What Should You Do When You Feel Unhappy? Consider Starting a Daily Practice

 By Natalie Caine, M.A.
NABBW’s Associate for Life in Transition

 natalie caine colorThe book “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles,” by Marianne Williamson suggests that we daily ask,

  • Where would you have me go?
  • What would you have me do?
  • What would you have me say and to whom?

Whether you are preparing for a change (empty nest, divorce, career, illness, loss) or just suddenly find yourself sitting “in the midst of it,” people always ask what helps me.

Sometimes weeping or simply stopping and resting, and sometimes nothing seems to help, and then it does.

One tool I use throughout each day is a daily practice.

I like change, so I don\’t always do the same one.  Sometimes it is:

  • A silent walk in nature
  • A prayer like the words above from Marianne Williamson
  • Closing my eyes and quieting the internal getting the chatter by breathing with awareness
  • Reading poetry
  • A short meditation to my imaginary favorite place in nature
  • Writing whatever arrives onto an empty page, which I may have prefaced with the starter line, “today I need, today I love…”

The key is to begin something that comforts you and connects you beyond what you know or feel…opening yourself to the moment and getting relaxed.

Here are some other practices I have used effectively:

  • I light a candle and simply look at the flame, noticing what thoughts are in my head, how I lose focus of the flame, and when I hear nothing within
  • I take out drawing paper and my pastels or black drawing pen and begin sketching
  • I listen to a song while I lie on the floor
  • I ask for help from within, “help me focus,” “help me find clarity,” etc.
  • I say what I am grateful for

We all need this, I don\’t know anyone who doesn\’t feel agitated or uncertain at times.

Give some of these ideas a try. With a little effort you will find your own preferences for your daily practice. Eventually, these practices will become integrated into your day, like brushing your teeth. No big deal.

One of the benefits is that you become your own best friend/guide, and you become better at holding opposites, like, “yes this is so terrible for me AND it could be worse AND this won\’t last forever.”  

We don\’t always have a friend to call in the moment. We are often simply employing trial and error when it comes to comfort, decisions, and change.

Reach out before or when you are at your breaking point.  You know yourself better than you think you do.

Take good care,

Natalie

Natalie Caine, M.A.

Life In Transition, What\’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

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Natalie Caine is the founder of Empty Nest Support Services. When her daughter was a senior in high school, she realized that as a soon-to-be “empty nester,” she would be undergoing a major life shift. Not wanting to confront this transition alone nor have her many friends face this abyss without strong support, she created a support services group, which quickly grew into a new career and an exciting full-time business.