Happy Thoughts

'I've found it! The secret of happiness is... *BANG*'

Happiness, an elusive trait by all accounts. I'm usually happy, despite my best attempts to make it seem otherwise. On close inspection, I believe there are several 'tricks' to my happiness. Mental disciplines, you might like to call them.

I expect you've heard much new-age tripe about "positive thinking" to influence your life. While close to [what I consider to be] the truth, I think this is also very misleading. Certainly the best results I've seen from this sort of positive thinking is disappointment.

My take on life-influencing is double-negative thinking (a deliberate pun). No doubt you'll have heard people extol the virtues of negative thinking ("If you expect the worst, anything good is a pleasant surprise, and anything bad you're prepared for"). I don't argue with that other than to suggest "prepare for and prevent" rather than "expect".

Obviously if you can do that, that's a fair step towards being happy. The more important one (in my life, at any rate) is positive seeing. Looking at life positively in retrospect. The best example of this that comes to mind is from a few years ago in my life. I was hit by a truck and broke my wrist. There are two main ways people tend to respond to this.

  • Sympathy : "Oh, how terrible." - wow, that's so useful and really made me feel better. (yes, I'm being sarcastic)
  • 'Positive' : "Could be worse, you could have been killed." - this is most people's idea of a positive outlook. To suggest that it wasn't as bad as it could be. Quite a lot of people told me I was lucky. What about all the people who weren't hit by a truck at all? They must be really lucky.

    I adopted a third way, and it's this that I consider the key to always being annoyingly happy. Really positive, not just un-negative. There were reasons why it was good to have been hit by a truck. It stopped me doing a job I didn't want to, it changed my outlook for the better, and I got insurance money to boot. Most people in the same situation would probably not see two of those, and would probably complain that the insurance money wasn't enough. The fact remains, I consider my life better for having been hit by the truck. Had I not been, I probably would have got a more devastating injury from the job.

    Another 'trick' to happiness is triggers. Think of something that makes you happy, or choose something to make you happy. It's best if it's something you'll see quite often. Mine is crows. In my most miserable time, crows held my spirits up by showing themselves whenever I felt down. When I realised this, I stopped needing them to actually show themselves (though I always appreciate it), and would just imagine them whenever my mood was low. Some people might find it difficult to think of a thing that makes them happy. I urge them to make something up. Just like something.

    Of course, the 'easy' route to happiness is to have a really good reason to be happy. I have one of those now - but I was happy before.

    [ Think back... ]

    Send me mail : raven@ravenblack.net