How to Be Happy and Get the Most out of Life !
By: Natasha Sharma, M.Sc.
By: Natasha Sharma, M.Sc., CCPA
Director, Relationship Expert, and Doctoral Student
Pyschotherapy and Assessment Services
10 Four Seasons Place, Suite 1000
Toronto, Ontario, M9B 6H7
T: (647) 862-4173
Natasha Sharma is a psychotherapist, doctoral student, author, speaker, and media spokesperson. Follow on Twitter @NatashaSharma17
Problems, as we all know, are a reality of living. Life can be unpredictable and will most certainly be stressful at one point or another. But it is how we respond to changes and solve a problem that have the most impact and influence to the quality of our lives, as opposed to the actual problem itself. In my practice as a Relationship Expert, I have worked with many individuals and families of all ages, ranging from issues as harrowing as psychological trauma in small children to more commonplace issues such as conflict in the workplace, or dating and relationship issues. Over the years, I have come to realize that a problem is a problem, relative to the unique context of a person’s life and individual phenomenology. Which is to say that they exist – or do not exist – based on our own personal circumstances and subjective experiences of life.
No matter what our individual circumstances are, there are things that all of us can do – whether we struggle with mental illness, extremely difficult living conditions, anxiety, depression, or just plain old boredom – to promote our psychological and emotional well-being, and therefore the quality of our lives. I call these the 4 pillars of LIFE: Love, Introspection, Fun, and Empowerment.
Let’s take a closer look at each one working backwards:
Empowerment: Through constantly seeking knowledge and education about ourselves and the world around us, we Empower ourselves! That means we increase our capacity to make the best choices to suit our individual lives, and to transform those choices into the actions and outcomes that we desire. We feel stronger and more confident in our ability to control our own life and destiny.
Fun: Life is incomplete and boring without Fun! We express our individual selves every day through our tastes in food, fashion, travel, hobbies, social events, music, movies, and whatever else we are passionate about. Fun is the spice of life, and regular doses of it at every age are essential to our well-being!
Introspection: To increase self-awareness, we must look inward and recognize our unique strengths, our weaknesses, our areas of vulnerability, and our passions. We all have them. Become intimately acquainted with your unique self!
Love: Our well-being is truly enhanced by the love we receive and give to others. But most important, and foremost to good mental health, is the love we must have towards ourselves. This type of love comes through deep self-awareness, self-respect, and unconditional self-acceptance. When we are kind and forgiving of ourselves, we feel more secure and at peace. We gain more confidence, are more assertive, have more energy, are less resentful, and make good decisions that are of benefit to us. Simply put, the most important thing each of us can do to promote our own mental health is to fall in love with ourselves! When we do this, we are happy. And when we are happy, we are better mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and friends.
Many of the people I encounter in my world find themselves unable to let go of the past, or anxious about the future. We cannot change the past. But we can change the way we reflect on it and thereby re-write the story of our past. We cannot predict the future. But we can challenge our fears and assess the likelihood of events. Finally, we cannot always control life. But we can always control how we experience life.