Being Happy with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Vicki Health Guide
  • We all want to be happy, but some of us MSers think happiness is no longer an option. MS and depression have a well-known relationship. An estimated 40 to 60 percent of MS patients live with depression sometime during our lifetimes. But there is no similar statistic for MS and happiness.

    We spend a lot of time and energy looking for happiness. So what exactly is happiness anyway? There are many opinions from many sources. Let's look at some creative and inspiring sites that I found on the Internet.

    The Happy Guy
    Here's a fun idea: Your Daily Dose of Happiness, The Happy Guy newsletter, had a contest for subscribers asking them to define happiness. People from dozens of countries submitted hundreds of entries and thehappyguy.com posted the top 25 answers representing the creativity and diversity of all entries.

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    These top definitions were submitted from the United States, Canada, India, Japan, Malaysia, Romania, and South Africa. They say happiness is found in a clear MRI, sitting quietly, inner peace, children's smiles, helping others, and simply "comfortable shoes."


    I think you will smile if you read through the list. It might take five minutes. Slow down to imagine the pictures being painted.

    Are you inspired enough to write your own definition? Share your moment of happiness with the rest of us. I would define happiness as truly being grateful for my world, finding beauty all around me, and loving what I see and feel.

    SelfCreation.com
    It is clear that happiness is not always a constant state of euphoria. Let's look further. Here is a page called selfcreation.com that is introduced by an Abraham Lincoln quote:

    "Most folks are about as happy as

    they make up their minds to be."


    Lincoln seemed to think people have power over their own happiness.

    The selfcreation.com page says it can "define happiness by what it is not" and then offers a list of bad feelings saying you are NOT happy when you are jealous, angry or even annoyed. There are many other NOT feelings that define happiness on this page.


    Happiness Project
    Here is Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project blog. There are many useful articles and tips that all make good reading.

    Look at Gretchen Rubin's tips from memoirs about illness. The tips are about memoirs written by cancer patients in the hospital. This is not necessarily specific to MSers, but we can find some useful incites.

    Here's a challenge: Write a happiness tip specific for living with MS or perhaps another chronic disease. Caregivers might write a happiness tip on caring for someone with a chronic disease like MS.

    Submit them at the end of this thread; let's see what we can come up with!

    Russell Razzaque
    Dr. Russell Razzaque is a UK Psychiatrist and Technorati staff writer. He founded a program that teaches people to go beyond thought and realize their true potential. He offers a different idea about happiness.

    According to Dr. Razzaque, there are two kinds of happiness. First, hedonist, which "is entirely about the attainment of pleasure and the avoidance of pain." Many MSers might quickly agree that avoiding pain is definitely a path to happiness.


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    The second kind of happiness is the Eudaimonic theory that focuses on meaning, fulfilling our potential in life. These are things worth doing, things important to humanity as a whole.

    I agree that I am happier without pain, but I like to focus on things worth doing, and doing my bit for humanity.

    A Buddhist Point of View
    Daisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher, educator and peace builder who published a story about happiness on Words of Wisdom.

    He submits that happiness is not a life without problems, but a life that learns to live with those problems, or perhaps to overcome them. There is no doubt that people with MS have problems, beginning even before the MS diagnosis. Daisaku Ikeda suggests "the secret of happiness lay in building a strong inner self that no trial or hardship could ruin."

    Daisaku Ikeda suggests we look at each situation and try to find new opportunity from inside.


    This reminds me of the play written by Maurice Maeterlinck.  His play, The Blue Bird, is about children who searched the world for happiness only to find it was in their own house all along.

    It is natural to think we could be happier if only we win the lottery, marry the perfect person, or get the best job ever. After all, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.


    Notes and Links:
    The Happy Guy David Leonhardt is author of a self-help happiness book. He also runs a Liquid Vitamins Store and serves as a SEO/SEM website marketing consultant. Read more: http://www.thehappyguy.com/define-happiness.html#ixzz0zDdH9nOh

Published On: September 16, 2010