“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon
In his book, The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama states that he believes man’s purpose is to be happy. Yet, we know so many people that appear to be unhappy. Pre Covid-19 studies claim that 26% of adult Americans suffer from anxiety. This is an alarming number, and probably much higher now due to the pandemic.
The simple solution seems to be prescriptions for anti-depressants. Though widely used, this is not a permanent solution; rather it is just a band-aid that provides a temporary cover up.
So what can we do in order to be happy without drugs?
There is strong evidence that shows the more control we feel we have of our lives, the happier we are. In order to feel you have control, you must begin by accepting total responsibility for YOU.
Stephen Covey, renowned author, said, “Whenever you think the problem is out there, that very thought is the problem.” Yet most people continue to look outside of themselves for the reasons that they are unhappy.
They blame their spouse, their job situation, the economy, the pandemic… the list goes on and on. When we accept full responsibility and take total ownership of who we are, we gain control of our lives.
Responsibility = Control = Happiness
* Be Aware… Notice when you are giving up responsibility. For example: You are driving to work and some careless driver cuts you off. You get angry and upset. You may even curse at them. You hold onto this rage long after they are gone. Question… Did they make you feel the way you are feeling inside? They don’t even know you exist! In all likelihood, they didn’t even realize that they cut you off. Who is really responsible for how you are feeling? You are! Yet you gave up some ownership and control of you to a total stranger.
* Take Ownership… “I am responsible” is one of the most powerful affirmations that we can say. Write this affirmation down. Recite it first thing every morning when you wake up, and every time during the day when you are aware that you have given control of your life to someone or something else. Recite it again every evening before you go to bed.
* No Excuses… Stop blaming others and circumstances out there, and start looking at what you can do to make positive changes. There are many things that you have no control over. However, you do get to choose how you will deal with these challenges.
* Focus on what you can control… Your happiness is just one choice away.
Remember… Every day is a gift, and the quality of your life is your gift to yourself