I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.
– My Favorite Things, Rodgers and Hammerstein
Albert Ellis, a world-renowned psychotherapist, composed a study on the happiness levels of people as they went through their every-day lives. Ellis discovered that, while most people believe happiness is a temporary emotion that depends on environment, the exact opposite is true. He concluded that most things that people would consider major life changes and circumstances actually had very little impact on their moment-to-moment happiness. Essentially, Ellis discovered that happiness depends on our interpretations of events, proving that happiness is a mindset, not a reaction.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The Bible makes it pretty clear how we are to go through life; not beaten down and miserable, but joyful. How do we become joyful? Pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances. Do you get urges throughout the day to send pictures or texts to your best friends? Or urges to call and share something exciting or even something you are stressed about? This is what the Bible means when it says “pray continually”. You don’t have to lock yourself in a closet and pray night and day. God simply desires for us to stop a moment and share with Him, just as we would share moments of happiness, sadness, and humor with our friends and family.
Giving thanks in all circumstances is one of those things that you read and quickly gloss over. How can I give thanks when my spouse isn’t living with me? How can I give thanks when I feel like my life is falling apart? How can anyone give thanks in their darkest hour? Gratefulness is one of those learned actions, not something that comes naturally to most people. One description of gratefulness is, “the full response to a given moment and all it contains.” That is, turning our full attention to the minute details in a situation that we might otherwise overlook. Sometimes we get so caught up in all of the big-picture negativity that we tend to overlook the little, happy moments in our lives. Happiness comes from learning to be grateful for the things you have; for the life you are living; and in seeing all of your blessings.
Who would have thought that Rodgers and Hammerstein knew the key to never-ending happiness?
Do you keep in constant relationship with God during the day?
Take time today to think of the many things that you have to be grateful for, and write them down.
Make a practice of finding the silver lining in your days.