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Peace Lies Within July 18, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
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As discussed in The Art of Happiness, lasting happiness and peace of mind are not tied to external events. 

It is not what is happening around us, but in us, that matters.  

Happiness is attained most easily when we change how we view the world around us. 

And it starts with a simple question, “Will this thought bring me happiness?” 

Since our feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment often depend on  what we use as a frame of reference, we can increase our satisfaction in any situation by comparing ourselves to those who are less fortunate, or by reflecting on the myriad of blessings in our own lives. 

A few years ago an attack of severe abdominal pain of unknown etiology landed me in the hospital. 

Awaiting exploratory surgery to ascertain the cause of the symptoms, I started feeling sorry for myself. 

I wanted to be at home and pain free. 

I did not want to be in the hospital, lying in bed, doubled up with abdominal pain, awaiting surgery. 

Of course, the pity parties we throw for ourselves seldom do us any good.

The thoughts swirling through my mind were adding to my suffering, not alleviating it. 

Then, the Universe gave me a nudge and reminded me that I had a choice ~ I could continue to compare myself to people who were pain-free, thus increasing my suffering, or I could compare myself to young children who were in the hospital, suffering from debilitating pain, who could not understand why their parents and doctors didn’t stop the pain. 

I chose the latter comparison and felt better.  Immediately.  Nothing had to change but my perspective on the situation. 

By reminding myself of those who were less fortunate, and filling my heart with compassion for them, my calm, peaceful center returned and with it came happiness.  

After all, I was situated in a warm bed in a hospital filled with caring medical practitioners ~ I hadn’t just fallen off a cliff in the middle of the wilderness somewhere.

Nothing about my situation had to change before I could change how to view the situation in which I found myself. 

I merely had to let go of my attachment to something I desired, which was (for the moment, at least) out of reach, and embrace more fully what I already had ~ caring doctors who were concerned for my physical well-being. 

Sometimes just the slightest shift in perspective works wonders. 

No rules.  Just write!

How about you?  Have you ever improved your mood merely by changing your frame of reference?

Related posts:  The “It Could Be Worse” Game * 25 Simple Ways To Enjoy Life