A friend of mine from high school (and middle/elementary school…which were the same school…small town) shared on Facebook today about how someone gave him grief about his negative posts, so he was going to be totally, emphatically HAPPY in his posts from that point on. What followed was a river of snarky joy, including an acknowledgment of how great his laundry smelled, and how HAPPY that made him. It was hilarious.
It made me wonder – was it terrible that his frustration was bringing me so much enjoyment? (It was his fault, really – he’s a funny guy). And also, can we make ourselves happier by deciding to do so?
This second question came up when, in the midst of this comment flurry, I clicked over to Yahoo and saw a feature article on something like, “What extremely happy people do every day!” The article acknowledged recent research indicating that about 50% of our happiness level is pre-set by how we’re wired. We all have a base level of happiness (or unhappiness) from which we don’t deviate all that much. But for all we know, the other 50% is up for grabs.
I’ve had mixed success with intentional happiness. If I’m having a blah day, I can often turn my frown upside down by listening to music or reading a funny book, playing with my dog, window shopping for decorative roosters – the usual stuff. If the blah day comes as the result of something tangible, though, it’s a lot harder. I’m not great at being super faux positive when things are truly negative. I’m working on it. My faith suggests it’s my only option. But I haven’t mastered that skill set yet.
Have you tried to be happy on purpose? How’d it go?