Trying to be ‘less unhappy’ in a world where there are so many sad and scary things going on is basically impossible… So if you’re doing that, I would highly recommend you STOP because honestly – you’re wasting your time. However, if you are wanting to be more happy or content in the present circumstances, then we simply have to adjust our mindset around what’s going on.
One major principle of Taoist wisdom that applies pretty seamlessly to therapy is that:
“All depression lies in the past, all anxiety lies in the future, and contentment or happiness can only be found in the present.”
We feel depressed about the things we’ve lost: parties, graduations, sporting events, travel, and so on… And we’re anxious because we don’t have answers to what the future is going to look like: our careers and economy, our families and friendships, and our culture and overall way of life.
But HERE, in this current moment, if you’re reading this blog post, you have the ability to be sad, and anxious, and even really angry about how things are going right now… but you can also be okay, and feel grateful that your situation isn’t as bad as someone else’s is right now. Don’t let the negativity from the past and the fears of the future stop you from finding ways to be happy or okay right now!
You’re breathing, you have a roof over your head, and (obviously) internet with a device you can use to communicate with the world… There are literally hundreds of thousands of people out there that only have a roof, and some that only have their breath and body but no material possessions… so if they can find a way to be “okay” in those conditions then I urge you to do the same with what you have available too.
So is your glass Half Virus and coated with negativity? Or can you take some time to find the opportunities and benefits available to you while still acknowledging that the situation sucks… it’s up to you.
Joshua Waters, B.S. Psychology, M.S. Marriage & Family Therapy