The quote seems so simple: “If you want to be happy, be so!” said Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy.

Tolstoy was a Russian poet, a second cousin to Leo Tolstoy, a poet and writer during the 19th century. I find this quote very interesting as it tells us that we can just will happiness. Is that so? Can we mindfully will ourselves happy?  I personally believe this to be true. Too often we think our happiness lies within others making us feel that way or material possessions that we purchase, but in reality our happiness lies within ourselves.

I do believe though we have situations in our life that may challenge our state of being. Is it easy to reflect about those happenings? Can we recognize where we might be struggling? Is it about controlling something that we have no control over?  If we struggle with “being happy” I believe at times it is necessary to dig in the dirt of our life to get to the root of our discontent and unhappiness. What changes can be made? Can we make those changes? How do we handle the situation?

You may discover in the dormancy of the season, bigger changes are necessary to reach that happy, joyful state of being. Hope Grows is here to help if you discover if what is really going on is larger than what you can handle yourself. At #HopeGrowPgh we understand the struggles of caregiving and the day to day stress associated with the role, but somewhere within the demands of the role, happiness and joy is there. Our model of therapeutic respite is about taking time to mindfully focus on something other than the demands of your life and our counseling support is here to help you navigate the narrow path that can sometimes become overgrown, leaving you with discontented feelings. Hope Grows counselors help caregivers and their care recipients find the happy and the joy when the path does become overgrown or if the responsibilities are too demanding; even if it is for just one season.

I encourage everyone to reflect through January about your place of happy, it could be as simple as taking a short break from the daily stress of life, a walk in nature, or thinking about joyful events. For me, looking into nature and its offerings is my place of happy. This morning watching 5 deer slowly walk past the greenhouse through the grapevines brought moments of joy. It helped me to reflect on the simpler things in life and how important it is to slow down and breathe. I would love to hear from you, share with us on Social Media your place of happy. #HopeGrows1130

Happy-Happy, Joy-Joy

Lisa