Ever noticed that being happy can be hard work? I have. For the most part, my patients are hardworking individuals and lead blessed lives. Most of them have jobs, homes, family, and food on their tables. Their Blessing Lists are full!
So why do they have to work so hard to be happy? There are lots of reasons to be unhappy. Sometimes, my patients are unhappy because they or their spouse are married to their jobs and not their families. I addressed this issue in “Another Kind of Affair”.
Sometimes, they are unhappy because they don’t have “enough.” Did I tell you the story about the identical twins that lived identical lives and had identical fortunes? One of the twins had “everything” and was a happy man; the other had “enough” and was not happy! It’s often a matter of attitude. Even though the twin with “enough” had the same things his brother with “everything” had, he wanted more. What he was missing was an attitude of gratitude for what he had!
Sometimes, life is going fine and illness strikes you or a loved one. When illness strikes, you really have to work hard to maintain any degree of happiness! When I lay out my “Wellthy” lifestyle plan for a patient, I ask him to establish five retirement funds: a financial fund, a physical fund, a nutritional fund, an emotional fund, and a spiritual fund. I tell him that, to be truly “Wellthy,” he needs to make deposits in each of these funds on a regular basis. I warn him that putting off deposits in any of these funds could spell catastrophe.
When illness suddenly strikes you or a loved one, the deposits you’ve made in your emotional and spiritual funds will provide the assets you need to draw on to maintain “happy.” Remembering the good times spent rather than regretting time wasted is essential. In “Don’t Delay the Happy,” I wrote, “sometimes there are no more ‘one day.” Enjoying every day and saving memories will help you get through those days where no amount of work will maintain your “happy.”
I often tell my patients that “spirituality” is the glue that holds a “wellthy” account together. According to Wikipedia, spirituality can be defined as “an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer, and contemplation, are intended to develop an individual’s inner life.” It’s that inner life and the understanding of the essence of his/her being, that will help sustain your “Wellthy” plan through sickness and loss.
Yes, being happy often takes work. As in any endeavor, having a game plan helps. Make your Blessings List and read it night and day. Make sure those you love know you love them. Invest in your “Wellthy” accounts on a regular basis. And, most of all, don’t delay the happy!