Life is beautiful, to quote the movie of the same name by Roberto Benigni. There is so much wonder, beauty, and magic that go on every day around the planet and throughout the universe. Miraculous events happen every day.
Every day countless animals are born into creation, just like you were one day, the first day of your life.
Sometimes, however, we can stop being able to see all these wonderful things. We can start to see the things that are wrong with the world and they can make us feel distressed, unhappy, or depressed.
How many thoughts do you have every day of the things that are wrong with the world versus the things that are right and miraculous with the world?
For years my mental health wasn’t very good and my thoughts settled even more than normal on the things that are wrong with the world. I tried for 3 decades to get thoughts of beauty and wonder.
I succeeded in that, and I am really enjoying my new, happy thoughts! To be in a place of darkness for so long and then to come into the light is incredible.
Many of my “wrong” thoughts were and are of how things are supposed to be. Urban sprawl, millions of cars, species loss, clear-cutting, wars (the list is almost endless) — these are things that give us problems. We see images of these as we go about our day, when we are outside travelling around, or at home on our screens.
How can we not pay attention to these? We would feel guilty if we just put these out of our head and didn’t care about them. Yet that is what precisely happens in your dog’s head. And your cat’s. And your infant’s. Every animal and small child on the planet have no knowledge of all these things that cause adults so much consternation.
Yes, some animals and small children have incredibly stressful lives for different reasons, but millions of others go about their day oblivious to the onslaught of negative thoughts that pervade grown-up minds.
Think back to when you were very young. Things may have seemed pretty good to you — the good ol’ days, right? I bet your parents were worrying about many things back then. And when your parents were little, they weren’t worrying about the things that their parents were worrying about.
How far back in history does this worrying go? To the end of hunting and gathering and the start of agriculture 10,000-ish years ago, when some experts say the larger human problems, like environmental degradation and class divisions, first appeared?
Were hunter-gatherers before this time relatively worry-free? I’ve read that some hunter-gatherers today worry less than people who live in towns and cities.
Is it simply becoming an adult no matter what millenium you live in that means you worry about things too much? Eckhart Tolle in his book “The Power of Now” talks about how people naturally start to worry more as teens and then even more as adults.
How can you stop this? Try paying attention to your thoughts. Many people aren’t even aware of the triggers around us each day that can set our thoughts down a negative path.
Is there a news show on in the background that you’re not paying attention to, as you’re involved in a conversation with someone else? News can bring us down sometimes.
Is there a song on somewhere that is bringing you down? What do you purposefully seek out to watch on your phone? Where do you travel and visit each day when you’re out and about? What are triggers at your workplace?
Sometimes we feel a certain way and we can’t put our finger on it. How well do you eat? Food can play with our emotions sometimes. When was the last time you exercised? Being sedentary can make us feel lethargic and unhappy sometimes.
Try to pay more attention to your surroundings and what you do throughout the day.
For example, if you see something distressing in the news, ask yourself these two questions:
1) is this a positive or a negative news story?
2) at the end of the story, do they give a positive way that I can help solve the problem (a pledge to sign, a website to donate to)?
By asking these it will help you to monitor what you are taking in each day, instead of sitting there taking in negative information and wondering why you’re feeling down.
The world is remarkably beautiful. Yes, many bad things can happen, but we have to actively seek out the good. If we don’t, our adult brains are more likely to focus on the things that are wrong with the world.
Here is another example: there are so many things to be thankful for. If you can’t feel thankful, try making a list of things that you could be thankful for, even though you don’t have the ability to feel thankful for them. Sometimes this can trick your brain into actually being able to feel thankful for them!
Life is precious. So many beautiful gifts are given to us each day. A beautiful wildflower in the morning mist with drops of dew on its leaves and petals. Try marvelling in some of this beauty. They are gifts meant for us, at a certain moment in time.
We love getting gifts at Christmas; let’s try receiving some of the millions of gifts left for us around our planet every day of the year!