Barton Goldsmith: If You Want Your Life To Be Better

By Barton Goldsmith Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Therapist Barton Goldsmith says putting your life into perspective is a great way to start feeling better. Specifically he offers a few ideas to help you improve your situation and how you feel about it.

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I know that bad things happen to good people, and the trauma caused by unfortunate events can throw you into a place where you feel negative about everything. Nothing seems enjoyable, so you isolate yourself, and your life becomes smaller and smaller.

There is nothing wrong with a simple life, unless you don't enjoy it.

Make no mistake: you are in charge, and no matter what your circumstances, you have the power to change the way you feel and how you react to life.

There are so many people in the world who are worse off than you are. Even if you think your life totally sucks, if you are reading this, then you are in better shape than you may think. You need to remember this.

Putting your life into perspective is a great start. Now here are some ideas to help you improve your situation and how you feel about it.

Begin by doing one small thing a day. Maybe you need to do the dishes, pull some weeds in the garden, or run an errand. Just doing one little thing will get your body moving and keep negativity from entering your mind.

I spent much of last weekend putting together some bookcases and filling them with books that have been lying in boxes. I had a library at my last house and loved it, so I wanted to restore some of that feeling. Something about being in a room full of books is comforting. It's like entering a room full of old friends. Arranging those bookshelves felt good, and I still feel good about it now.

My task for the next day was to get rid of the boxes, and that was easy. I just brought the boxes back to the store where they came from, and the store happily recycled them. So I had accomplished three things: got the boxes out of my garage, reduced my carbon footprint, and felt good about the whole process.

The first step is to look at what you've been putting off. Procrastination can be part of being in a bad emotional place. If stuff on your desk is piling up, get on with it. You will feel better and probably be getting something done that's been nagging at you. It's a win-win.

Another way to feel better about yourself is to reach out to someone in need, but maybe that's too scary right now, which is understandable. If you feel like you don't have enough energy for yourself, how can you possibly give it to someone else? The real truth is that by giving your energy away, you actually increase it.

Doing anything that is good for you, your loved ones, the planet, or your dog will help make your life better. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and start moving. In case you need a little push, clean off that desk right now. You will feel better. ___ (Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.")

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