Are you balanced? No, I don't mean do you eat balanced meals or are so coordinated you can balance a ball on our nose. I don't really even mean “happy” though it is the closest thing that comes to happy since I truly don't believe there is such a thing. However I am no expert. Nope. I admit it unlike so many authors, Twitterers, life coaches, ministers, and what have you. I only know what works for me, my wife, and our friends every now and again.
So you ask “Rick, you don't believe in happiness, though so many life coaches, ministers, psychologists, etc tell me that the elusive happiness may not be so elusive after all. I agree and disagree in that for me, and others I have observed, “happiness is elusive”; that is, it may be here for a few minutes or a few hours, and then a mood hits, a bee stings, a tooth aches, a child or pet becomes sick, a million things can happen to make us feel “unhappy” even though, by nature, we may be considered a happy person.
So what can we do to lessen the “sting” of the events that make us feel unhappy, when we know good and well we are full of good cheer? Actions? Nothing helps create more happiness like positive actions. Why? It is easy to think and believe good things. All it takes is reading The Good Book, a self-help book, etc. But nothing instills happiness that lasts like volunteering to help someone less fortunate, playing with ones children, getting on the floor with your dog and playing, going to visit a shut-in, and the list goes on and on.
I am not saying not to read your Bible of choice if that is your belief system. I am not saying avoid church, synagogue, or mosque if you feel it serves you well. I am saying those are places and books to learn “ACTIONS” to take into the outside world, and if you don't, it may mean going back for the same lesson again and again, and, later lead to frustration. So what you are telling me Rick is that all one has to do is good deeds and happiness evolves? I wish it was so. But I have found that the more good I do, or try to do, when the so called “negative” things happen, the more I can buffer the blow with memories of the positive action.
My wife and I live across from a National Park full of trails wildlife and nature. No matter what the mind-static of the day, we simply walk across the street into the deep healing forest and by the time we have emerged, seriously, there isn't a clue as to what we were worried about in the first place.
Since I create offbeat cartoons, and offbeat cartoon merchandise, we plaster our walls with various cartoons of mine that we find funny. I also am constantly ordering my cartoon gifts and giving them “to us”, so, that if at times we find ourselves in a funky mood, we can hold up or play with “something funny”. It may sound childish, but modern science and medicine has studied this extensively. It truly does bring back balance, even in some of the worst of times.
This is not a one size fits all world. I find great “happiness” in creating cartoons, shoes, merchandise, etc that people like. That has more to do with the work I do and though that work, alone, I know, is not going to “create happiness”, the actions involved in that work remind me that I am here providing a service, whether I am “feeling happy” or not, that is going to make someone else feel happy. And more often than not, somewhere down the road, someone is going to tell me they have purchased one of my products and it brings a smile to their faces (and their friends and/or families. And presto, my psychic-toothache is suddenly healed.
The bottom line is that there will always, constantly be issues in our lives that could and should make us unhappy, that is, if we had “less tools with which to cope”. But you know your “strength tools”. They may be a Bible. They may be writing a journal. They may be talking to a friend or therapist. They may be nature, or your pet, or the gym, or volunteering, or a million other things of which you can look back and say, “Things may be tough at this very moment but I know from experience that this too shall pass. . . . and my balance will return so that I may feel happiness".
Sometimes they might be a combination of all or several of these things that “bring balance" or “happiness" to us, but one thing is for sure. Sitting there reading book after book about happiness and or balance, will not bring it. Actions will.