Finding Happiness in a Troubled World…

Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder. Henry David Thoreau

Recently, I eluded to my plan to write more and instruct more about depression and overcoming it. As I have written in my book, A Glimpse of Heaven, depression is a heinous monster. However, just because it is a monster, does not mean that it cannot be overcome.

We have, in our arsenal, many weapons that we can use against depression. We can identify those weapons and we can learn to use those weapons.

In my experience, just waiting for depression to go away is the most inadequate approach possible. Being proactive and being willing to work hard is the best solution!

I can hear some of you say, “But I don’t feel like doing anything, I don’t even want to drag myself out of bed.” I know how you feel and I was there once myself but I can promise you that taking the “I’m sick attitude and therefore I can’t do anything” is just going to result in your being miserable and “sick” much much longer….much much longer.

One of the difficulties that depressed individuals often encounter is that they have a misguided notion that they should always be happy.

I have found that no one – not even our most giddy and exuberant friends, are happy all of the time. It’s a great idea to get rid of that misconception right now!

However, once we get rid of that misconception, we need to understand just what happiness is, what it is all about, and how we find it.

Over this next week, I am going to be sharing excerpts from an article in the Ensign magazine written by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled The Gospel Path to Happiness. I hope you will stay tuned throughout the entire week. Jeffrey R. Holland is one of my favorite instructors of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is personally acquainted with how difficult it can be to go through depression. His article is wonderful and encompasses everything I think you need to know about Happiness. So, for this week, we will be focusing on Happiness and how we obtain it.

Consider today’s excerpt, only an introduction to Happiness. Remember, there will be more helpful information throughout the week. As you read today’s excerpt, keep a prayer in your heart. Be open to your heart and listen as it tries to speak to you. Most of all, be sure to keep an open attitude. If you are battling depression and are looking for answers, I can promise you that you will need to make some changes. (I did too) However, it is my intent to help you understand some of the underlying issues that may be plaguing you and then to supply you with the tools that I believe will be most helpful!

Oh, and before I forget, be sure to seek the Lord in prayer – both as you read today’s excerpt and as you seek to resolve your depression. Be specific. Don’t just ask for general help. Instead, fine tune your request. For example, ask that today you will find one piece of information that will help you on your path to full recovery or that you will have an open heart and that you will know when you have found information that will be a true source of help for you, etc. Let your heart guide your prayer. You might be surprised what it has to say!

Being specific with prayer is one of  best kept secrets to meaningful prayers that I know of! I hope you will cultivate that strength (being specific when you pray) and that you will find meaningful instruction with today’s piece of instruction from Jeffrey R. Holland!

The Gospel Path to Happiness

So how do we “pursue” happiness, especially when we are young and inexperienced, maybe a little fearful, and life lies ahead of us as a challenging mountain to climb? Well, we know one thing for sure: happiness is not easy to find running straight for it. It is usually too elusive, too ephemeral, too subtle. If you haven’t learned it already, you will learn in the years ahead that most times happiness comes to us when we least expect it, when we are busy doing something else. Happiness is almost always a by-product of some other endeavor.

Henry David Thoreau, one of my favorite writers from my university days, said, “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”3 This is one of those great gospel ironies that often don’t seem obvious, like “the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:30; D&C 29:30) and “lose your life to find it” (see Matthew 16:25). The gospel is filled with such ironies and indirections, and I think the pursuit of happiness is one of them. So how do we optimize our chance for happiness without pursuing it so directly that we miss it? Let me go to a most remarkable book for some answers.

I do not think God in His glory or the angels of heaven or the prophets on earth intend to make us happy all the time, every day in every way, given the testing and trials this earthly realm is intended to provide. As President James E. Faust (1920–2007), Second Counselor in the First Presidency, once phrased it: “Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume. Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”4

But my reassurance to you is that in God’s plan we can do much to find the happiness we desire. We can take certain steps, we can form certain habits, we can do certain things that God and history tell us lead to happiness with the confidence that if we live in such a manner, that butterfly is much more likely to land upon our shoulder.

In short, your best chance for being happy is to do the things that happy people do, live the way happy people live, and walk the path that happy people walk. As you do so, your chances to find joy in unexpected moments, to find peace in unexpected places, and to find the help of angels when you didn’t even know they knew you existed improve exponentially.

Today’s excerpt is shared from the following website:


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