Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to be happy? The good news is you are not alone. The bad news is it is in your genes.
For most of our collective history Happiness is not a top priority. When there is a pack of wolves surrounding your camp, your winter grains are going moldy and your female partner is about to give birth there isn’t too much time to contemplating Happiness. Fear and a sense of insecurity was the predominant emotion of the day, of the months, of the millennium.
Fear is the nagging old timer that is always around while happiness is the energetic newborn playing hide and go seek. It is said that it takes six good news to cancel one bad news. Luckily there are tools to help us get out of this downward spiral.
Reappraising the fear. Buddha lived in a time much more challenging than ours. Disease, hunger, war, famine was the norm. He says suffering is the result of our reactions to certain events. Instead of getting dragged into the emotion of fear and depression, we can just observe what is happening. “Oh, I just got fired from my job of twenty years. I am feeling betrayed and abandoned. I am saddened and fearful of the future.” By taking ourselves out of the picture and assuming the role of a neutral observer we can be more objective and rational at this important junction of our lives. Easier said than done. It takes a lifetime to master but totally worth it.
Capitalizing on the good. In our family we have a tradition. At the dinner table we say one thing we are grateful for and one thing we did really well that day. We dwell on these good things in order to cancel any negativities of the day. This and the fact we don’t watch TV reduces our fear and depression by 80%. (Why is Trump still in the headline? Seriously!) Other people do gratitude journalling, say grace, goto church etc. Whatever the method, the intention is the same – focus on the good things around our lives in order to chase out the fear and the dark forces.
Remember, we ARE happiness. As a father, I am happiness for my daughter. As a husband, I am happiness for my wife. As a son, I am happiness for my parents. As a friend, I am happiness for my friends. As a neighbour, I am happiness for my neighbours. Etc. etc. We are each other’s keepers. The sun never expects its warmth to be reciprocated. Neither should we. We shine simply because we are star dust.
Last but not least we are most happy when we are taking action. If you lost your job go find another. If you lost your lover go find another. If you lost your hopes and dreams go find people who believe. Happiness lands on travellers whose hearts are full of aspirations and ideals. Be the happiness you want to see in the world.
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