So, how do we get to move ourselves into those feel-good emotions, at least for most of the time? Well, that is the trick, is it not? It is easy to feel great when life is treating us well, but then we hit that thing called an emotional roller coaster. That is when we have ourselves defined by what is going on around us. I am told that the Hawaiians have a saying for this: “What is up is up, and What is down is down…” I believe that one of their dialects says it this way, “Kaleela kaleela, kalalla, kallala”
Psychiatrists call this state of having our happiness be controlled by external events an “external locus of control” instead of an “internal locus of control”. We are all certainly somewhat subject to this phenomenon, but we can modulate it somewhat, by learning a few tricks, and developing coping strategies so that we are not always yanked around so much by the outside world.
I was always intrigued by the book entitled, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It talks about things like taking naps, being on a schedule, eating right, making and keeping good friends, enjoying comfort foods, and listening to the teacher, playing and taking breaks. So those are all the basics. But our societal values, often media driven, sure do get us out of whack in so many ways. We lose sleep. We get into conflicts with friends or family. We dump anger onto ourselves by “awfulizing” and anger onto others by a process known to psychologists and therapists as “projection”. Our culture seems to drive us to value achievement, running, running, running and doing, doing, doing, working, working, working. And Americans work very very hard, much harder even now than thirty or fifty or one hundred years ago. Even our entertainment keeps us on the move; for example, we work at our leisure “skills” to improve on them. We have to “work out” to “look good”….and on and on and on.
So what are the basics? You have heard them all before: eat right, sleep enough, take care of yourself, talk problems out with friends, identify your own resources, get help when you need it, exercise, spend time in the light, do what you love and love what you do, touch on right brain activities such as art or music and get in touch with your spirituality, whatever form that takes for you. Become at peace with yourself, and carry that out to those whose lives you touch. Get into balance.