who cares will always lighten the burden.
But share how you feel, don't complain or explain.
3. Get into and stay in the present.
Once there, you will feel happier and if you only feel some peace (no small triumph, by the way) you can, from the mountaintop of NOW, use the following tips to get happy…
4. Catch the glass half empty thoughts ("why do bad things always happen to me?", what I call the poor me's; or "I will never -- find love, --get the job I want, --lose weight, what I call the Never Creates Never Trap) and question their truth.
5. Practice glass half full thinking: "good things happen to me, things like…"
6. Get into action. Action is the antidote to negative feelings (don't ruminate, or stay in bed or alone in your home -- don't isolate!)
7. Lose yourself. Help someone else in need, whether a friend or stranger.
8. Volunteer (walk dogs at your local dog shelter if you like animals, volunteer at your child's school, local food bank, donate to a charity, etc.)
And if you have clinical depression (e.g., can't beat the blues for two weeks or longer, trouble sleeping, eating, concentrating or even thoughts of death of suicide) get help! Effective treatments have lifted clinical depression in tens of millions of people. I am one of them. But don't stop there...
Pursue happiness by remembering pain is not an option, misery is. Choose happiness by using the tools I gave you here.
What tools have you used to become happier?
More From Bethenny:
Dr. Amador: The Mommy Guilt Cure
Dr. Amador: Shut Up. Listen. And Win.
5 Min Therapy: How to Argue to Feel Closer with Dr. Amador
Dr. Amador was featured in "Bethenny Getting Married" and "Bethenny Ever After" as Bethenny's therapist. His expertise has made him a regular contributor to the "Today" show and a featured guest on ABC's "Good Morning America," "Prime Time Live," "CBS This Morning," "NBC Nightly News," "60 Minutes," CNN, "Dateline," ABC's "World News Tonight," FOX News, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and many others.