Do we have to sacrifice being happy when we are left to deal with chronic pain? The happiness we might have experienced in the past doing such things as tending a backyard garden can become overwhelming and exact a heavy pain price when you add chronic pain to the mixture. I have cringed hearing folks share how they just had to get out and tend their garden even though they knew it would cause their pain to escalate. How can this bring the same happiness?
Gretchen Rubin spent a year testing past wisdom and current research regarding how to be happy. Her findings are published in her new book “The Happiness Project”. It offers several suggestions/strategies for taking a look at all the parts of our life, sorting out the essential things and allowing ourselves to be mindful of what does make us happy. And by getting to know ourselves better we might be able to limit or dismiss activities that no longer fit without sacrificing happiness.
Living with chronic pain often means that many compromises have to be made. I have chosen to be happy with planting flowers in hanging baskets on my patio when in years past my whole yard was a blaze of daylilies, irises and annuals. But reading some of Gretchen’s findings, this same choice is often made by those without chronic pain because they realize they no longer have the time for certain activities.
Have you had to modify what makes you happy? What do you think about the Happiness Project? I would love to hear your thoughts.