Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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Finding Happiness in a Difficult World




                                          FINDING  HAPPINESS IN A DIFFICULT WORLD


I don’t have to chronicle the challenges of daily life, the miseries of the world or the impossibilities of politics. You know these problems all too well as you know the problem of getting bogged down and feeling stuck in this muck. So let’s not commiserate and remain in this negative life space. We do have the power of choice and we could choose to activate simple remedies to improve our lives.


Let’s start with the fact that all life is energy composed of vibrations varying in frequency. Obviously, then, positive emotions are composed of higher frequencies while depression and anxiety and anger are composed of slower and more negative vibrations. Realize that you have the power of choice.  When you feel down, sluggish and depressed, realize that the choices you make can reinforce your negativity or help you shift to a more positive and happier lifestyle.  When you choose to mope and complain you will remain in stuck in negativity. Instead you should choose more positive actions to energize you and change your situation to move toward your desired goals.


An important step in this process is realizing that we spend too much time living in our minds, thinking and worrying and separating ourselves from the simple joys of life available to us. Instead of living in your mind, cultivate the ability to live in positive feelings states by choosing a heart-based approach. The basic approach is to practice associating love feelings with your heart area and extending these feelings throughout your day. I refer you to the Institute of Heartmath ( for more information about maintaining a heart focus. While our minds are an extremely valuable resource to us accumulating knowledge and great thoughts, we need to realize that our minds by themselves cannot transport us to the happier place found within our heart-based feelings. You’ll find yourself opening to inner peace, to love and joy, positive energy, a more natural state of being.


You will not remain stuck in negative and depressing feelings unless you choose to think and worry and struggle over these issues. Keep struggling and you will stay in the quicksand of your negativity. The simple passage of time will start shifting your energetic vibrations to a more positive state. Consider changing your struggles to acceptance. You may have heard the true statement, “what you resist, persists.”  Time and energy spent on resistance will simply further entrench your problems.  Relax and your world will relax around you.


Another important and true statement is “what goes around, comes around.” Like attracts like. When you spend your life grumpy, complaining, attacking others, radiating these lower emotions, you will attract other complainers and angry people rather than the positive companions and friends you’d prefer. When you live in a life space of kindness, consideration and compassion for others, you will find other positive people being attracted to you. Your power is within you. When you change your inner world, the outer world will change.


Pay attention to where you focus your thoughts and feelings. When you feel gratitude and appreciation, you will be filling your life bank with positives. When your attention continues to flow to the things that make you angry or depressed, you will be choosing to remain in that state. What about all the terrible news and world problems I mentioned earlier? Are we going to let them bring us down? I believe it is important for us to understand significant problems and take whatever positive steps we need to cope with them. A simple prayer, signing a petition, making a donation, can put us in a positive heart-based mood instead of ruminating about a difficult world situation. 


Focus your attention on what you have rather than what you don’t have. When young children play, you can see their joy and spontaneity playing with whatever objects are around them. Later on, they will learn to gripe and complain, desiring what they don’t have or what TV tells them they should have. Cultivate a sense of happiness and joy, feeling grateful for the sunshine or the gentle rain or whatever is available to bring happiness to you rather than feeling deprived about what you don’t have. Again notice your choice to stay within a positive life space or descend into negativity.


These ideas are not new. They are nicely illustrated in the Cherokee story of the Two Wolves. “An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life. A fight is going on inside me, he told the young boy, a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil, full of anger, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity and false pride. The other is good, full of joy, peace, love, humility, kindness and faith. This same fight is going on inside of you grandson… and inside of every other person on this earth. The grandson ponders this for a moment and then asks, Grandfather which wolf will win? The old man smiled and simply said, the one you feed.”


Inspiration is a wonderful component of happiness and joy.  Spirituality or religious beliefs can play an important role in this process. If you would like additional inspiration about these ideas, consider the book, “The True You: An Awakening and Happiness Manual,” Erica Rock, Author Published, 2011.


Take notes or cut out this article, post happy faces on your mirror and smile at them, use these ideas for yourself to find your happiness in a difficult world.!