RSS Feed

Can Happiness be achieved with Chronic Pain

MaryByrneEigelDo 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.

About Mary Byrne Eigel

Before writing children’s books, Mary spent many years teaching in classrooms and creating art in her studio. She was born with bi-lateral hip dysplasia, a painful condition that causes normal activities, like walking, to be challenging. As a child, when Mary had to trek long distances, she often wished she had a wheelchair. For her, a wheelchair offered pain-free opportunities, not limitations. Mary grew up in Chicago, which is the lakefront inspiration for the town of Sail. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two dogs, Beaux and Trey.

5 responses »

  1. Mary,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I, too, have had to scale back my life and learn to prioritize my activities according to energy and pain levels. I have “good” days and “not so good” days, but always find much for which to be thankful!

    Lois Roelofs

  2. Mary Byrne Eigel

    Thanks for stopping by. I just had to check out your site and realize that we share things in common, besides pain. I also have spent 30+years in education and am currently working on completing a book. Hurray for your attitude in finding the good in the not so good days. I am envious that you get to live by the Lake soon. It is my mecca, having grown up in Chicago.
    I look forward to checking back with you. Be well, Mary

  3. Lois Roelofs


    Yes, I noted our similarities too. Best wishes with your book! It’s a long haul, but worth it in the end.

    The view on my site right now is what I see from my study window!

    I’ll be checking in on you also. Take care.


  4. My pain prevents me from enjoying sooo many things. I can no longer dance or take long walks or garden or do most exercises…I can’t play with my grandchildren the way I would if I wasn’t in so much pain. I can’t have intimate relations with my husband. I can’t go on amusement park rides I can’t clean my house the way I used to. I can barely bend over! Yea, pain has really changed my happiness …. but it hasn’t taken it all. I try to find joy in the little things. Even on the days I am confined to bed.
    Nice blog! Thanks!

  5. Mary Byrne Eigel

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Sounds like you have done acceptance and have a healthy attitude in your approach. And it is reassuring that you are taking charge of your attitude, which we can control. Be well. Mary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: