I am a happy person.
In American culture happiness and joy seemed to have become vilified. Pessimism is the norm. Blaming others for our sadness has become the rule. Not anymore. The time for change is now. Quit feeling sorry for yourself, dump out the tea on the pity-party, let’s pull up our sleeves and punch this despair right in the crotch.
Now it takes more than that. Just by me saying “Be happy, you stinky, stupid, pathetic sack of protoplasm!” you might not achieve the desired effect. Thus, I decided to take it upon myself, a self-proclaimed optimist and all around happy-guy, to provide insight for some of you.
In college I had the opportunity to go to Tanzania on safari. During that time we visited Arusha, Dar Es Salaam, as well as a Maasai village. During the trip I saw many people in abject poverty, yet the overwhelming majority seemed so honestly happy. I realized what many people already know, Africa is hot and they have bugs the size of small horses. What I also realized is that much of happiness is attitude.
This is just barely scratching the surface, but I figured I had to start somewhere.
Change your attitude = increase the joy.
Here are five easy steps to help change your attitude.
Step 1: Use Happy Goggles
“I was almost late for work, and I had to work with Gurga, the temp who smells like a rotten carp. Also I dropped my bagel in my lap while driving so I got a small cream cheese stain on my pants. Also, I went to get my cup of coffee and no one remade the pot after finishing it, and I know it was Brenda since she never refills it. Not only that, Bob didn’t unload the dishwasher and he said he was going to …”
“Whew, made it to work just in time. Gurga seems preoccupied with Candy-Crush so I actually got my stuff done. Also, when I made that fresh pot of coffee, I got to catch up with Brandon, who actually is a pretty cool guy.”
Simply by seeing the good that happens every day we can start to change our attitude. This is HARD. Ask any ER doc, we have all had many patients that we have done great, stabilized them and gotten them admitted. Who are the ones we talk about? The one’s with bad outcomes. The worst thing to hear is “do you remember that patient?” Why? Because you are about to hear bad news. See the good everyday. All of us have many positive things in our lives. There’s always a reason to be sad or happy, choose.
Step 2: Connect
You have a family. You have friends. These bonds take active maintenance. I am quite guilty of this as well, but treasuring the bonds and simply picking up the phone can rekindle amazing amounts of joy.
Step 3: Smile
This one is almost a secret weapon. Smile. You don’t even need to really mean it. Wha-what?? That’s right. A fake smile actually increases happiness. Now, having an actual smile does it more, but check out this article. I found that crazy! Especially on the second page where just making the long “E” sound (which mimics a smile) cause increase feelings of joy in subjects. Wow. So don’t hide that grin, smile, laugh and giggle to your hearts content.
Step 4: Remove Downers
If you have an Eeyore sucking the life out of you, you need to find a way to lighten that load. “Friends” that only use you, abuse you, or treat you like no human deserves to be treated need to be banished. Addiction, adultery, or abuse has no place in your life. If you cannot remove the bad, at least have more fart jokes. I’ll add one for you at the end.
Step 5: Get Off Your Butt
News Flash. If you sit around all day, doing nothing, you feel like junk. For the vast majority, the days where you feel the happiest are not when you sit around watching TV or playing video games. The days that you feel the happiest are the ones where you are active, get out, and actually pursue something. Sometimes you might have to force yourself, but with time it will be natural.
Oversimplified? Yes. But These five steps are the place to start being happy.
Visual learning? Well, I don’t know if these videos will help, but they made me smile.
Step 1: Use Happy Goggles. No one stays as positive as the black knight from Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail
[niceyoutubelite id=”dhRUe-gz690″ width=600]
Step 2: Connect For this, I am going to show you one of the saddest scenes in
animation, but the relationship is what makes me happy. See the joy in the connection. Then cry.
[niceyoutubelite id=”F2bk_9T482g” width=600]
Step 3: Smile. Just listen to the words of the song. You can dance if you want to.
[niceyoutubelite id=”y6Sxv-sUYtM?t=9s” width=600]
Step 4: Remove the downers (Here’s that fart joke I promised)
[niceyoutubelite id=”EeHW54_HFZY” width=600]
Step 5: Get off your Butt
None of these are perfect fixes. But all of them are steps to change your attitude. If you change your attitude, you will change your world. Need more happy? Just look below.
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