This summer I attended a great conference in Salt Lake City. One of the plenary session speakers talked about “how to be happy.” Sounds cheesy, I know, and I almost didn’t go for that very reason. But then I decided since work had paid for me to go to the conference I should go to the session.
The attendees of this conference are providers of continuing legal education and legal publishers. This particular speaker was there because he offers seminars for lawyers – who are at the top of the list of professionals who suffer from depression (right along with dentists).
His main point was that people who are grateful for what they have and focus on the positive are happier than people who are not so grateful and focus on the negative things that happen to them. Sounds so simple, too simple.
But it does make a lot of sense, and is statistically proven to be true. The speaker mentioned survivors of the 9/11 attack who were at ground zero. Some suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, while others did not. What was the difference? Those who did not had a more positive and grateful outlook on life before this traumatic event and so were able to bounce back better.
Focusing on the positive also has a Biblical basis. In Philippians 4:6-8, Paul says:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I find in my own life, when I take a moment each day to think about what I am grateful for, I feel better. And I have to much to be grateful for. I have a wonderful husband, a terrific son, a warm house to live in, a great many friends, a family who loves me, a good job, food on the table (more than I really need), and I live in the land of the free! Finally, I have a God who is always with me and will never forsake me. Even on my worst days, I have so much more to be grateful for than to be upset about. How about you?
I was just thinking the same thing yesterday — and it had been a long time since I looked at things that way.
Linda, I agree! You summed it up perfectly. I too have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for the reminder. It is amazing that when you stop and thank our Heavenly Father for all the blessings he has given us they are so much more than the pile of “little things” that tend to get us down.