Some of the hardest times in my life really have been the happiest. I’ve attributed this to my personal efforts at the time (and the help of the atonement, which can strengthen us.) My thought process has been that “If I’m trying harder to be happy, I’m doing more productive things that lead to greater happiness, and I’m not letting my happiness be dependent on the more external circumstance of life.”
I’ve begun to change my mind about why those times, so rough on the outside, have been able to bring such inner peace and joy. While I do think that choosing to act and not be acted upon greatly assisted me in creating days filled with more joy than they’d otherwise be filled with, I think it’s something more. I think expectation comes into play to a large degree.
Mental health has become a big talking point in our generation. Depression, anxiety, and other similar issues of the mind have been medicated and focused on more than ever before, and show no sign of slowing down. I’m sure I haven’t been alone in wondering whether this increase in such negative conditions has simply been the result of greater awareness, or whether society is actually getting more unhappy.