Being Happy

I have two suggestions for you. Notice that when I say this kind of things is not me advocating a cure to clinical depression, but I believe it can bring you some moments of Joy.

The first is a bit more superficial. Be a happy-go-lucky person. Even if you will be faking. But the idea is that you will start believing soon that you are happy. And although many people hate this kind of person, it is rewarding when someone compliment you for it. For example, I am having some struggles that make me sad, but whenever I meet other people I turn into this cheerful guy, not taking nothing seriously. Last week, a guy that just met me said “you are always with that smile, that’s nice.” That alone made my day and continue to have this smile even when inside says otherwise. I recommend this movie, where I learnt this concept of Happy-Go-Lucky. It is ok if you don’t consider this advice. Like in that movie actually some people kind of hate such optimistic people. But I have fun with them as well.

The second advice, which is in the context of the Spirituality is that you should be able to find Joy in Christ. Joy in Christ not necessarily means to be the life of the party. In this homily Pope Francis is talking about a Joy that comes from Peace.
How do I find such peace? (Warning: I was accused in another thread of this being Eastern Meditation and not Christian, despite me getting this inspiration in Christian meditation practices but it is up to you). For me it is a matter of using your heart when praying. We often are thinking, using our reason, inspecting the scripture, elaborating our prayers. For me to find peace is to let go of all this over thinking for a moment. For example, imagine, how was Blessed Mary feeling when the Archangel brought the news about Jesus. What were the women feeling when the angel told that Jesus has resurrected. This are just examples, put yourself in the scene, hear the sounds. The Joy will come because you will see that most of this stories are Good News and those bring Peace.

This is long already and I am on a rush. So I just recommend that if you want to learn more, I advice, Lectio Divina and Ignatius Spirituality. Joy comes from Peace.

LIfe can be overwhelming. We have so many things going on, work, family, things going wrong. We live in a complex society and the more things we have and the more activities we are involved with can weigh us down and get just about anyone depressed.

IF you can try to simplify your life, and place priorities on what makes you feel better about yourself. Find a hobby that gets your mind off your troubles or worries, something that you really enjoy. When I used to bowl in a league, I found that on bowling nights, the ONLY thing I focused on was what I was doing on the bowling lane. I focused on making a good delivery, and knocking the pins down. Competition also helped me to eliminate distractions. Work, money etc never entered my mind.

Part of being depressed is the sense of hopelessness. When I landed in the hospital for depression (purposely running my car into something), I was overwhelmed at work. I could no longer focus on a solution and I felt trapped by my situation.

Sometimes it is very difficult to feel positive, but you need to be aware of what you are thinking. You need to focus on God being able to help you and that things will get get better. Try keeping in mind that the really important things are what might affect you 5 or 10 years down the road. IF it has no long term impact, then it is too small to really worry about.

When I come up against a tough situation, I try to convince myself that it will be over shortly, for a day or so I may be working hard, but I will get through it. There is always light at the end of the tunnel (and it is NOT always a train coming at you from the opposite direction).

Also try to develop a good sense of humor. We (and others) do a lot of stupid things. We or they say things that are quite amusing. It is tough to feel good, but if you can laugh at stuff, you will feel better. Watch some comedies or comedians. Laughter is a great remedy for depression. And find some music that you enjoy, the livelier the better. SOme music can be downright depressing, but some great music is uplifting and inspirational. You can control your moods but it takes a lot of effort sometimes to get things right or to get out of a funk. Get plenty of sleep (sleep deprivation was one of my problems) BUT try not to sleep too much or be alone too long, especially when all you can do is focus on problems or worries.

Let your family and friends lift you out of bad moods. Call or visit someone, go out to dinner or lunch in a group. Being alone is not good situation for depressed folks.


And that is the problem :rolleyes:

You depend your well being on something that must happen. And that is why the pursuit of happiness is the most sad thing in the world, because it DOES depend on something happening, for what will happen to you if that something does not happen?

