Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"How to be Happy" according to Google
So I thought that today I would google "How to be Happy and click on the first unsponsored link. Not surprisingly it was Wiki How- an online forum where regular folks, like you and me, can post and edit articles and videos on how to do various things. They had 9 steps to becoming happier and after I read through it, I thought that I'd highlight one of their recommended steps each post.
The first step listed was unsurprisingly, "Be Optimistic." They refer to a principle known as the Hedonic Adaptation also known as the Hedonic Treadmill which claims that that no matter what happens in life, good or bad, after a certain amount of time, a person will return back to their relatively stable and personal level of happiness.
This got me thinking about how often I look forward to certain events and think that I will be SO much happier and fulfilled when "this" or "that" happens. I would never say that I'm not happy now, but I wonder if I look forward too much, placing too much emphasis on what can be and not enough on what is.
It isn't mentioned but I think that being grateful for what we have can raise our overall level of general happiness. Great things will happen sometimes and so will terrible things, but I think the key is that if we are happy now in the moment, then when those things come, our world isn't completely rocked. Now, I'm not trying to say that we won't experience moments or even periods of extreme elation or seemingly deep and unrelenting sadness. Those times will come. It's part of being human. What I am saying is that when we return to our personal Zen after those moments, we will be more happy and more content.
The whole glass-half-full/glass-half-empty usually comes to mind when I think about optimism. While it would be wonderful to be able to think of the glass being half full all the time, sometimes, I think that it's alright to just be grateful that it has anything in it at all. I mean, if you're really thirsty, does it matter?