Here’s the strategy that forever changed how I deal with stress…

If I have learned one thing from living with chronic pain everyday, it’s that we live in a world where irritability and frustration often comes easier than happiness.  It seems easier to notice the things that upset us most in life than to appreciate those things that truly make us smile.  If this sounds familiar to you, than give brief article a quick read (less than a minute).

I truly believe that the best way to fight back against anger, frustration, irritability and stress is to be kind to others.  That’s right.  On your worst days, find ways to make others smile and that will miraculously make you happier.  Take it from me.  On the days where my pain is unbearable, I find ways to make others smile and somehow it makes my pain subside. By being kind or making other people smile, it somehow helps rewire my brain to help change my mood.

It truly is a testament to the importance of living life for others.  If you spend your life living solely for your own personal gain, you don’t stand a chance against the stress of life.  In fact, if you live your life for selfish reasons, the stress of life will eat you whole.  But if you choose to spend your time making the lives of others better – the anger, frustration and irritability you face in life is suddenly outmatched and it becomes that much more manageable to control.

Still don’t believe me?  Try it.  I dare you.  The next time you’re having a terrible day, hold the door for a stranger and see what happens.  When you get angry in traffic (trust me on this one), let someone pull out in front of you at a busy intersection and see if your mood begins to change.  Simple acts of kindness for others can make even the darkest of days seem just a little brighter.

I think this works for two reasons.  First, it helps us to slow life down.  When we become frustrated, irritable and stressed we tend to speed things up in life without even noticing.  We want traffic to be done faster.  We want our food to be ready faster.  We want the person we are on the phone with to hang up quicker and we want the day to end faster.  But when we stop to doing something kind for someone else it tells our brain to slow down and reminds us that everything is ok.

Second, I believe that being kind to others helps train our brain to focus on the good things in life instead of the bad.  On our worst days, if we take a moment to do something good and we see someone smile, life doesn’t seem so terrible anymore.  But hey, don’t take my word for it.  Give it a whirl the next time your stressed and try to prove me wrong.  I bet you can’t…

But then again, what the hell do I know?  I’ve only lived in chronic pain for the last six years and still, somehow find a way to find happiness everyday when I could make every excuse in the world for why to be miserable…

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