Didn’t you notice the similarity of the two words, happy and happen? It is because they have the same root word: the Middle English word hap, meaning “luck”. So by basing your wellbeing on happiness, you are basing on pure luck that thing you need to be well.

Well, we Christians have something better, something more dependable than happiness: joy.

Every time I have ever said yes to God with something even slightly approaching the whole of my soul, every time I have not only said “Thy will be done” but meant it, loved it, longed for it—I have never failed to find joy and peace at that moment. In fact, to the precise extent that I have said it and meant it, to exactly that extent have I found joy.

Every other Christian who has ever lived has found exactly the same thing in his own experience. It is an experiment that has been performed over and over again billions of times, always with the same result. **It is as certain as gravity. **

“Joy” by Peter Kreeft



Is it really so impossible, to decide that you want to “be happy” and then take steps to make it so, Lost Sheep? You say that you can not turn it on and off like a light switch, that you have to “feel happy” before you can “be happy.” Is this how you approach the rest of your life? Do you say, “I simply can not get up and go to work unless I feel like doing it.”? Are there not many things in your life that you force yourself to do despite not being in the mood? Try to look at happiness like this, as something you are determined to work at whether you feel like it or not. You are intelligent, so you know about theories of cognitive behavioral therapy, or ideas like “fake it till you make it.” Have you actually applied the suggestions of the therapists you have seen? Have you forced yourself to try them and stick with it even if you were convinced they would not work? Unhappiness can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. I wish I could say that I have conquered depression or found the key to everlasting happiness in this life. I can not, of course. I can only hope that you do not get too discouraged or pessimistic. Remembering your posts from the 2nd amendment thread, if I could meet you, I would ask you to put down your gun and give me big hug! :slight_smile:

Don’t worry. I won’t shoot anyone. :slight_smile:

Well then I’ll still hug you, my brother in Christ :slight_smile: (nervously… cautiously)

I don’t think there is an easy answer for this. People who are always happy don’t understand what it’s like not to be happy. Having good circumstances (the nice house, spouse, etc.) doesn’t guarantee happiness either. All I can say is pay attention to what makes you feel better instead of lousy. Maybe to feel “happy” is too abstract a goal right now. Also, keep in mind that other people aren’t always as happy as they seem to be and are sometimes just putting on a front for everyone else. Try new things like taking a class in something you’re interested in or explore a new hobby. Even volunteer work can sometimes help. Try things that people and counselors have recommended in the past - don’t overthink and assume they won’t work. For example, taking a walk might not make you feel better all day, but it might help you feel better during the time you are walking. It’s still worthwhile.There are times I have felt so overwhelmed that doing dishes seemed too great a task. So, I washed 5 items or 10 items or whatever and felt better even though I didn’t do the whole pile. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Little activities can help.

I haven’t seen a single person say that.

Lost Sheep, there are so many things in this life that are beyond our control; we can’t change circumstances.

But our attitude IS something we can change. We may have certain temperaments that make it difficult, but that may be the spiritual battle you have to face. Through prayer, perseverance and through discipline you can learn to be more grateful for what you do have; maybe even to truly rejoice in your trials as Paul did.

Hang in there, and God bless.



Put it this way: I haven’t shot anyone yet. :smiley:

Here is my third post of counsel to you:

If you want to be truly happy in this life, seek the glory of God in EVERYTHING you do and make doing His holy Will your food and drink, like our Lord Jesus Christ did. Love to be nothing and seek nothing outside of God’s Will for you. What is God’s Will, you might ask? It is found in 1) obedience: to the Decalogue and the six Precepts of the Church and 2) in living faithfully according to your state in life. God bless you.

See, that’s part of the problem. I’ve become so disillusioned with life that it is extremely difficult to get started again. My faith in God is almost non-existent.

Think of it this way: You run out of gas in your car on a deserted highway. You call someone for help and they tell you to put gas in your car so you can get going again. But with no gas stations for miles around, just how are you supposed to do that?

