Unhappy World?

October 10 2022 | by

Dear Pastoral Counselor: I have found myself feeling more and more saddened by the state of the world. Between the pandemic, the state of the Church, and the seemingly innumerable conflicts occurring in society, I can’t seem to catch a break and find any joy in my life. I’m not prone to depression, but I find myself feeling more and more depressed as things continue to get worse and worse in the world. What can I do to change the way I feel and see the world?


Maintaining a proper and positive perspective in today’s world seems to be getting harder and harder. As a result, this makes it more difficult for you and I to keep a joyful disposition. This appears to be exactly what you’re experiencing. Thankfully, however, there are practical things you and I can do to counteract this.

The first and most obvious thing we can do is limit our consumption of the news and various other forms of media. While it is important to know what is happening in the world, we only need to know what is necessary to perform the duties proper to our state in life. Anything beyond this is more often than not unnecessary. Unfortunately, news today highlights more of the negative than positive things that are occurring. The more we focus on things that are negative, the more negative we feel emotionally as a general principle. This principle leads us to the next thing we can do.

Principally, our emotions react to what is in our imagination. What this means is that what I think about will inevitably affect how I feel. Further, it will also make it more likely that I will feel this way again in the future, as I am creating an intellectual habit of seeing things in a certain light. Think seeing a glass as half full as compared to half empty.

This principle leads us to the second thing we can do to overcome any emotional disposition we have: we must be prudent about where we place our focus. Where we place our focus directly affects our experience and our emotions. If I desire to be happy, I need to think about happy things. This is why the saints were filled with so much joy here on earth and are filled with incomparably greater joy now that they are in Heaven: they spent their time here on earth thinking about God, and they will now spend all eternity thinking about Him in Heaven.

What this means is that instead of focusing our attention on the affairs of the world around us, we need spend more time focusing it on the things of God. This doesn’t mean we’re to be ignorant of what is happening in the world and therefore do nothing within our power to make any given situation better. Rather, we only give the affairs of the world the attention they need, and the rest of our attention is focused on God and His creation.

We have many different avenues in which we can do this, such as spending time in prayer, out in nature, or with our loved ones. We can use the talents God has blessed us with to build new hobbies or engage in old ones. We can also read solid, virtuous books and learn more about God, our Faith, and the angels and the saints. The possibilities are practically endless. And once we can truly, deeply take to heart and recognize that God is eternal and our time here on earth is transient, we can spend our time more wisely and joyfully.


Updated on October 10 2022