Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

Addison on Happiness

True happiness arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self, and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.

—Joseph Addison (by Godfrey Kneller; Public Domain)

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Happiness & Perception

If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.

—Montesquieu (Public Domain)

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Hawthorne on Happiness

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

—Nathaniel Hawthorne (by Matthew Brady; Public Domain)

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Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.

Image by Tim Hill from Pixabay

—William Feather 

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To the European, it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy.’ But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.’

—Victor Frankl (by Dr. Franz Vesely; Creative Commons)

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Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.


—Dalai Lama

…Define the actions which will make you happy, and then make a habit out of completing them repeatedly, day in and day out.


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Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.

mountain path uphill to the sky at sunset

—Dale Carnegie

…So much negativity. It surrounds us. It is thrown in our face when we turn on the television, and it speeds around us on the highway. It bombards us from the news sites, and it seeps into our inbox. It can change our mood in an instant.

I recall sitting on the off-ramp of a highway some years back, waiting for the light to change. The bumper sticker on the car in front of me read “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention!” Wow. I could tell that the driver was agitated that the light had not turned green yet. The bumper sticker didn’t mention what we should be “outraged” about, but it didn’t really matter. I suspect the man traveled through life being constantly insulted by his surroundings. He had surrendered his mind to darkness.

It is no fun going through life annoyed, angry, sad, or depressed. If we have developed the habit of letting external forces dictate our mood (and don’t worry, most of us have), getting back into a “happy state” can feel like a monumental task. But it can be done, and the more we practice this task the easier it becomes.

The first step is to understand that we control our current state of mind. External factors only have the power we give them. You would be amazed at how many people simply do not accept this fact. God did not put us here to go through life figuratively blowing in the wind; we have the power of thought, reason, and purpose-driven action.

To help develop your natural ability to change emotional states, try this exercise. The next time an external event comes along which threatens to put you in a negative state of mind (don’t worry, you probably won’t have to wait very long), detach yourself emotionally from it and examine it as an outsider. Identify its source, and consider why you would let this event—which may be a news story, an email, or an angry driver—affect your mood. Does the source of this event (perhaps a journalist, for example) wish to affect your mood? Do you want to give the source of this event any level of control over your life?

Try changing your physiology. Instead of getting angry about the event, put a smile on your face. Remind yourself that you are in full command of how you respond to external actions and events. Think about what state of mind (anger, rage, fear) you are tempted to move into, and visualize the state of mind (serenity, joy, decisiveness) in which you prefer to remain.

The more you practice this exercise, the more you will develop control over self. And the more control you have over self, the more you invite true happiness into your life. So, don’t dread external events which threaten to change your mood; welcome them as wonderful opportunities to sharpen your skills!



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