For the despondent, every day brings trouble; But for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. –Proverbs 15:15 (NLT)
A few years ago, a study was published about how emotions can be passed along much like a case of the flu. Meaning: if you know someone who is happy–especially if it is a mutual friendship–you are more likely to be a happy person. In fact, not only you, but others you know will benefit because of this happy person in your life. A part of the study’s conclusion was simply that a person’s well-being is not only dependent on his or her own behaviors and emotions, but also as a direct result of one’s social network.
Part of me does not like this study, because I was born with a melancholic personality. I must work super hard to see the glass as half-full. I sometimes read things like this study and think, “Do my friends want to drop me because I am not a non-stop happy person?” If I were an animal, I would be a cat and not a dog.
I seriously think some of us must work harder than others to have that heart of gratitude.
We often do not have control of what happens to us, but we do have control of our attitude and how we respond. For those who go about their day focused on the good with a heart of gratitude, they can find happiness in each day. It takes deciding ahead of time.
So how do you get a happy heart? Yes, make sure you have some people in your life who have happy hearts and encourage the same in you.
However, if you really want some guidance in having a happy heart in the midst of adversity, Paul, when he was in prison, is an example to us. He left a formula for the way to a happy heart in Philippians 4:8. He encouraged the people of Philippi to fill their minds and hearts with what is true, right and noble and to think on godly and good things. (During the past few months, I have had to take some days away from reading the news or Facebook because it can be such a downer.) Regardless of what we are faced with, joy will find its way into our soul when we focus on godly things. Yes, it will take work. It will take thinking about what we are thinking about.
In what ways have you helped yourself towards a happy heart?