An interesting study I once read about was a psychological experiment which had two groups for the study. One group was asked to complete the sentence “I am glad I am not ________”. They were asked to write a short essay and think of many things to complete the sentence. And the other group was asked a different question, “I wish I were or had ________.” When people filled out the surveys, it was surprising that the people who filled out the first sentence showed higher levels of happiness than the latter group. A similar study showed that when just one group was asked to fill out both questions, they felt more satisfied and happier after answering the first question.
The answer to this can be determined by noting that those who counted their unfulfilled desires and dreams felt “a hole”, a yearning, the disease of “more” that the first sentence does not have. Therefore the study shows with clear evidence that focusing your attention on how lucky you are that you are not “homeless”, “childless”, “jobless”, “very sick with cancer”, and the like (which were typical responses), proves to provide happiness while ruminating on all your longings, fantasizes, dreams, provide a relatively less amount of happiness. The second sentence, likely was filled with responses like, “I wish I were … a millionaire, a CEO, twenty years younger, more beautiful, a movie star, famous in my field of vocation” all resulted in dissatisfaction and the wistfulness and longing that dampened a person’s countenance and peace and stillness.
The lesson here is to focus on what you have and be grateful rather than focusing your mind on all that you don’t have and wish you had. It can be a simply task, but in practice can prove difficult. As a famous guru once said about wanting what you don’t have: Why not enjoy what you have rather than wanting what you don’t have”. Seems simple enough, but Society asks of people to desire the opposite.