The Key to Happiness When Life Gets You Down

By Linda Knudsen

While driving my husband to work today he observed, “Today was a good day. I want to be able to get excited about the good things happening to me. But I also want to feel good no matter what my exterior circumstances might be.”

It is easy to feel good when we are on the crest of good tidings. It is when we fall into the trough that choosing happiness becomes challenging.

The Law of Rhythm states that there are natural rhythms we live with as part of our mortal experience. This would include all areas of our lives: the mind, body, emotions, and spirit, etc.

The key to living and loving all sides and angles of this law is GRATITUDE! It is so important, if we want to be happy by choice, that we learn how to live with gratitude through both summit and crevice of life’s grand adventure.

We go through life walking on tip toe, afraid of experiencing anything painful. We live in fear of failure, of hardship, of the lows of our lives, yet it is during these low times we can find gratitude for so much which we may have missed during the good, high points of our lives. Gratitude for simple little things: a sunset, a painting, a cold ice cream on a hot day, that fresh clean smell after a summer’s thunderstorm, sticky kisses from children, a friendly smile, a plate of cookies from a neighbor.

It is certain that during the good times it is easy to be happy, optimistic, and cheerful. How easy is it for us to forget to be grateful during the high tides of our life? Do we still take time to appreciate those little things? I hope so!

What about the low times? What can we do to get out of the furrow? How can we more quickly move to the good times we so easily enjoy? The answer is the same: GRATITUDE!

As we learn to practice gratitude throughout all of our daily ups and downs we will find peace and understanding. We will learn to flow with the rhythms of life without kicking against the pricks.

My twins were about 15 months old when our family took a vacation to Disney World with a bunch of our friends. I wanted to enjoy the trip but with two active baby boys I found myself stuck in the hotel room while the older kids went out with Dad and friends.

One night I reluctantly agreed to eating dinner at a fancy restaurant in the park. Between keeping our 6 children under control, cutting this, spreading that, dividing and divvying portions I notice a very pungent smell. It wasn’t coming from the food. So off I go with a toddler in each arm, away from the steak and shrimp dinner. When at last I reach the double stroller I battle our way through the maze of downtown foot traffic. At length, after much searching and teary eyes I find the bathroom. I have just about had it! I want to enjoy this “once in a lifetime experience” but how can I?! I am at Disney World and I’m miserable! So I looked deep inside myself and searched the principles I had been taught and realized I needed to be grateful for what I did have. So I began with the basics. “I am so grateful for clean disposable diapers! And paper towels! And warm running water! And plastic bags which hold all the poopy clothes- and subsequently the washer and dryer! I am so grateful I have a stroller to help me contain these two happy and healthy little boys. I also have a family I love very much!” Oh, can I tell you- the change that took place in the instant I began to recognize the blessings? I went from 0 to 100 in the twinkle of a thought.

As I came out of the bathroom I found, to my great surprise, fun and energizing music playing. My family was right there in the plaza where a dance competition was being held and my husband just got chosen to be one of three contestants. The music was booming as the beat ran through our veins and my family and I bounced and turned and laughed together. We ended up having the time of our lives!

So what do you do when you find yourself sunk into a low? Simply look for all the blessings, all the things you can be grateful for, and you will come through whatever challenge you may face!

 

Linda Knudsen
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