One book I once read discussed one of the keys of happiness is to compare downward, and not so much upward. This is a difficult concept to understand, and it runs against civilization’s common exhortation. If you contemplate all the others in life who are having so much more of a difficult time, you end up feeling grateful of where you are and are not in a worse situation.
This is a classic thing your mom would say to you when you were a child and did not want to eat your vegetables or finish your food. She would talk about the starving people in Bangladesh or Calcutta, India and tell you that you should be grateful even to have something to eat. There is so much truth in that cliché.
When I worked part time at a hospital, I noticed so much suffering in all areas of the hospital. Particularly on the Rehabilitation floor at Lutheran General Hospital, I would see people trying so hard to regain even their basic living functions after suffering things like a stroke or accident. Imagine that you are paralyzed and your leg is itching. And you cannot move your arms to scratch that itch. Then come back to the present and be grateful that all your arms and legs work.
Can you imagine being a war veteran with their legs blown off? Now look at your own legs. They work perfectly well right? Be grateful for this and other parts of your body that work well. Ever see or talk to a deaf or blind person? I have met and worked with them. Although they do not ask for pity (many function very well in Society), be every so grateful that your eyesight works. I saw so many people through some accident and not being able to eat or drink anymore. They had to eat through a G-Tube in their stomach. One of the supreme joys in this life is eating a hearty meal and eating a sweet dessert. Many cannot do this anymore based on a number of illnesses. Can you eat and drink? If so, be merry.
Picture all those people in horrible chronic back pain who are crying out and waiting desperately for their next morphine shot (to address the pain). Many after surgeries like prostate hypertrophy cannot urinate by themselves. Imagine having to go to the bathroom so badly but no matter how much you push, no urine can be expelled so your bladder swells. Remember how much pain you felt when you couldn’t find a restroom? Many people are suffering so much that you cannot imagine the suffering.
Now meditate and reflect on that and come back to your current reality. You will find that your everyday problems are not really problems at all compared to what so many people around the world are suffering on a moment to moment basis. This exercise will help you to not only feel grateful and relief, but will also allow you to feel happier as a result. All that you take for granted are really gifts that you can cherish and feel good about, if you compare downward.