Like the tides on the shoreline, happiness ebbs and flows for us all. We wish for an enduring state of happiness; we long for happiness to be in perpetuity. But that’s not reality. What we can do is control the duration of the “flow” and enjoy life as often as we can. There are three things we can focus on to be as happy as we can be: having patience, monitoring our mind, and living for the present.
A Key for Happiness: Patience
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We all experience times of discouragement, frustration, stress, etc. We do not have to allow the negative to persist. Having patience is important for happiness. People who are impatient worry and stress over the smallest things in life. The moment anything unexpected happens, that is perceived to be negative, impatient people go from being in a normal state to a fight-or-flight response. This is where having patience is critical. Those of us who possess considerable patience have an uncanny calmness to life. And the calmness that is generated from patience gives us a sense of peace and happiness, no matter the circumstance.
Be Choosy With Your Thoughts
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined by our disposition.” – Martha Washington
Another key for happiness is to monitor our mind and simply decide to be happy. To the neurotic, this may prove to be a great challenge. But to the fairly normal person, making the decision to focus one’s mind on all the good in life produces a fine state of well-being.
The famous American philosopher and psychologist William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” Do you know what this means for us? It means that we become what we think about. If most of our thoughts are concentrated on positive things – things that sustain happiness – we will tend to be happy. But this is a two-edged sword. If we mind the negative more often than not, that is what we will reap.
The Power of Now
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will” – Winnie the Pooh
Lastly, we can only experience joy with the time we have right now. People who reserve their happiness ‘til marriage, a better job, a house, or car will soon find out that they are unhappy even when these things are obtained. The problem with waiting for something in the future to happen, to determine our happiness, is that the future may never come. An unwavering challenge is met when concerning our state of happiness with the past, we can’t change it. The only time we will ever have to be fulfilled and happy is right now. Yesterday cannot be altered; tomorrow may never come.
“With the strength of patience, the power of right thinking, and the concerted effort to live wisely in the moment – this is what creates happiness.” – Mark P. Hawthorne