The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides two definitions for happiness: a state of well-being and contentment, and a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Research suggests that happiness is a combination of these two components. Happiness is just not a feeling at a particular moment, it includes an overall sense of satisfaction of one’s life.
I have struggled with Depression for several years and have been hospitalized for it several times. At my darkest times I remember feeling totally hopeless. I had no ambition for life and focused on all my faults from my past. I just couldn’t move forward which caused my Depression to worsen. I also lost my faith in God and in life in general. Today, I am happy and participating in life again. It was a lot of work but I have been able to move from my dark days into a positive light for the future. So how did I rise from the darkness?
The steps I took to restore my happiness are similar to those used to restore one’s faith. Step 1, surrender and acknowledge helplessness. I had to face the fact that I had a serious problem and I needed help, professional help. So I succumbed to therapy and medication. Step 2, spend time with God. I realized I was trying to control this situation myself instead of having faith in God. I knew that God is always on my side and will see me through this trial. I began praying regularly and reading the bible for encouragement. Step 3, receive encouragement from family and friends. Having support from my family and friends was so important. I reported to them regularly on my progress and was inspired to do more because of their love. Step 4, have patient endurance. It was a long road to recovery. There were times of sadness and days of disappointment. But, I took small steps towards accomplishments. This allowed me to actively push forward. Each week I increased the daily activities I was doing to regain a “normal” life pattern. Step 5, forgive myself. I had to let go of all the baggage from the past. I cannot change the past so why dwell on it? I focused on the present moment and looked forward to the next step of healing. Step 6, look for hope. I realized God has a purpose for my life. I need to use my talents to help others. Engaging actively in life restores hope for the future. That is reason I started this blog, to be active in life again.
Happiness is not just a moment of gladness. It is a feeling of belonging, having a sense of purpose, and being content with one’s situation. Why stay in despair when one can choose to be active and happy?
The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, “So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” Happiness is a gift from God.