Hi guys! It’s Dad!
Today I‘m writing to you about happiness. More specifically, I’m writing about creating happiness, or even more accurately, simply allowing happiness into your lives.
Sometimes we find ourselves feeling down or unhappy, and sometimes that feeling can become pretty overwhelming. We may feel so overcome with sadness that we can’t seem to shake it, even when we’re in a safe, love-filled environment. Feelings of unhappiness can be caused by so many different things.
Sadness and emotional pain can be caused by the way that someone treated us. It can be the result of an unfortunate event or circumstance. Sometimes it can be caused by ourselves. As weird as that may seem, it’s true! Sadness can be self-inflicted, meaning that we’ve done it to ourselves. Maybe we’ve behaved in a way that isn’t in alignment with our values, like treating someone poorly, lying, or simply not doing our best. Those behaviors often cause an ugly, heavy feeling inside that we call “guilt,” and guilt can really bring you down.
Even weirder than that is the fact that sadness sometimes barges in and interrupts our day and we don’t have any idea where it came from or why we’re feeling so sad in the first place. But those feelings are just as real, and they hurt just as badly.
This post is just reminder of how simple it can be to get ourselves out of that sad place; that unhappy place where we all find ourselves from time to time.
A little while back I read a story from an ancient book of wisdom. It spoke of a time when an old wise man used the same ideas that I’m going to share with you to help a king find true and timeless happiness.
The story goes something like this…
A wealthy and powerful king had everything he could ever ask for but he often felt unfulfilled and unhappy. He had power, riches, and comfort beyond anyone else, but he still felt sad, lost, and without purpose. He sought the guidance of an old wise man with the hope that he could lead the king to true and lasting happiness.
After a long journey, the king finally arrived at the wise man. He said, “You, wise man, I just don’t know what to do in order to find happiness and I was told that you know a great deal about the subject. I’m surrounded by family, and I have everything that anyone could ever ask for, yet I often feel sad and lonely. I feel unfulfilled and unhappy. Will you please help me be happy? Please tell me, what does it take to be happy?”
The old wise man quietly uttered a single-word response back to the king. “Help.”
To that, the king replied, “Help? Are you OK? Do you need my help?”
“No.” said the wise me. “Help! That is the answer for which you seek; the path to happiness.”
The king, now appalled, shouted back, “That’s it? That’s the wisdom you’re going to bestow upon me; the King, after a two-day’s journey? Well that’s just brilliant! Help??? Help whom, old man?”
Without hesitation, the wise old man looked at the king and said, “Whom you are with.”
And to that, the king asked, sarcastically, “And when exactly do I do that? When do I …help those whom I am with?”
The old man said, “Now.
whom you are with…
That is the key to happiness.”
The good news is that the path to real, lasting, rich, and fulfilling happiness is actually that simple. Help, whom you are with, now; in this very moment. Even in times when it feels that the world is falling down around you, this strategy won’t let you down. We can always offer help to those we are with.
Now simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy…or pleasant, but that’s not the point. Being a good person sometimes (ok…quite often) isn’t easy.
What’s difference between simple and easy?
Carrying forty cases of bottled water from the truck to baseball field is simple, but it’s certainly not easy. However, the more you do it…the easier it gets. With practice, you’ll grow the muscles and techniques necessary to carry those heavy cases of water more easily. Being happy; living happily works in much the same way. Just like carrying heavy cases of water…it will get easier the more you practice it.
Ok…step by step…this is how it’s done. This is how you can interrupt your feelings of sadness, and replace them with purpose, fulfillment, and joy.
- Think for a moment about what makes you feel joyful, or cheerful. Is it laughter? Is it gratitude for all you have? Is it when someone gives you a compliment or makes you feel good about yourself? Is it when someone cares enough about you to help you do something that you need to get done?
- Instead of waiting for that to happen, turn what makes you feel happy into actions that you can take to bring happiness to someone else.
- Now…go do those things for someone else! Make someone laugh. Give her a compliment. Ask her a question about herself, then give her your ears, your eyes, and you undivided attention while you listen. Do random acts of kindness, such as holding a door open for someone, bring your neighbor’s trash cans up from the street, offer to help someone with a chore, or just give a simple smile. Just give of yourself; be of service to others.
You’ll see for yourselves that almost immediately after you do these things…you start feeling happy.
There’s hard science behind all of this “happiness” stuff too. It’s not just talk. Refocusing your attention (taking your mind off of your own heart-ache and focusing it one something positive) has proven to be helpful. Creating physical movement and motion (positive motions creates positive emotions, like when we go to the gym and we feel so great afterward) changes our chemistry and brings joy, Then there’s the simple emotional reward of know that you’ve done something good for someone else. It’s an unbeatable combination.
But there are even more things too, that will physically, mentally, and emotionally bring you happiness.
- Make sure that you’ve given your body the nutrition to function properly. Stop and think “Have I eaten strong foods today…or junky, weak foods?
- Ask yourself if you’re sufficiently hydrated? Have you had enough water or fresh fruit juices today?
- Do you feel rested? Did you allow yourself to fall asleep peacefully last night, or did you fall asleep to a YouTube video or video game? And did you get enough hours of sleep?
- Are you feeling sluggish or lethargic? Sometimes we call ourselves “bored” when we’re actually feeling something called “lethargy.” Did you get at least 60 minutes of hard, physical activity today? Without consistent exercise, you’ll ultimately start to feel down.
- Have you learned something today? Did you exercise your brain today, through reading, inquiring, or creating?
- Finally, have you spent time today focusing on all of the things that we’ve been blessed with? Have you allowed yourself to simply be still for a few moments and actually feel gratitude? Have you told God, the universe, the people around you that you’re grateful for your health, your home, and all of your blessings?
Ultimately, you don’t have to know how it all works…just know that it works. I promise that I use these strategies every day; and sometimes all day! Do you know anyone who’s actually, consistently happier than I am? It works guys. I promise.
So, if you’re feeling off track, down, depressed, just pop onto this post and make sure that you’re ticking all of the boxes. OK?
I love you guys,