I have worked in the humanitarian field for the last 30 years both as a volunteer and a staff member. Currently at Islamic Relief where I work, we’re conducting some research around the world in disaster and conflict settings into how Muslims internalise their faith in recovering from trauma and hardship. It’s fascinating for me because my interest in the Islamic field of knowledge is around how our connection to God provides that resilience to the both the negative and self-destructive forces within the self as well to the impact of challenging circumstances such as loss, financial hardship and conflict.
When you get to my age you’ve faced at least some of all of those things and my greatest reflection on this is that the key is surrendering and admitting to our own incapacity and frailty and the acceptance of God’s complete knowledge and power over all things that relate to us. The only real happiness is that which emerges from our love and dependence on God and it is our dependence on ourselves which is often at the root of our fears and despondence.
Interestingly evidence from research into wellbeing from around the world supports this in relation to people of faith. The enormous growth in medication and opiate consumption, particularly in more secular northern societies is testament to people’s pain of separation from our spiritual centeredness. Spend more time remembering and being grateful to God and give up your affairs to Him, try to be content with what He gives you is my maxim for looking after myself!