"There are an equal number of days and nights, and in the course of a life time both are equal in time. No matter how happy your life, there are moments of darkness and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning without the balance of sadness."
At the end of our time on earth, if we have lived fully, we will not be able to say, "I was always happy." Hopefully, we will be able to say, "I have experienced a lifetime of real moments, and many of them were happy moments."
I think that we can only achieve these feelings by submitting to God's will in our life. We can try to achieve these feelings in all the wrong places and could spend a lifetime doing so. I found that when I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about others and my purpose in life, I no longer stressed about the trivial things that used to consume my thoughts.
I'll answer this a different way. I would say fishing the flats with my son and grandsons. Just being out on the water with the kids brings great joy, contentment and peace. Just being out there is more important then catching a big gator trout!
Suzzycue, all these answers are very good. I would also add that I found, a long time ago, that prayer, meditation, being grateful, and associating with people who do the same, will help bring joy, peace and contentment. In the end the old saying, "Folks are just about as happy as they make up their mind to be" is very true. If there is habitual turbulence and restlessness within, then joy, contentment and peace become elusive. One must start by wanting to seek joy, contentment and peace in life if one is to find them. Meditation opens a dimension within our deepest self that is still, peaceful and quiet. Practiced long enough, it will produce lasting results of peace and inner stability. Yes, people (especially family) will come banging at our door bringing their dramas and antics with them, and there will be storms and choppy seas around us, but Jesus' words, "Peace, be still" not only will keep us afloat, but also will keep others from being able to rob us of our inner joy, peace and contentment, because they will have become part of the fabric of our being.
My own recipe for achieving joy, contentment and peace is as follows: do my best to keep my body healthy and vital, stay in touch with all the people who are important to me, live within my budget, find a way to express myself and be helpful to others. Even though I work at these four areas, there are invariably times when one of them is out of kilter -- that's when acceptance comes in. I know that something bigger than myself is in charge, and I just have to be patient until I can see the big picture. During this time, I practice the breathing technique I describe in "How to Deal with Negative Thoughts and Emotions."
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