I first heard about the Happyness Center about a year ago when I saw an advertisement for a First Responders Recovery program for front line workers that worked with mental health, disabilities and addictions. As a front line responder in the line of work, I was desperate to get help - I was completely burnt out and wanted to quit my job. I had gotten to the point where both my work and personal life were non-productive and I wanted to be productive and dynamic again. (continues below)
After attending the program, I learned that I was the stone in the water rather than the ripple. Every step had a decision. I learned that every choice, whether how or when to react to a situation, has the exact same weight and importance as the seemingly large, complicated decisions. I realized that my choices are mine alone and the Centre helped me define what I was responsible for. It can be difficult not to assume responsibility for every outcome but the program taught me that this leads to an unhealthy perspective, and unfair expectations of myself and others.
Through the First Responders Program I learned that my work needs an ability to analyze and use intuitive problem-solving techniques to assist others in achieving their goals; but that I had defaulted to over-analyzing and ignoring the intuitive and inclusive aspects of my work. This led to the deterioration of relational strengths and my productivity, as work became difficult and exhausting. I also learned what the ebb and flow of energy is, where growth happens, where decline is and the critical point of how and why energy is affected.
The most significant concept I learned, and I am still working on, is that what I perceive can affect the natural ebb and flow of my energy. That letting go of unhealthy self-expectations boosts energy. I learned to replenish energy in a healthy, non-judgmental way. It is easier to criticize, self-judge and constantly nag oneself, but this mode drains energy. Thus, all of the energy I require to intuitively assist others is not forthcoming. I learned what I had control over and what I was responsible for. A person needs energy to get up, eat, move, play, interact with others and work. I learned that I had destroyed my energy reserves in all these areas due to: constant self-criticisms, self-recriminations, vicious self judgement, terrible eating habits, poor self-awareness, inconstant movement, no fun, no laughter, and accepting what I believed to be truths (about myself and others) without seeking to first know whether they were actually true.
The program’s focus got me to let go of the negative that I accept from others and put on myself, and to put truth and curiosity in its place. I learned what a healthier approach is and how to incorporate it into the every day. Thanks to the program, I am now open to possibilities of growth; I have a desire to learn and I accept that I will make mistakes; I eat more intentionally and healthily; I move more; I laugh more; I practice the boundaries in work and personal life that I learned during the program and I am aware and practice where and what I am accountable for. My practice requires flexibility, intuition, and the ability to challenge rigid habits to a healthy option rich environment, but the First Responders Program taught me the tools and skills I need to have this practice and to make it a lifestyle.
I would absolutely recommend the program to anyone who feels crushed, useless, worthless and powerless. If you feel one or more of those listed above, invest in yourself, invest in your health and learn to live and love again. I feel grateful and understand gratitude in its magnificence thanks to the Happyness Center and it's practitioners and teachers.