- Mental Health»
Count Your Blessings
Managing the Wheel of Fortune Through Mental Chemistry
Beyond a doubt, days of terror and panic do come along, but most of the time life is more stable than that, so our level of contentment hinges on ordinary developments from morning to night. Assuming we have not just won the lottery, or just had a car accident, then it's likely that whatever might be raising our spirits or getting us downhearted at the moment will look trivial later on. So why not think about the little good things that happened today instead of dwelling on anything that would make us fearful or angry?
Easier said than done, for good reason. Our control over thoughts that come up from our memory banks is almost impossibly beyond our ability many times. If I think about someone who made me angry a few days ago, instead of the happy times I had in the not so distant past, then I've inflicted evil thoughts on myself probably for no good reason. But it's not so easy to dismiss angry or fearful thoughts as being illogical self-torture.
When bad karma, fear and anger come into our minds, sometimes it's beneficial to make some advantage of these persistent memories. For example, thinking of an argument I had with someone in the past can be turned from a bad memory into something strengthening by being thankful for the lesson I learned about life through that episode, which might have been not to argue with stubborn people, or not to lose my temper so easily.
If finances are at issue (and this is normal because at least in America and most other places, money is the game we play in life) then some bad luck that causes an unexpected loss should be forgotten as quickly as possible, unless there's something we can do about it in retrospect. Wouldn't it be wiser to concentrate on some unanticipated benefit that came along, than to dwell on the negative? As this also is easier said than done, the same principle applies, which is to find some lesson or advantage by analyzing the bad luck, which will make us stronger, smarter, and capable of avoiding similar calamities.
The examples that come to mind out of the hum-drum of our daily activities are much more superficial than the evil thoughts that plague us as we lie awake at night, unable to sleep. Profound fears are the real enemies of inner peace and happiness that cause anxiety and depression.
If I have heard something greatly unsettling, a story of tragedy with which I can not come to terms, which seems to represent the unjust and dreadful side of life, can I simply shut off my thoughts and switch over to a happy train of thought? This might work for trivial matters, but not for quelling deeper feelings of helplessness.
When a morbid train of thought has me in a state of depression, I can think of the uplifting realities that represent goodness to me, such as a baby's smile, examples of human triumphs and accomplishments, or the magical power of people's energy and motivations. It's a great challenge, but the more profound the evil thought that is impossible to ignore, the more undeniably spectacular and true must be the good ideas in order to triumph.
In an ideal world of thought, the good thoughts would connect directly and logically to the bad thoughts so as to dissolve them through mental chemistry.
But as we approach the final doom, and we are gripped in fear with thoughts of death and the unknown, the ultimate challenge occurs. Then we must have something very substantial and certain to sustain human spirit and happiness.
Some find this argument tending toward religious faith. Others find happiness in creating something enduring and beneficial to leave behind after they are gone; and still others would negate any morbid thoughts by throwing themselves actively into some life struggle, while losing any hope of attempting to control their emotions, whether depression or happiness.
Action is wonderful therapy. Exercise can bring happiness in itself. So can good deeds and humanitarianism. But pure mental control over our thoughts also is very powerful. So I will look for something ironically beneficial in my darkest thoughts, and later turn to happier facts on which to dwell.
Happiness can take us by surprise. It "often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open." (John Barrymore)
For example, you might run into a warm, affectionate person who will give you just the feeling you were looking for. But to do that, you have to reach out somehow, either by making a phone call, going out for a walk, or saying something to someone at home.
Happiness generally involves a change. When there is a relief from unhappiness, this is when happiness occurs.