I know of two really good ways to achieve happiness. I’ve tried them both. And I’ll tell you right now, one is much better than the other.
What are the two ways?
The first is through ignorance, while the second is through gratitude. I’m guessing you know which one I think is better.
Surprise, surprise. It’s gratitude. But maybe you’d like to know why.
Let’s start with why I wouldn’t recommend ignorance as a route to happiness.
Ignorance requires little investment. But the benefit is that it’s the quickest way to happiness. You only need to turn off your brain.
I know this because it was my default response during my worst days of depression. If I’m feeling depressed I only need to watch some stand-up comedy or drink till I’m drunk or eat my sorrows away.
It’s super effective.
The problem is, it’s not sustainable. All those methods, while they were effective at making me happy instantly, did little to sustain that feeling.
If you want to experience sustained happiness, you must stop thinking that shutting down your brain is the solution. Because once you turn it back on, whatever it is that’s making you depressed will come roaring back – unless your plan is to shut off your brain permanently.
I firmly believe that happiness shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. It’s an emotion, just like sadness and anger. Let it come and go. Accept it for its impermanence. It’s part of the human experience.
I’ve written about it in a separate post – the link is below.
People think that the benefit of gratitude is that it primes you to feel blessed with what you have in life, regardless of how much or little.
But more importantly, I think gratitude is exceptionally useful in helping you accept the things that are beyond your control. Because once you accept it, you can let it go.
There are many things that can cause one to be depressed, or be stuck in a rut. It’s been six years, and I still don’t know what exactly caused me to want to commit suicide.
I also learned the hard way that what kept me depressed was my unwillingness to let go of the things I couldn’t control. Instead, I used them as an example to prove that life never went my way.
It was particularly difficult to accept the simple fact that:
Life doesn’t happen for you. It happens in spite of you. Your role is to ride that wave and make the most of it.
Gratitude allows you to recognize that. It gives you the clarity to position your crosshair towards the things you can actually control and make a change.
When you start focusing on the things you can change/improve rather than the ones you can’t, you’ll be happy no matter your circumstance. And that’s the most valuable currency most people do not possess.
My friends, going through such a severe depression doesn’t make me an expert on this. But I can tell you what I know. This is my truth. Try it, experiment with it, and see if it works for you.
But before you do, I would really prefer it if you read this post about why happiness is not the most important thing, before you embark on your journey for happiness.
PS: If you like my work, consider checking out my FB page. 🙂