Unless I can come up with a way to “jump-start” my faith and really start believing that prayer will make a difference, it is all for naught. :frowning:

Like I said in my original post, prayer is not the answer here.


So you refuse to call the tow truck because you have no gas in your car.


You’re missing the point in my analogy. It’s not about alternative solutions; it’s that the solutions I keep getting (pray more) aren’t going to work.


Don’t you see, prayer is the answer here (but there is more than prayer to my answer to you) – and I will use your very own example about running out of gas in a deserted place to prove how prayer is the answer.

You say: “Think of it this way: You run out of gas in your car on a deserted highway. You call someone for help and they tell you to put gas in your car so you can get going again. But with no gas stations for miles around, just how are you supposed to do that?”

I say: with no gas stations for miles around you are supposed to – nay, *you must *-- PRAY TO OUR LORD AND LADY, TO YOUR GUARDIAN ANGEL, ETC. for the gas!!! They can SEND SOMEONE to you with the gas you need, don’t you see?! It just takes total confidence and deep humility, perseverance and fervency in your prayers to penetrate the heavens and to do violence to God. If you do not call upon our Lord and the angels and saints, and in the proper manner (with the dispositions I listed), then you will have a very small chance of getting the gas you need because of your highway being completely deserted of men (I mean this figuratively as well). You must learn from this example, Lost_Sheep that prayer is indeed your answer. You must first of all **give your assent ****and believe **that prayer is so important to your happiness and wellbeing – based on your very own example of running out of gas, which you literally have run out of in your spiritual life (gas being your faith and faith in prayer, which you so desperately need)! Pray for faith and for faith in prayer, Lost_Sheep – it is the gas you need, and the answer to your problem. God bless you.

Well, you have a good sense of humor, so that is a plus.

How much do you think your sense of unhappiness is tied to your depression? I think it would be best to live life on an even keel, neither too happy nor too sad. Or better, to experience both the joy and the sadness that life invariably brings without completely losing equilibrium. Are you sad all of the time? Or just dissatisfied? Since you are not particularly open to prayer right now, I like the advice that Sunbreak offered. Try to do those little things which have been shown to improve our mood:

Some kind of physical contact (according to neuroscience, it doesn’t seem to matter whether this is with a person or an animal. The same pleasurable brain chemicals are released from petting a dog or from an embrace with a loved one - the only difference perhaps being the level of intensity),

Connecting with another person (preferably a positive meeting of the minds, not an argument - unless arguing makes you happy!), or

Some sort of physical exercise (those same neuroscientists say the “runner’s high” is not a myth).

These little things might not turn you into a “happy guy”. I’m not sure it is wise to compare ourselves with others anyway. Wiser people than I have called this life a “vale of tears,” and we are all trying to get through it the best we can. Like I tell my agnostic son, I’ll pray for you until you can pray for yourself again.

I am sorry for your troubles. I hope you will some day be at peace.

I have not and probably will not read most of this thread. However, the above recounting immediately jumped out. Eric Berne (Transactional Analysis) describes a game similar to this: “Why Don’t You-Yes But” (YDYB). The following is from his book Games People Play, pages 116-117.

YDYB can be played by any number. The agent [Lost_Sheep] presents a problem. The others start to present solutions, each beginning with “why don’t you…?” To each of these White [Lost_Sheep] objects with a “yes, but…” A good player can stand off the others indefinitely until they all give up, whereupon White [Lost_Sheep] wins. In many situations she [Lost_Sheep] might have to handle a dozen or more solutions to engineer the crestfallen silence which signifies her [Lost_Sheep’s] victory….

Berne uses the term “game” to describe interpersonal exchanges. These are generally not healthy games. In fact, they are quite sick. I recognize I myself have played this game. The realization is a bit disconcerting. I try not to do this any more. If all your counselors have indeed been inept and offered no useful suggestions, I offer my sincerest sympathies, and you should ignore this post.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit