“You have to make up your mind at the
start of the day that nothing that comes
your way is going to steal your joy.” Joel Osteen
Happiness is made up of various components such as how we live, the attitude we face life with, and even our social status and surroundings. There are many practices that lead to a joyful life, such as gratitude, forgiveness, and following your passions. But what I have discovered over the years in my life, is that the most important key to happiness is protecting our heart and mind, because when they are, joy will follow. When these two are not protected, depression, anxiety, anger, and many more feelings sneak into our hearts and hold our mind and heart captive to unhappiness.
Protecting Our Heart and Mind
We all know that protecting our physical heart is important and helps us live a better life. But why do we say our heart is broken or going through pain when we go through something difficult? Our physical heart doesn’t actually hurt (although it does happen), but I believe it’s because we are referring to our spiritual heart. The one that feels, loves, and desires and wishes to feel no pain.
Our spiritual heart needs to be protected at all times because with it we are able to love, and love is a main reason to happiness. Our spiritual heart needs protection because with it we follow our passions, do the things that are important in life, decide between right and wrong, and use our positive emotions such as love, compassion, gratitude, etc.
Our heart becomes unprotected the moment we lose touch with ourselves and our heart’s desires. Allowing our heart to go unprotected, opens doors to depression, anxiety, negativity, worry, feelings of loneliness, compilation of anger, and you name it!
And when it comes to protecting our mind, that is, our thoughts, we should be doing it constantly. Our mind is one of the most powerful organs we have. With it we control our body and emotions with just a simple thought! Imagine that. Many times, your brain has the capability to heal your body from illness with simply believing it is healing-ever heard of the “placebo effect?”
When we make an effort to control our negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones, we will find ourselves much happier. Our mind will keep having negative thoughts of loneliness, ideas about what people are saying about us, and anxiety over our own capabilities as an individual when we don’t learn to master our thoughts.
Mastering our own mind requires a lot of practice. Daily practice! No, hourly practice! The thoughts we allow to go in and stay, eventually affect our heart and its spiritual well-being and desires. When we live negatively thinking only about everything wrong in our lives, those thoughts start penetrating into our hearts. The venom we feed ourselves daily through thoughts, is the same venom that slowly enters our heart and leaves it exposed and unprotected. It becomes a heart that can no longer function without feeling overwhelmed over how difficult life is, falls into depressions, and is unable to follow passions.
How to protect our mind
It’s simple. Reject every negative thought and cho0se love over everything else.
Don’t allow those negative things you say to yourself or that you hear elsewhere live inside your mind. Either hear them and let them leave immediately by not dwelling on them, or quickly say something opposite of that emotion or thing you hear. By practicing this, we are choosing to not let our negative thoughts hold the reign of our mind. We become in charge of what we allow to stay and go.
So next time you hear yourself thinking you are not enough, list all the reasons why you are enough! Next time you feel you will never heal, list all the reasons why you can heal and practice them. Becoming proactive in having a healthy and positive mind, will allow happiness to overcome.
How to protect our heart
When it comes to the protection of the heart, I’m reminded of an activity I did with my students once. I cut out a smooth paper heart and told my students it was their heart when they were born, as was ours. I then crushed it and re-opened it again, revealing a heart with wrinkles. I went on to explain how these wrinkles on the heart were created by the things that affected them throughout the years such as losing people we love, not achieving their passions, and by the hurts other caused them with their words and actions.
I told them getting the heart back into shape isn’t easy. It needed protection once again but first it had to do something. First, their heart had to forgive the people who have caused them pain and forgive themselves for all the negative things they have thought about themselves. That until then, they would be able to fully love others by understanding that they and other people make mistake. I demonstrated how each time they forgave, a wrinkle on their heart would become a little more smooth again. That even if the memory was still there (the wrinkle), the pain wasn’t. Just like a healed scar.
Let me say, this topic was a bit strong and it led to some tears from kids who fully understood the power of forgiveness and protection over the heart. That day, they chose to protect their own heart from negative emotions. They chose to let go of thoughts that were hurting their minds and their heart and they chose happiness by forgiving and apologizing to their friends in that instant in the classroom. It was a powerful message!
This activity may seem silly, but it became the best lesson I have ever given. I cannot express how much this small lesson changed the atmosphere of the classroom and how the students got along. When there were troubles, I always reminded them that our heart needs protection from the negative thoughts of our mind and that we must love others. I was teaching them to always protect their mind and their heart through small reminders, which led to happy students who paid no attention to negative words from others and worried instead about caring about each other.
This lesson about the heart does not only apply to children. Adults are no different. Think about your own mind and heart today. Is your mind dominated by negative thoughts? Is your heart spiritually suffering from past hurts, lack of love, and lack of following your passions? Are your mind and heart wrinkled up and so affected that it steals your joy and happiness?
The key to happiness is to always protect your mind and heart . When we do, everything else will flow and bring us true and complete joy.
What other ‘key factors’ do you think we need to practice for happiness? I’d love to hear your opinion. For me, gratitude, forgiveness, love, and balance are also key factors to happiness.
If you liked this post please share with others so they too can know how important it is to protect our mind and heart. Thank you!