It seems that every day life is getting more and more difficult. For everyone. We no longer have to turn on the t.v to see sad stories anymore. Yes, hard things are happening. But that doesn't mean that we have to become hard. I believe that we can be happy even in unhappy circumstances. How is that possible? In her book The How of Happiness Sonja Lyubomirsky concludes that 50 percent of a given human's happiness level is genetically determined (based on twin studies), 10 percent is affected by life circumstances and situation, and a remaining 40 percent of happiness is subject to self control. Isn't that interesting! Only 10 percent is affected by life, and 40 percent is subject to self control. I find that amazing, and contrary to popular belief. If that is true, then we do have the ability to choose to be happy. So, how do we do that?
Here are a few things I believe will help us to be happy in unhappy circumstances.
1. Help Others. Feeling down about yourself, your life??? The best remedy for that, in my opinion, is doing something for someone else. Seriously, it's like magic. Helping someone else has the power to eliminate your own sadness. And it's not just by doing grand acts, sometimes small kindnesses bring the greatest relief. Like the familiar quote says, "If you see a friend without a smile give him one of yours". Sometimes that's all it takes.
2. Be optimistic. The definition of optimism is "A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation." Now, sometimes it's hard to "expect the best possible outcome", but I like that second part, dwelling on the most hopeful aspects of a situation. Ahhh, dwelling. We are all prone to dwell on things now and then. Why not embrace it by dwelling on the good instead of the bad! See the good in situations. Look for it. Write it down. Be thankful for it. Tell others the good things going on instead of the bad. If you can make that a habit, you'll be much happier. "I can complain because the rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because the thorn bushes have roses", J. Kenfield Morley. Be optimistic!
3. Don't give up. Take a break. Have a cry. Call your BFF. But DON'T QUIT. Here is something that gives me the endurance to keep going.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit...
Success is failure turned inside out.
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
Don't give up. You are strong. You can get through it. Believe in yourself, and have faith.
I believe that even though life is difficult we can still be happy. Without pretending. Without ignoring our feelings. We can be truly happy on the inside if we help others, embrace optimism, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Good luck to you with all you're facing. May you find happiness during the trial.