Impermanence

7 MOST EFFECTIVE MENTAL HEALTH TIPS: TIP 6

Tip 6: Believe in Impermanence

The lows

Do you believe that good things don’t last forever?

Unfortunately true isn’t it?

However, flipping the coin around you’ll see that even bad things don’t last forever!

I’m sure each of us has been through some difficult times. Times when life was so tough that it was difficult to smile, when each breath and each step took just too much effort. Remember the times, when you thought it was impossible to survive without a loved one, or to conquer this particular challenge, or to surface from this deepest low. Pause. See where you are now. You didn’t just survive, you lived! The disaster passed. Life went on. You moved on.

As bad as it was then, things are okay now. That nightmare is over. Yes, new ones arose to scare you sleepless, but they passed too.. allowing you not just restful sleep but beautiful dreams. Yes, some difficulties don’t completely disappear, they ebb and rise again, but you get used to them, learn to adapt and still move on.

So the next time you feel yourself sinking in despair, feeling that you will never be able to come out of this alive – remind yourself, that you have overcome worse and survived. Also, when you feel hopeless and too weak to carry on, not seeing a near end to your suffering – remind yourself, that you may not be able to see it now, but there is light at the end of this dark creepy tunnel.. there always is.

Acknowledging and accepting the mortality of problems, it then comes down to a choice. A choice between the resentful victimized ‘why me’ mode of functioning or the way of life wherein you hold on to the lessons you learnt the hard way and let go of the pain. The pain is definitely never pleasant, but focusing on just how unpleasant or unfair it is will only serve to amplify it. Instead, try telling yourself, that I know it hurts right now, and this isn’t the best of times, but I know that this too will pass, and all will be okay soon. Don’t feed the pain with the energy of your anger or hurt, there is no need to hold on to it. It is absolutely safe for you to let go of your pain, it won’t undermine the strength it takes for you to get through your problems, but instead will add a poignant grace to it.

The highs

It’s a relief that bad things don’t last forever. But unfortunately, the same is true for good things as well. Look back, what is it in your life that has lasted forever? Yes there may be some relationships that have stood the test of time, or some little thing which continues to be your pride.. but check do you feel exactly the same? Most probably, the feelings didn’t end, but simply changed in texture. The euphoria you felt at the beginning has probably mellowed down into contentment and comfort, the friendship has probably changed from meeting every day in the canteen to struggling to meet once in some months.

So instead of insisting and demanding that this happiness never change, enjoy it to the fullest while it lasts. If we do the former, the happiness will also end up in the pain and bitterness of loss. Accept that all is impermanent and change is the only constant. So experience the present in the best way you can and just let go of it when it ends, opening yourself up for new experiences, always remembering that this too shall pass.

Post contributed by: Mahima Gupta (Psychologist, Inner Space, 2010-2012)

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