Is it possible to be dependent (addicted) to being miserable? I’ve met my fair share of folks who have me thinking the answer is yes. So how does one gain independence from the always available misery, drama, and “pitfalls” of life? Commitment seems like a great first step; commit to be happy. It takes a bit of effort, but research shows it’s possible to intentionally increase our happiness quotient. Why choose happiness when being miserable is so much easier? Is the fact that you’re more likely to be healthier and live longer a big enough why?
If you choose to stay miserable, read no further. You may want to watch and take literally this short, snarky video I found posted on kottke.org sharing 7 tactics to maximize your misery, gleaned from Randy Paterson’s book, How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use-
All sarcasm aside, Paterson’s book can help you identify behaviors that may be making you unhappy and help you discover how you (and only you) are holding yourself back from a life of contentment. In it you’ll find an invitation to become aware of traps that increase feelings of dissatisfaction, foster a lack of motivation, and detract from your quality of life—as well as ways to avoid them- ya know… like the plague!
Bettin’ you’ve heard “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. In other words, promises and plans are useless unless they’re put into action. So how does one stay committed to the course? Sharing your plan with those closest to you is a good idea. Sometimes guidance is in order. You may want to check out The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, written by research psychologist and university professor Sonja Lyubomirsky. This comprehensive guide offers a new and potentially life changing way to understand our innate potential for joy and happiness as well as our ability to sustain it in our lives. Her book starts off with a short diagnostic quiz that can help you quantify and understand your individual "happiness set point", which she and research associates claim determines 50% of happiness, with another 10% attributed to differences in life circumstances or situations. This leaves a whopping 40% of our capacity for happiness within our power to change. Lyubomirsky shares a set of 12 activities, suggests you adopt one or more and begin the process of making yourself a happier person. There’s lots of free resources on her website sonjalyubomirsky.com, including an on-line course called Be Happy.
For those of us who enjoy writing and reflection The Happiness Planner is available at thehappinessplanner.com. In it you’ll be encouraged to:
• Set goals that maximize your happiness level.
• Practice self-reflection so you understand yourself better.
• Plan your life around things that truly matter with those who truly matter.
• Start each week with an exciting and inspiring thought.
• Cut out things that hold you back.
• Train your mind to always look at the positive side of things.
• Learn to master the art of resilience.
• Strengthen relationships with your loved ones.
• Spend more time and money on things that truly make you happy
• End each day with gratitude
Like Ted talks? Here’s one by Robert Waldinger who shares three important lessons learned from a 75 year study on adult development as well as some practical wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.
Health & happiness to ya!