This simple practice will help you live a more peaceful and happy life.
By Sheima Sumer
“And seek help with patience and prayer, and surely it is a hard thing to do, except for the humble-minded.”
Alhamdulillah, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has blessed me to publish a book titled, “How to be a Happy Muslim Insha’Allah.” In my humble opinion, as a trained counselor, the true basis of being a Happy Muslim is to have a positive relationship with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) by sincerely trying to worship Him alone.
After this basis, the next most important way to be a Happy Muslim is to use coping strategies to deal with negative emotions. Coping strategies are ways to relax and calm down when you are feeling sad, angry, or any other negative emotion. Examples of coping strategies are: praying to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), going for a walk, and talking to a caring person.
You should study your own self and discover the personal coping strategies that work for you.
Of course, you must also be aware of yourself enough to realise when to use coping strategies. Some people lack emotional awareness and, therefore, do not even use coping strategies when they should.
Furthermore, you should practice self-care. This means that you actually care about your inner peace. You respect yourself enough to maintain your inner peace. You are able to take actions, such as setting boundaries with people, in order to protect your inner peace.
Sometimes people (especially women) sacrifice their inner peace in order to please or help others. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake. If your inner peace is in jeopardy, you are actually endangering your long-term ability to help others because you are harming yourself. You are a person, too!
A beautiful hadith states: “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue that way. So you should not be extremists but you should try to be near to perfection so that you will receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.”*
This beautiful hadith teaches us that we should not make religion or life too difficult for ourselves.
When you have a negative emotion, this is an alarm telling you to turn to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and to start coping. Please use your negative emotions as a cue to turn to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
Here is a list of 21 coping strategies that have helped me:
1. Make dua to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and tell Him about your feelings and ask Him for help.
2. Read the Qur’an.
3. Talk to a caring person.
4. Go outside for a walk.
5. Question and clarify your inner thoughts and feelings.
6. Support and encourage yourself as if you are your own best friend.
7. Take 10 deep breaths.
8. Drink a hot cup of tea or a glass of water.
9. Read inspirational quotes and poetry.
11. Avoid situations that cause you stress (such as being around difficult people).
12. Train yourself to feel calm during stressful situations.
13. Focus on what you are thankful for.
14. Let go of thoughts that are not helpful to you.
15. Write in a journal.
16. Visit a neighbour.
17. Watch funny videos (making sure its halal fun!).
18. Chew gum.
19. Draw and color pictures of things and places that make you feel safe and happy. (For Islamic perspective on drawing, refer here)
20. View beautiful scenes of nature.
21. Hug a family member closest to you — parents, siblings, spouse or children.
What are some other coping strategies that help you to deal with negative moments in your life? Sound off below:
*al-Bukhaari (39) and Muslim (2816)