Take Heart: Rainbows after Rain
When my children were small I started a keepsake book for them in which I recorded quotes that I felt could guide them through life.
On the very first page of that book I wrote a quote from Nicholas Nickleby which pretty much sums up for me all the guidance one would ever need…
“Happiness is a gift. The trick is not to expect it but to delight in it when it comes and to add to other peoples’ store of it ”
If we follow this, I advised my small children, you simply can’t go wrong.
My eighteen year old son now cringes when I tell him for the umpteenth time how I gave him his first lesson in empathy at the age of eight. We were out on a walk when we saw one of those sad posters on a lamp post about a missing cat. It was hand drawn by the bereft child who was missing her cat. After some explanation from myself my son looked at me puzzled and asked …
"...but Mum what do we get if we find the cat?”
“What do we get!” I responded, immediately perturbed that the answer was not obvious to him.
“The joy of making someone else happy of course! This is your gift.”
Glad am I to say that my lessons sank in and he now truly delights in spreading happiness.
At a time when the world could be described as being in a state of PTSD, it is heart-warming to witness so many giving what they can and spreading happiness wherever they can. People figuring out how to overcome obstacles to do these acts of kindness in such challenging times is testament to our resilience, our adaptability and our capacity for compassion. However, to help others we also need to recognise the importance of looking after ourselves.
Yale Professor Laurie Santos and host of The Happiness Lab podcast in her hugely popular Wellbeing courses teaches evidence- based strategies for promoting happiness in one’s life.
Tangible habits one can adopt such as ‘The 3 Blessings’- set yourself time to stop and reflect on three good things that have occurred. Interestingly, her thoughts on a world in a state of PTSD transform into opportunity for what is known as ‘PTG’ Post Traumatic Growth.
These seven areas of growth that have been reported to stem from adversity:
- Greater appreciation of life
- Greater appreciation and strengthening of close relationships
- Increased compassion and altruism
- The identification of new possibilities or a purpose in life
- Greater awareness and utilization of personal strengths
- Enhanced spiritual development
- Creative growth
Nevertheless, in order to spring back from adversity Professor Santos reminds us how important it is to be kind to ourselves: self-compassion is essential. If you have more time at home, use it to do something that resonates with you, identify what makes you feel happy and do more of it. If you have less time at home, perhaps you are a front- line worker, then take time between tasks to take 3 slow, conscious breaths deep into your belly and be in the moment.
Look after your wellbeing and you will also be helping to build immune function. The Yogic practices of meditation and mindfulness are known to correlate with a sense of personal growth and are considered effective following trauma. Living in the moment and lowering our expectations are key messages in yoga which are particularly relevant today.
Times are incredibly challenging right now, and it may seem so far away before we can become whole again but there is good reason to take heart.
The latest research on post traumatic growth can offer us all hope that we may well come out stronger, more creative, more compassionate and with a deeper sense of meaning than we ever had before.
To hear more of Professor Laurie Santos’ sound and helpful advice click below:
At Rainbow Life we are continually researching into mental health and we have developed a wide range of products to support your wellbeing during this critical time. We believe that Yoga health benefits cannot be underestimated. We hope you find something that helps you.
For those of you who need on the go support we recommend roll on essential oil blends and essential oil jewellery diffusers. We also have a range of car diffusers to provide aromatherapy support while travelling to and from work.
Please do contact us and let us know if you would like us to find something in particular that you need, or indeed that you feel would help others and you wish to share that knowledge.
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