The lament of many a mourner is “I’m unhappy” … and rightfully so after the loss of a loved one. But take heart, this does not have to be a permanent state of mind.

In fact, Daniel Nettle, author of Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile, says the following:

“When people say that they are happy with their lives, they do not usually mean that they are literally joyful, or experiencing pleasure, all the time. They mean that, upon reflection on the balance sheet of pleasures and pains, they feel the balance to be reasonably positive over the long term.”


As an exercise, it might make you feel more in control, if you can take a giant step back and look with a wider perspective beyond your grief in order to examine your personal  balance sheet of pleasures and pains.

For anyone (not just mourners), maybe life never seems balanced in the moment. It’s simply the striving for that elusive balance that makes up the everyday fabric of your life. However, when looked at in totality, you can view your life with more clarity and realize that even though there are circumstances when it looks skewed to the negative, as a whole, it probably presents a life well-lived.

I realize that when you are in a negative space, it’s hard to ignore those feelings that make the world seem dark. Consider that the reason you are experiencing tremendous pain right now is because you knew great love. I’m sure you wouldn’t forego that love just so you could avoid the pain of loss.

This is part of the balancing out of life. If you didn’t have highs and lows, your life would be flat lined like a body without a heartbeat, which didn’t understand that to love means you take the risk of losing.