Most of us can remember a happy place (memory) that we can visit in our imagination.

When we are under stress or facing a crisis, if we think of a happy place or time, it may help us get through it.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a virile, athletic young man and an excellent dancer before he was stricken with polio. How difficult it must have been for him to adjust to relying on a wheelchair. He used a ritual while sleepless or under stress, imagining he was a youngster, accelerating his sled down a steep hill in the snow to a wooded bluff below.

Coincidentally, Bob Dole, in his autobiography, “One Soldier’s Story,” also used this device. As he lay wounded on the battlefield, awaiting a medic’s attention, he thought back to his boyhood in Kansas, where he was a track star.

Use your imagination to escape momentarily when you are in an unpleasant situation.

During the heat and humidity of summer, picture snow piled up higher than our heads when the snow plows cleared our parking lots and streets. Sounds simple, but it could help.

Conversely, during the winter’s frigid temperatures, picture construction workers perspiring in the blazing summer sun, or yourself sitting on the patio enjoying a glass of iced tea.

Just imagine yourself at another time or place. Such as when you met and fell in love with your significant other.  The joy at discovering that the other person felt the same way about you.

Remember how you wanted to stop strangers on the street and tell them how happy you were? Happiness is to share, but sorrow we often bear alone.

You may laugh at these simplistic measures but they actually can help see us through many trials.

If you can’t think of a happy place, go out there and create a happy memory (place) now with Christmas soon upon us. One you can visit in the months ahead when things aren’t going well.

Washington Irving (a 19th century author of the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”) said, “It is the divine attribute of the imagination that when the real world is shut out, it can create a world for itself.”

I had a chance to check out my theory recently due to health issues, and it does work.

Imagine that!

Advertisements