How you can find happiness in any situation.

Some situations suck. And all the positive thinking in the world can feel pretty pointless and far-removed when faced with personal tragedy or epic failure.

But there are glimmers of goodness everywhere. Every single scenario offers positive and negative; wanted and unwanted; light and dark and everything in between. This is a world of duality and balance and above all else: POSSIBILITIES. Infinite possibilities.

The thing about humans is, we have built-in filters. Our senses are limited; they can’t possibly process everything that goes on around us. There are way too many sights and scents and sounds. So, our brains are forced to pick and choose. And how do they do it? Habit, duh. It’s those pesky neuronal pathway things again. 

Train yourself to focus on the bad stuff, and you’ll see it everywhere. The same goes for the good stuff. And which scenario do you think leads to a shiny, happy tomorrow?

I used to be the perpetual pessimist. Every encounter felt like a rejection; every job a bore; every morning a miserable obstacle to power through.

But as I started to actively train my brain into a glass-is-half-full mentality, the good stuff started picking up steam. The more I looked for it, asked for it, focused on it, the more I saw it everywhere. In chirping birds and morning fog; sales clerk’s smiles and rubber tires; paying bills and wake-up calls. These days, I’m a ray of sunshine at 7 a.m. (which may or may not be the most annoying thing ever if you’re not a morning person).

Let me segway into a little story: there was once a man named Viktor Frankl. The term ‘man’ does him a deep disservice. Prophet, teacher, visionary; neurologist and psychiatrist; saint. A survivor of the most infamous illustration of human suffering, the Holocaust, Frankl had a lot to say about man’s search for meaning. He believed in man’s ability to choose his own perceptions. When faced with a common concentration camp meal — a bowl of filthy water with a fish head floating in it — Frankl trained himself to find the beauty in even this.

If he could do it, Lord knows we can find it in our practically perfect lives.

So here’s what I do when faced with a less-than-pleasant situation:

  • Tell the universe I want to see stuff that tickles me pink. It tends to listen.
  • Look for stuff I dig. ANYTHING. I find that focusing on the outdoors does me good, ‘cuz I can always count on Mother Nature to give me something gorgeous to put my attention on.
  • Focus on the good stuff. Ruminate on it. Remind myself why I love it.
  • Think thoughts of appreciation. “The world is gorgeous.” “All people have positive qualities.” “There’s a lesson to be learned here.”
  • If you’ve having trouble seeing ANYTHING good, ask yourself what lesson you can learn from what’s transpiring. There is always a lesson, and it’s up to you to determine what it is. Come away from a shitty scenario with a newfound understanding or fresh outlook and you’ve found your meaning.

Do these things, and happiness is on its way. I promise. <3

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