I find happiness in Alhamdulillah. It brings a feeling of gratitude that has the power to instantly change your mood. Whenever I feel low about things not happening the way I want, I try to focus on the good things that I already have going in my life, and say Alhamdulillah, which makes it easier to cope with it.
There is extreme ease in sujood. Indeed it’s an amazing place to be. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t always open up to everyone about their troubled feelings easily. But Allah knows my heart, so whenever I’m going through a difficulty in life, I get down to sujood and pour my heart out. It doesn’t have to be during a prayer, and you don’t even have to pronounce your problem out loud. Just cry and complain and tell Allah whatever you’re feeling and ask for patience and a solution.
One of my favourite ayat—it’s two actually, are the verses from the Qur’an: “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (94:6-7), because it is a great reminder, a consolation from Allah SWT, not just once, but twice, for those who are suffering that relief is on its way. Just like the sun appears dutifully after a night full of darkness, there is ease after difficulty, and that is promised by our Creator who is the Most Merciful, Most Loving. Whenever I remember these ayat, they bring a smile to my face. Few other reminders to keep you boosted are: that Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear, Allah tests those whom He loves more, and all hardships for a believer bring rewards and erase sins!
I write. Not creative writing, (that thing I kind of given up on after starting a story without plot…lol) but I do write on my journal. I’ve started writing properly since 2014 and it has helped me a great deal with my mental health, Alhamdulillah. It’s also a very good way to store your memories that you can look back at later on and realise how much you have come through, how strong and blessed you are. I try to maintain regular updates (which doesn’t always happen), but I do write in times of distress. When I’m having conflicting thoughts, feeling very down, regretful or, a lot of the time, angry, I automatically pick up my pen and journal. In a troubling situation, once I start to write, my mind gradually focuses on the task of writing and distracts me away from the trouble, so by the end of an entry, I feel much calmer. As I have mentioned before, I am not a very vocal person, but I need to find an outlet for my feelings so I do that in writing.
Let me tell you something: never, ever try to bottle up bad feelings, it’s very unhealthy. You would think you’re doing a good job keeping those feelings buried and showing strength, maybe it feels like an weakness to share and ask for help, maybe it hurts your ego (on a side note, pride is also very unhealthy for you, get an ego check every now and then; don’t let your ego control you!). But bottling up feelings only results in bursting out and exploding everything at a later time. Just like bad substances are harmful for our physical body and we need to let them out, the negative feelings are also very toxic for the mental health so you need to let it out somehow. Maybe confide in a very close person, family or best friend preferably who is trustworthy and cares about you. Yeah, they NEED to be trustworthy and caring, you don’t want to spill all your heart out to a person who’s not reliable and leave yourself vulnerable.
So I let my negative feelings escape through writing mostly, and when I feel like opening up, by talking to my mum and my best friend. Most important of all though, dua. Even when you don’t have anyone, you still have Allah SWT Who loves you more than anyone ever could. Regularly communicate with Allah and make dua for anything and everything, no matter how small the matter is. Tell Him what’s troubling you—that’s the beauty of it, He knows what you’re are about to say, yet He listens. SubhanAllah. When you sincerely make dua (and not ask for something haram) He will listen to you In sha Allah. Sometimes the results will be instantaneous, and sometimes they will take time, because it happens in His timing, not yours. He is indeed the Best of planners. Regardless of the timing, you won’t be disappointed after making a sincere dua in sha Allah.
I’ve got loads of hobbies that keep me occupied most of the time. If I am going through a tough time, doing my hobbies keep me entertained because I have passion for those things, and they distract me from my internal conflicts. Art, creativity, knitting, lettering, nature photography—I have discovered and developed my passion for them over the years. One hobby that stayed with me my whole life though, is reading. No matter what you are going through in your life, pick up a book and you’ll soon lose yourself in another world where you don’t have to worry about anything. Try to find good motivational books that keep your mind positive and uplifted.
So yeah find yourself a hobby, something (Halal of course! lol) that you enjoy doing, and do it in your free time. If you have loads of extra time and nothing to do, it makes you bored and you are likely to feel down, so keep yourself occupied with passions that would not only ease your mind and distract you from the sad feeling, but also give you productive results.
Cry. It’s as simple as that. You feel like crying, let it out, and don’t hold it in. Of course that’s difficult when you are in public places…but when you are in the privacy of your home, let yourself cry your sorrow out. A good session of crying can help you get rid of all that sadness.
I know often people see crying as a sign of weakness. I’m a sensitive person myself, so you know when I talk about crying you’re hearing it from a very experienced person lol. Few people who are very close to me even told me that crying is for the weak and I shouldn’t be too sensitive and should have a thicker skin…but you know what? It takes strength to show weakness. And I am not saying cry in front of everyone, do it when and where you feel comfortable. For extra points cry to Allah, in sujood.
Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do to someone is to let them cry, so don’t deny yourself that privilege. It’s the natural way to get rid of pain.
Smile. I know that’s just completely opposite of what I’ve just said in the last few paragraphs, but you gotta have both. Try to smile as much as possible. Research shows that smiling is not just an outcome of happiness, but also in the other way, a smile can uplift your mood. Try now, smile as you are reading. As big as you can. Give me a toothy grin. Any changes?
As a kid, I once listened to a talk where the speaker was explaining how a smile can change everything. When talking to people, don’t keep a straight (or in the case of some people, grim and very serious ) face, talk with a smile, greet people with a smile. Smile because it’s Sunnah, because it’s the cheapest and easiest charity you can ever give someone. Treat people with kindness and they will do the same to you in sha Allah. Do it for the sake of pleasing Allah and you earn rewards too!
I know it’s not always easy to stay strong and take care of yourself, just do as much as you can to tend to your mental health like you look after your physical health. Stay positive, optimistic, grateful and smile!
May Allah forgive me for anything wrong I may have said.