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How Can I Find Happiness in This Unhappy Time?

Jim Berlucchi, our Work Life columnist, offers specific suggestions on how to find happiness and “be not anxious” during these difficult times.

For starters, don’t let the doomsayers fill your mind. A recent magazine cover proclaimed: Age of Anxiety. Apparently the editors had not consulted the One who said: “Be not anxious about your life.” And he knew something about anxiety and pandemics as well. He was the Lamb who wiped out the ultimate pandemic, the sin of the world.

Nonetheless we have trials. So what to do?

Put on Courage. Courage is not mostly a heroic act. It’s mostly endurance — getting through any difficulty. Any adversity you’ve endured has left some deposit of courage. So bring to mind (courage is a habit of the mind) all the hundreds of small and larger challenges you’ve overcome in life. Then say to yourself, “I’ve made it this far, and I’ll keep on making it.” Keep saying it until it sticks. You’re not making something up. You’re drawing on what’s already there and putting it on. Put on courage.

Put on Confidence. St. Thomas notes that confidence is a subset of courage. It’s from the Latin word confidential, which translates con (with) plus fides (faith). Confidence is a form of faith — faith in yourself, faith in the future, faith in God. Divine faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Put on confidence.

Contemplate. This isn’t just for monks. Contemplation is simply focusing on something beautiful, and finding God in so doing. Our senses are the portals. So gaze at whatever moves you — a sunset, the face of a child, a landscape. Be starstruck with a moonlit night.  Listen to music or poetry that uplifts or energizes you. Take some time every day to contemplate.

Courage, Confidence, Contemplation. A triple threat against unhappiness. And just in case, three more C’s, all solidly Catholic, can’t hurt – Chocolate, Corndogs and Cheetos.