Lent and the search for happiness

MANILA, Philippines - Holy Week is when we remember the Lord’s sacrifice for the redemption of mankind. A psalm in the Bible says, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

But too often we get distracted from this truth and we search for things that give temporary pleasure. Sometimes all we need to do is to refocus on our priorities to see that happiness is just within reach.

How? Here are some suggestions:

1. Count your blessings

Instead of wanting things you do not have, make a list of the things you already have and write down how these have made your life better. You’ll be surprised how even the small things will pile up and make you realize that your life is not that bad. Remember the quote, “I was sad because I had no shoes until I met a man that had no feet.”

Tip: Keep a gratitude journal on your bedside. Every night before going to sleep, list down 3 things that made you happy that day. You'll go to sleep feeling grateful, attracting more blessings with your good energy when you wake up.

2. Share what you have

It is better to give than to receive. There is that certain feeling of lightness when you help someone in need. This may not necessarily mean monetary assistance; a simple gesture of help or sharing half of your favorite will be a good place to start. How can you receive more blessings if your storage is already full? Go ahead and give it some extra space.

Tip: It's spring cleaning time! Clean out your closets and set aside everything you have not used in the past two years to donate to those in need. Clothes, books, even gadgets and electrical appliances would be helpful, especially to victims of calamities.

3. Do a random act of kindness

Try doing a good deed out of nowhere and without special reason. As an extra challenge, do it to someone who does not deserve it. Remember, none of us deserved God’s love but He gave us His life just the same.

Tip: Try smiling at a stranger, giving your train or bus seat to someone carrying heavy load, or dropping a few coins into the can of blind musicians. Trust us, it's an awesome stress reliever. Being kind to others is actually being kinder to yourself.

4. Talk to an older person

With all the gadgets we now use, there is time famine. We get too busy to spend time with our family and especially our old folks. Sit down with your lolo (grandfather) or lola (grandmother) and compare childhood memories. Aside from learning a thing or two, you will also be reminded that your youth is not forever.

One day, you too will be old. You’ll be happy if someone gives you the time of day then.

Tip: If your biological grandparents are no longer around, reach out to the elderly at Golden Acres Home for the Aged. Prepare to sing or watch oldies with them. Amuse them with games that will make them laugh. (You can also do the opposite and spend time with kids in need.)

5. Sing

You don’t have to be "American Idol" material to do this. Besides, Filipinos are naturally gifted with the talent. Singing releases endorphins that give much needed "good vibes" to our brains. If you do have the voice, join a choir. If you can’t carry a tune, just sing in your own in the bathroom, or while jogging. If people complain, run faster.

Tip: Summer is the perfect time for students to take singing, dancing, and even acting classes. Join theater plays or musicals. Trumpets is staging a comeback with "The Bluebird," an all-Filipino musical adaptation of the play by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. Set for September, casting is still being finalized as of writing.

Lent is the time to reflect on our life. Perhaps after New Year, it is the next "chance" we have to look back and then forward, taking into account the sacrifices that Jesus Christ did for us, and the gift God gave us with the life of his Son. - With reports by Kai Magsanoc and Amiel Mendoza/Rappler.com

 

(For more information on Trumpets and 'The Bluebird,' visit their Facebook page.)