Mental Health | Your happiness begins and ends with you

If there's one thing we all want it's happiness.

We want to feel fulfilled, content, at peace, comfortable in the sure knowledge that all is well with the world.

If we can get the ducks in our life to line up, we are certain the result will be blissful happiness.

We expect that which we believe we deserve.

The reality is though that the ducks keep swimming, bobbing along in the waterway that is our life, appearing and disappearing at will often leaving us feeling confused and hurt.

So we make the most common of mistakes.

We ignore the ducks and assume that it is the responsibility of others to make us happy.

We shirk ownership and, with it, responsibility.

Then we take that further and expect others to make us happy.

Driven to distraction we can even demand that others make us happy.

The fact is that we are responsible for our own happiness.

And the harsh reality is that the key to happiness does not involve a fatter pay packet, a new and fresh relationship or more possessions.

The hunt for happiness can take us down many rough and unfulfilling pathways.

At the end of the day true happiness lies in accepting who we are, where we're at and what we have.

It's being able to look in the mirror and recognise, understand and appreciate the person we see looking back.

That doesn't mean we should not be ambitious; that we should not be working for change.

In accepting the here and now we establish a point from which we can look forward ... but it's important that we have all the ducks that matter in the one room at the same time before we start attempting to line them up.

Happiness is not a delusion.

It's a reality that takes effort.

WELLNESS TIP

The direction any day takes can often be determined by our early morning attitude.

We are what we think ... happy thoughts are uplifting, sad thoughts bring us down.

We have to decide which path we will take and we have to make the decision very early in the day.

First thing, think of something that makes you smile, something that gladdens your heart.

It's not always easy but it's important.

Plant the seed of positivity and take every opportunity to feed it despite the challenges that will come your way.

Gary Bentley is a counsellor with Rural Aid