By Troy Rampy, Editor, The Wellness Blog™
“Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.” — Greg Anderson, NBA player
Here’s a common belief: “In order to reduce stress and be happy, our outward circumstances must change.”
Unfortunately, many people spend way too much time and energy trying to change their outward circumstances without addressing their inner reality. And too often the results are predictable … added stress.
Even if a person finds temporary happiness with, let’s say, winning the lottery, or finding the “perfect” love, or getting the “right” job, he or she probably will be discontent once again when the fortune is spent or the perfect partner or job is gone.
Most likely, they won’t even have to wait that long. Life being what it is, new problems and different sources of stress will begin to creep in once the initial rush and novelty of it all has passed.
Why? Because while the outward conditions may change, the inner reality remains the same.
The saying, “Everywhere you go, there you are” refers to the reality that our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes are always with us. They’re with us wherever we go. They’re with us in whatever we do. They shape who we are, how we see the world, how others respond to us … indeed, how we experience life … and often despite our outward circumstances!
But you — yes, you — can actually learn to reshape your inner reality by shifting your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. One powerful way to do that is simply by appreciating all the good things that are already part of your life.
No kidding! That alone in time will create a huge shift in your inner reality. You truly can be content regardless of what you currently think might be “lacking” in your life, and/or in you, and despite any setbacks the future may bring.
“Hopeless,” you say? Not at all. Please read further.
The secret to true happiness is quite simple: instead of struggling to change your outward circumstances, relax and begin to focus on changing your inner thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. That’s a much more efficient way to eventually bring about the changes you desire in your outer world.
Does this process take work? Yes, especially in our contemporary culture where so much of the focus is on the outer world. Is the work easy? No, not usually. It requires persistence and an unshakable belief that your inner experience is what shapes and determines your outer experience.
If you’re interested in giving this a try, you can start today by simply acknowledging your gratitude. Make a list of some of the many things for which you are grateful. You can start small (e.g., having: food to eat; clothes to wear; a place to live; etc.) and then branch out.
Once you have your list, focus on a few of those things every day. Not half-heartedly, but with a sense of passion and real gratitude.
It has been said that many of us live lives of relative luxury that surpass anything experienced prior to the Industrial Revolution, even for royalty or the wealthy of those earlier times.
We are truly kings and queens with a plethora of resources available to us. Yet we choose to remain limited within our pauper’s mentality, always pining for what is “lacking”, rarely noticing – or appreciating – what we already have.
Today I was running some errands when the Eagles’ rendition of Desperado came on the radio. Great song! One of my favorites. And it has some inspired lyrics:
Now it seems to me some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones
That you can’t get
Hmmmmm … sounds a bit too familiar, doesn’t it?
Why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences
Open the gate