The art of being happy requires extracting happiness from common things.
Hello Happiness Fans,
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
While writing my book Happiness Power, my research led me in many directions, one of which was the important topic of stress and anxiety. Though I briefly cover both, there was not enough room in the book to examine them in detail. But they were excellent foils to dig deeper in the research on happiness. If I had to make an imaginary happiness clock, I would place contentment at the top twelve o'clock position with stress and anxiety precisely opposite in the six o'clock position at the bottom as the bottom is where they belong.
Though contentment is not the same as happiness, it is an essential component of it, as it helps distinguish between wants and needs. When you are content, you no longer have a desire for anything more than what you need. The abundance of the present is enough to lead a happy and healthy life. Contentment leads to the realization happinessdoes not come from material things, as the man below relates.
One day, a man so stressed out over the COVID -19 quarantines and loss of work decides to take action and seek psychological help.
He goes to the doctor and confesses for the first time the feelings which haunt his daily life: how he perceives the world is harsh and cruel, how he feels lonely and useless, how he relies on the perception of himself by others to grant him happiness, how he doesn't know that he will ever be satisfied with anything he does, how he doesn't know that he'll ever find contentment in anything.
The doctor sits for a moment, nodding silently. And then he speaks:
"Well, there are several medications which I can offer you..." and he trails off, looking thoughtfully over the man's shoulder, taking a moment to scratch his chin. "But you know...sometimes these things...we can cure them with simple remedies: a laugh, a good time. You know, there's a circus act in town! Maybe you should see it! There's a great clown there, Pagliacci, who has brought laughter to the lives of so many, many people."
The man replies: "But doctor...I am Pagliacci."
What do you think this story's moral is as it is an essential lesson to us all?
When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes - I already have everything that I really need.' -- Dalai Lama
I wanted to write a bit more about stress, especially with the pandemic raging as it is. I recently posted a blog that you might find helpful: Master Anxiety and Stress - 3 Critical Reasons You Need To!In the blog, I list the adverse effects of chronic stress on your body if you do not manage it. These include:
High blood pressure
Weakened immune system
The symptoms of stress can produce pessimistic thoughts and feelings, leading to unwanted behavior. If you can learn to recognize these symptoms, you can learn to manage them better. The blog provides many techniques to reduce stress significantly. You might want to check it out if stress is an issue for you or check with a doctor like the man below.
“Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as you see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.” Stacey Charter