Wealth and lifestyle usually conjures up images of luxury cars, large homes with beautifully manicured grounds, and staying in the world’s finest hotels at exclusive vacation resorts. Although these images are often portrayed as the ultimate wealthy lifestyle, a wealthy lifestyle can be enjoyed without any of the markers that we generally associate with making it in life.
The best lifestyle you can have and enjoy is one in which you have inner happiness, health, and good family and interpersonal relationships. These are the things that really equate to wealth and they are also the things that, as is famously said, money can’t buy.
Within your control are your inner happiness and the quality of your interpersonal relationships. To a large extent, your health is also within your control. While it’s true that today chronic diseases affect millions of people, the way in which you respond to illness and the approaches you take to wellness impact your psycho-physiological well-being.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “health is wealth”; when you have health you do
have a lot to be grateful for. An important aspect of health, and one of the best ways to take care of yourself, is to keep yourself healthy mentally and emotionally. In fact your emotional health, or mental health, ultimately affects all other aspects of your well-being.
You can’t get very far in life without learning that life offers a myriad of experiences; sometimes you will react with sorrow, disappointment, anger; sometimes you will react with joy, elation. Human experience will run each of us through a gamut of emotions. Do you realize that your reactions to the experiences that life brings are completely within your control? Do you know that you choose your emotional reaction to everything?
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, what he doesn’t appreciate the next man will”. Twice a year, I donate clothes and household items to local organizations that support those in need realizing that, just as the old saying goes, although I no longer need the items or clothes, they can be of value to someone else. Our emotions work in the very same way. If you’ve ever had a child leave the nest, you were probably very sad and felt a sense of loss. For parents, a child leaving the nest often feels like the end of years of nurturing and it can leave you with a deep sense of loss in your role as a parent. This is often the very opposite of your child’s happiness at growing up and moving out on her/his own. For young people, growing up and moving out is a celebration of independence and maturity.
If you’ve ever taken an anger management course, you know that a person can learn to control their temper. In fact, you can learn to control all of your emotional responses however automatic and uncontrollable they seem in the moment; in doing so you can learn to take a more positive approach to dealing with life’s events.I like the quote, “nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. You can see the truth in this in the example given above of the child leaving the nest. For me, this quote really speaks to the importance of attitude and the roll attitude plays in our emotional responses to life’s events. Learning to manage your emotional responses to situations, particularly situations that you cannot control such as being stuck in traffic, or having your luggage lost while travelling, will lead to inner calmness, inner peacefulness, and greater emotional well-being, which will ultimately lead to inner happiness.
If this concept seems difficult to grasp, imagine what it would be like to simply wait patiently in traffic until the road clears and you can get moving again. Imagine not getting angry and screaming at the airport staff because your luggage is lost. Imagine taking positive action to resolve those things you can and accepting those things you cannot change rather than feeling a throb in your head or a tightness in your belly because something has happened and you are now overcome with anger and resentment.
As you attain inner happiness you will find that your family and interpersonal relationships also get better and better. As you can imagine, with a positive general outlook and with feelings of inner contentment your attitude toward those around you will also change. You will interact with more patience and joviality and you will ultimately attract more of the same. We all know people who bring out the best in us or in others because they are “the life of the party”, or are “always in a good mood”; we also all know people who drain our energy and dampen our sprits because they are always complaining, moody, or unhappy.
When I hear people say that money can’t buy happiness I immediately think of the importance of achieving inner happiness. Inner happiness is the greatest wealth in life. The more money you have the more you can enjoy all of the world’s offerings; but only inner happiness, inner peace will completely fulfill and sustain you for a lifetime.