Top 10 Ways to Be Happy Even In Tough Times

10 Jun 2014

As someone who’s been in an emotionally abusive relationship,you know just how hard it is to be happy when there is a black hole at the center of your life. The problem is you’re in a Catch 22 situation. You can’t be happy because living with an emotionally abusive partner is so awful. But until you can be happy – or at least believe that happiness is a possibility for you – you may not have the strength to do something about your awful situation. So, how are you meant to recover from an emotionally abusive relationship?

Here are 10 simple things you can do to lift your spirits:

  1. Create a safe space for yourself – even if that is only for 5 minutes a day, even if the only place you can do that is in the bathroom. Use that time to recharge your battery, by thinking, reading, meditating, praying, listening to music… Whatever works for you. 5 minutes may not be much, but remember, even an avalanche has to gather momentum s it goes.
  2. Stop blaming yourself. Easier said than done, I know. But however bad you feel, you can say this to yourself; “I may or may not, be whatever he accuses me of being. So what? So fricking what? I’m human, and I have the power to change – whether I even believe that or not?”
  3. Tease yourself. Next time you catch yourself feeling awful, say to yourself: “Oh, %$firstname$%, that’s awful, awful, AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL…  Are you getting bored with how awful it is, yet? I certainly am. Nobody can awfulize like you do. You are so, SO good at it. But you’ve not won any prizes yet. In fact, there aren’t any prizes for awfulizing. Sorry. That’s awful, too, I know. Awful, awful, awful, awful…” You get the picture. Make those awful feelings self-conscious. They deserve it.
  4. Breathe. Yes, we know you’re already doing that. But you’re doing this life-affirming act on auto-pilot, while you consciously and deliberately flagellate yourself with your thoughts. So, breathe a bit. You don’t have to locate your navel, or try to breathe through any particular part of your body, just count. Breathe in for 5, then breathe out for 5. When you’ve done that 10 times, do the same thing all over again, with this one small difference. Breathe in for 5, breathe out for 5. Then count to 2 before you breathe in again. You have now created a “Time out” in your day.  You may be surprised how much better this will make you feel.
  5. Laugh. Make it your business to find at least 5 – 10 things to laugh at in your day. Laughing is good for you. In fact, if you want to boost it to 20+ things to laugh at, you’ll be doing even better. Each time you laugh you shed a little bit of your burden. Over time, you’ll be amazed how those little bits shed mount up.
  6. Hug. Not your emotionally abusive husband. Hugging him is like diving head first into a thorn bush. Hug your children, friends, family, your pet – anyone who is good at giving and receiving hugs. Hugs make you feel better. They offer you healthy physical and emotional connection.
  7. Count your blessings. Daily. However bad things are, you always have some blessings. Take a little time, daily, to focus on them – instead of your burdens. It’s good for you. And it’s a surprisingly powerful way of starting to shrink those burdens.
  8. Eat properly. If you’ve been punishing yourself by putting the wrong foods down your neck, stop it. Or, at least, start consciously choosing more of the right kinds of foods. What kind of message are you giving yourself if you’re not even bothering to feed yourself decent food? Feeding yourself some good healthy stuff is about learning to love yourself.
  9. Get up and move about. When you’re feeling at your most miserable chances are you are sitting in a little bubble of misery. You’re physically static. So change that. Get up on your feet. Walk, run, dance, sing at the top of your voice (forget about the neighbors, they’re probably tone-deaf anyway) jump up and down, punch a pillow, have a long chat with a flower. Discover what works best for you, and do it. You’ll feel better for it.
  10. Swear. Out loud. Not at people. That would be rude and unnecessary. But have your very own personal Swearfest. Get creative. In the privacy of your own space, see how creative you can get, and how many swear words you can pack into a single sentence. According to Psychology Today. swearing enhances psychological and physical health:

“The health benefits of swearing include increased circulation, elevated endorphins, and an overall sense of calm, control, and well-being. The key is to do it sparingly and not to get angry at the same time, which would be very bad for you—as well as terribly vulgar…. You wouldn’t want to argue with science, would you? So take the time to take a Swearbreak.”

So there you are: 10 ways to be happy in tough times. Do you notice a theme here? It’s all about fun, light-heartedness, and laughter.

Mr Leaden-Heart has done everything he can to close down those possibilities for you. But, actually, he’s powerless to stop you finding some fun, light-heartedness, and laughter in your day. Only do it, and you’ll find you have a lot more strength to deal with the tough things.



Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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