How to Sustain Happiness in a World with No Guarantees
Another day. Get up. Get dressed, shower, eat, run out the door to work.
Life can be mundane. A friend of mine profoundly stated: “The greatest temptation in life is discontentment.”
It is so easy to see what is wrong, to voice lack, to focus on our wants and not what we actually have.
We often hear phrases like, “as long as I have my health,” or “as long as I am financially secure,” or “when I find the love of my life, then I will be happy.” But, life does not guarantee those things. People are stricken with unexpected diseases, tragic accidents, loss of jobs, or heartbreak.
As I was walking into work the other day, as I do like millions of others, I had that tinge of wanting more, desiring something new, excitement. I happen to be one of those blessed people that love what I do, but the knawing ache can happen even to me. I stopped and looked around. The sky was a beautiful blue with the sun shining. A lovely tree hovered over me. I felt healthy and had long strong legs to take me wherever I needed to go. I took a deep breath and flooded myself with gratefulness for all of these wonders I see everyday, but sometimes absentmindedly not really see them. It was then that I realized the power of gratitude. I set the intention to be grateful for every single moment that day. I found myself feeling the adventure I longed for, it came in the simplest of ways. It came from inside me. I created it with my gratitude in every conversation and every task.
Gratitude pulls us out of discontentment. Gratitude finds the good and shines a light on it, brightening our countenance, thus brightening the world. When I put my gratitude jacket on, I feel alive. I see beauty. It helps me pull out of my self-consumed self and go outward, so I am able to say “Hi” and smile at the stranger walking by.
The number 1 way to sustain happiness is GRATITUDE.
The consequences of gratitude are too many to count, but I’ll mention a few biggies.
1. A grateful heart lives intentionally. On our walk into work we notice the sky, the smiling child, the air we breathe.
2. A grateful heart has room to help others because we are not so consumed with pursuing our own desires. We know the sheer joy of making someone’s day, even in the smallest of ways.
3. A grateful heart is content with what we have in the present moment. We do not live in the past or the future, we live in the now.
4. A grateful heart will find the positive, the silver lining, in every situation. I know someone who was in his 30’s when he lost the use of his arms and legs from a tragic accident. He does not live in the tragedy. He is optimistic, fun, and enjoys life to the fullest.
5. A grateful heart takes their happiness into their own hands and does not rely upon someone else to bring them happiness. We recognize others may be struggling with their own hurts, wounds, and moods. They may not have grasped the joy of gratefulness, how could we expect them to fulfill it for us?
6. A grateful heart finds joy in the many ways we express ourselves through art, music, and movement. These are the sweet gems that touch those deeper places within that make our hearts sing, whether observing or participating. Stuck in a rut? Try a dance class, paint a picture, sing in the shower, you fill in the blank.
Some argue that you cannot be happy all the time. This is true. If we are feeling low, say hello to it. I literally will say to myself, “Well hello there sadness. I feel and understand you. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.” Just acknowledging our feelings, magically begins to dissolve them. Then, you can think of something you are grateful for, and viola, your on your way to happiness.
If your new to gratitude, I suggest a gratitude journal. Start small. List 3 things every morning. Expand to every evening too. It takes roughly a month to create a new habit. Soon gratitude with be a natural part of you, and so will sustaining happiness.
Sunshine and Smiles,