One of the most positive ways to live is to look on every obstacle as a hidden opportunity. This holiday season poses huge challenges for those among us who have lost their jobs or feel financially insecure. Even if you don't fall into that category, the evening news brings worries on many fronts, from the deficit to terrorism. I'd like to propose that there is a common problem in all these things that you can turn into an opportunity.
The problem is how to be happy.
Right now, the American way of life defines happiness along lines that are quickly being outmoded: You will be happy if you consume as much as possible. You will be happy if you have money, the more the better. You will be happy if you can distract yourself with video games, television, the Internet and movies
. You will be happy if you fall in love with "the right one" and raise a family in a house you own paid for by a secure job.
The current economic downturn has affected all these factors, and even before it happened, high divorce rates were undermining the traditional model of the American family, moving from job to job was becoming increasingly common and rates of depression, anxiety and drug use continued to soar. As a background to all these things, stress is rising in everyone's life.
Instead of ignoring these trends, why not go to the root of the problem, which is that we need a new way of being happy. What do divorce, terrorism, unemployment and buying big-screen TVs have in common? They all show that happiness can be taken away, because when you depend on anything outside yourself to make you happy, your happiness is vulnerable.
A new way to be happy would be based on the following new principles:
1. Life has a purpose.
When you live up to that purpose, inner happiness develops.
2. Inner happiness can't be taken away .
3. In place of consumerism, you can base everyday happiness on relationships .
4. In place of distractions, you can fill your time with activities that make your heart grow .
5. You can find a place beyond fear that crises and anxiety cannot touch .
6. You can find a place of peace that stress cannot wear out .
7. Wellness will make your body happy .
If people took at a look at their lives and made real attempts to follow these seven principles, a new kind of happiness would be born that no one can take away. Let me go through each point briefly. Apply each of the principles today