A client I hadn’t heard from for at least 20 years recently called and raised an interesting question. She had been following this series on strategies for change and wondered why I hadn’t written one on happiness. She wanted to know how to be happy in the face of negative circumstances. “How do you stay cheerful and happy all the time?” she asked.
Certainly, it is not because of having a trouble-free life. I have lived through many difficult and stressful situations including a stabbing attack that nearly killed me. My difficulties or challenges began when I was a child growing up with a mother who made it clear that she did not want me. Her strictness often turned into meanness but my grandmother gave me the strategy I needed to survive. She said, “Be happy about anything that has made someone else happy. And God will be happy with you.” So that is what I did.
As simplistic as that sounds, it works. When people get outside of themselves and look around they can find as much happiness as sadness in other people. Being happy for another person’s joy gives you a good slant on health, wealth, and friends.
This is how to do it. When you hear about something positive on the news or from a friend, listen to the broadcaster or your friend without interrupting. Just listen without thinking about or saying any response. This allows happiness to enter your feelings. You will find that you can feel grateful and happy about what happens to a stranger, friend or relative. And that what you send out of those positive emotions will return to you multiplied.
Here is an example of how happiness affects health. A man who was depressed asked me what to do about depression. I told him to think about how lucky he was to be otherwise healthy, to be grateful and happy about his own health and that of his friends. To say cheerful happy things, and to give no power to his illness at any time. With practice he returned after several years to a full and healthy life. He actually recovered from leukemia with his new attitude! Another client, a lady who had been in a wheelchair for 3 years and wanted to know if it was possible to walk again. Her doctor had said no but I said yes and proceeded to help her change her attitude and with determined effort, she did the exercises and foot treatments. Within 8 months she was able to walk, first with crutches, then with a cane, and finally without any aid. She walked the way she could before she got hurt. She walks to this day.
In addition to making happiness a habit, you can invite similar miracles into your life with this prayer: “Thank you, God. I know I am well and in perfect health.” Say it 10 times every morning and evening while tapping your temples. Keep doing it.