Are You Happy?

My sister found this great chart. Look at it closely. It's simple but profound.

A few years ago, I was in a bad mood. I'm not talking a "got-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed" bad mood that lasts throughout the morning, or maybe a day. I can handle those. I'm talking an "in-for-the-long-haul" bad mood. It lasted weeks. I was irritable and snappy, I rarely smiled, and it seemed everyone was trying to annoy me.

The bad thing was that I knew it. Every time I'd jump down someone's throat, I wondered what was wrong with me. Everytime someone did or said something funny and I didn't laugh or even smile, I wondered who I was. I began to wonder if there was something really wrong with me. Maybe I needed to see a doctor. Maybe I needed medicated. I knew my family was paying for my behavior and I felt bad, but I wasn't sure how to remedy the situation.

At the time I was serving as Young Women's president in our ward. As I sat through a lesson one Sunday, the teacher who was my first counselor and my friend said something to the girls that I think was meant for me. "If you're not happy, you need to examine your life and figure out why. Often it's because you're doing something you shouldn't be doing or you're not doing something you know you should be doing." Sounded simple. I thought about it all day. What was I doing or not doing that had me in such a crappy mood all the time?

Before I went to bed that night, I sat down with my journal. I began to list the things I knew I should be doing that I wasn't. It isn't always easy or pleasant to examine yourself that closely, but I wanted to be happy. One thing I knew I could do better at was my personal scripture study, so I put that down. Another was reading the Ensign, so I added that. I knew I could pray more earnestly. Then I decided I should be more grateful, so I decided that every day I would write down five things I was grateful for in my journal. And as long as I was writing down what I was grateful for, I might as well write in my journal.

I work well with charts and "to do" lists, so I made myself a checklist for each day, so I'd have to be accountable for what I was doing. And guess what? It was only a matter of a few days before I started feeling happier.

I know this sounds extremely Pollyanna and simplistic. But sometimes the solutions to our problems really are simple and we complicate them because simple is just too.....

well, simple.

Now, if I start to slip into an extended funk, I do a little self-examination. It usually doesn't take me long to realize what I've let slide. I know that small tweaks can lead to big changes. I've seen it happen.


Leslie said...


Amy said...

Wow!! Today I opened my mailbox and the conference edition of the Ensign was in there. One of the talks I read was by Elder Uchtdorf on getting back to the fundamentals. I've decided that is what our FHE will be about tonite, and we will be making a list so we can constantly be reminded of the fundamentals that our family needs to be doing. I'm hoping for some changes in our family through this small step, but like you said, small tweaks can lead to big changes. After reading this I know I've decided on the exact lesson my family needs right now. Thanks Karey.