The key to happiness is taking ultimate responsibility for your reactions to all of your experiences. Even if an event in your life doesn’t make sense, you have to accept that it’s a
lesson you need to learn from. Today, remember that fully understanding and accepting responsibility is the only way to find happiness, fulfillment, and your purpose on this journey.
” – Yehuda Berg

The following quote, in my opinion, hits at the crux of how one should approach life if they expect lasting fulfillment and happiness. The idea is that happiness is not the absence of problems, but the perspective we take on them.

How different would your life be if each time you hit a road block, you looked at it as an opportunity to learn and grow vs. some random and meaningless occurrence? What if you were laid off and saw it as the universe shifting you in a new direction, not dissimilar to the switch in a railroad track? What if in the midst of a painful breakup, you took it as a sign from the universe that this was just not “the one,” and this person was meant to come in your life for a different reason than being the person you talk to over raisin brand in your golden years?

I think an important lesson can be learned, especially for those in the midst of a debilitating mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. Oftentimes, the most difficult layer of the illness, are the thoughts that continually tell the individual, “life will never be the same, and you will continue living with this dark cloud over your head until you die.” Imagine, if you had a physical ailment, such as food poisoning, with the prospect of always feeling that way?

According to Beck’s research, he developed the “cognitive triad,” that demonstrates those diagnosed with depression tend all share three major assumptions:

-I am worthless

-The world is unfair

-The future is hopeless

Can you begin to see how this takes the exact opposite stance to the beginning quote of happiness? By changing our thoughts, we change our feelings, which often changes our behaviors and then becomes a snowball effect towards happiness (this can also work in reverse).

For example, if one begins to take on the belief that the world is neither fair or unfair but is developing in the natural order intended, we begin to see the things that happen to us (both good and bad) as holding meaning- even if we don’t know what the meaning is right at the time it occurs.

Instead of laying in bed, feeling defeated, we think “what am I supposed to take from this? Look how much more I am going to grow as a result of this?” We ask the universe to bring us MORE.

Today, look at the circumstances in your life. Think about what is weighing heavily on your mind. Write those things down. Now mark off the things that are in past and have already happened. Next, mark off those things that are in the future, and might never happen. What is left other than the present moment? What is the universe handing you today to give you lasting happiness, meaning and growth?

Dr. Colleen Long is the author of “Happiness in B.A.L.A.N.C.E,” and practices in the Los Angeles area under the supervision of Dr. Richard Oelberger (PSY22186) . Dr. Long works mainly from a positive psychology framework as it applies to addiction, depression, relationships,  body image and weight loss. Her website can be found at All public speaking/media event requests handled through FreudTV (