“…[C]alamities drive mortals to seek and to find a higher sense of happiness and existence.” So offers Mary Baker Eddy, a nineteenth-century health researcher. I think any such calamity can impel us to search for happiness.
Take the incident I found myself in when my safely-parked car was severely damaged by a hit and run driver. I felt sad, angry, frustrated, and even helpless – all at the same time. I had carefully parked the car so that it wasn’t in anyone’s way! After the first wave of emotions passed, I found myself in the mode of Sherlock Holmes, looking for clues to identify the individual. I even interviewed surrounding businesses and called the city to see if any videos were available for that street. Nothing.
Then came self examination: Was I to blame in any way? This emotional unrest and confusion were preventing me from putting the incident behind me, and I found feelings of joy and happiness to be elusive. I needed to find a mental and emotional way to reestablish my peace and regain my happiness.
Instead of focusing on the “what ifs” and “why me” questions, I realized that I needed to center myself by giving daily gratitude – a very healthy exercise that produces joy and happiness. What’s interesting is that Harvard Happiness expert Shawn Achor, through countless studies of individuals, groups, and organizations, found that those given morning gratitude exercises to bring about a state of happiness scored much higher in overall performance, productivity, and job satisfaction than those who began at a neutral level –without any gratitude exercise.
I’m finding the same results. Each morning as I study the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, my thoughts align with God’s message of love and peace, and I gain a profound sense of gratitude for this love. As I focused on gratitude and Divine love after the incident, I realized that my happiness and health did not have to be affected by this incident or any other daily trials in life.
And how are happiness and health tied together? Both are highly valued, as happiness researcher Robert Holden found when he conducted a survey on choosing either attribute. Sixty five percent of people would choose happiness over health if given a choice. Fortunately, we don’t have to choose. Happiness and health go hand-in-hand, as Holden stated and Eddy would agree: “[T]here is no true health without happiness.”
As for my car, I found that I actually could move beyond all of those negative emotions. And I was able to let go of my attachment to my car. I’m now happily driving a hybrid car that fits my needs. And that vengeful, blaming mental atmosphere has been replaced by gratitude, joy, and happiness – a much healthier view!
Photo © GLOW IMAGES. Model used for illustrative purposes.
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