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I want to ask YOU, are you choosing anger and sadness over happiness?  Are you making a conscious decision to feel bad or feel better?  Are you aware that you can be happy again?  I’ve been think about this for the past year and I’ve come to a conclusion that happiness is, indeed, a choice and a very important SKILL to learn.  Yes, happiness is a skill!

I’ve come in contact with many alienated parents and families over the past few years, and the majority of them are dealing with extremely sad and confusing situations that include abuse, divorce, loss, and lots of pain.  There is no denying this.  To add to this already fast spinning, or maybe a nauseatingly slow spinning, emotional roller coaster, the plight of these parents become even more clouded during the “fighting” process in court, with the zombie like trance of paying out money to lawyers and other professionals, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Some parents have become so embroiled in the process that they actually lose focus what is really important.

By the way, what is REALLY important?  I suppose each parent will have to seek that answer for themselves.  However, let me take a shot in the dark here and say that “getting my children back in my life” will top the list.  Okay, so how to go about doing that?  Again, there are a million paths to take that all lead to the same destination (of course, I’m referring to our final destination).  So, what do we want our emotional state to be while we travel along our path to our final destination?  Do we want to be miserable, sad, angry, lonely, bitter?  Although we may see it as outside circumstances causing these feelings within us, we can do things that are solely in our control to become happier, more joyful, and healthier individuals thereby separating our outside experiences from our own feelings of happiness and self-worth.

I’m no expert on happiness, however I do believe it is not only obtainable but imperative for us to do all we can can to remain happy.  For our children’s sake.  For our own sake.  For the world’s sake.  Without happiness, what is life worth?

I recently watched the documentary “Happy”, which “takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.”  After I finished watching it, I watched it again.  In fact, I encourage all who read this blog to watch it.  (You can currently find it on Netflix.)

I won’t go into the specifics about how happiness can be achieved, or the benefits that happiness can do for our body simply because I am still emerging myself in learning about it.  However, I encourage you to look it up for yourselves.  After you watch this movie, maybe check out the book “Feeling Good; The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns, M.D..  You may also want to check out Barbara Fredrickson‘s website http://www.positivityratio.com/ and take the positivity ratio test.  If you are really interested in learning about the psychology of happiness, here is a great video that can be found on TED- you’ll see Martin Seligman, Ph.D. talk about Positive Psychology.

Even from the most tragic and horrific events people can and do learn to heal.  In fact, for some it may be only through times of adversity that we can achieve the growth that we would not have been able to otherwise.  For instance, Melissa Moody’s story that she tell us about in the documentary “Happy” is the epitome of experiencing and overcoming trauma.  Here’s the catch:  according to scientist in this film “Happy” say “those who endure hardships recover more quickly than we expect and may even be happier because of a traumatic event — especially if they tended to be happy before it occurred.”  In addition, “One of the main ingredients for happiness, the sociologists and psychologists say, is having meaningful relationships.”

So, what do we do when those meaningful relationships, i.e., OUR CHILDREN, are the relationships that we rely on for the main ingredient of our happiness?  Well, I suggest we go out and make new relationships.  NOT to replace your children, but to build new connections that will in turn build us up and give us the strength we need to find our happiness (again for our children’s sake, for our own sake, and for the world’s sake).  One possibility is to join a support group for parents affected by Parental Alienation, or even start a support group of your own, and find the most positive people in the group to befriend.  😉  Another possibility is to volunteer your time helping others.  Yet another possibility is find something unique and active to do such as joining a Gorilla Run, (watch “Happy” to appreciate such an event’s benefits) or maybe join a Laughing Club (really, it is great fun and healing!)

In Japan, one of the world’s most wealthiest countries, there is a phenomenon called Karoshi.  Basically, employees are overworking themselves to DEATH.  However, despite their wealth, Japan only ranks #42 out of 156 countries in terms of happiness!  (Denmark ranks #1 on the happiness scale.) In fact, we may very well have to name some equivalent to the phenomenon here at home of the parent/child murder/suicide, especially if we continue on the path of overworking ourselves through the maze of the family court system as we continue by way of splitting up families, inviting the family court systems to intervene in our personal lives, alienating ourselves from society, and isolating ourselves to the point to where humanity as we know will become something completely unrecognizable.  After all, we are social creatures, so why are we becoming less and less social?

However, I do believe the pendulum is swinging back and this will not come to fruition.  I do believe we all see the importance of remaining happy, social humans.  Yes, the world has changed, and probably we need to all change our long-held beliefs about what is “right and wrong” in the world.

Go ahead, find your Flow as you venture out to change yourself, your family, and our world.  One person at a time.