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How to be Happy

Get ready – here it comes – the secret to happiness….drum roll please…  Stop doing stuff that makes you unhappy!  Ta-da!

I know, you think that is stupid, too simple, ridiculous.  But before you dismiss it, hear me out.  I used to read a certain publication (that shall remain nameless) that made me angry every time I read it – too skewed politically.  I read it because I wanted to keep up with what was going on, but every day it would make me mad – furious actually.  I finally took the time to research another source of information that would achieve my goal of staying current, but wouldn’t make me so mad.

Wait – I’m not saying the publication should be banned from the world because it makes me mad or that it is a bad idea to expose yourself to different views.  I’m saying my goal here is to be happy.

Example two.  My community is on Nextdoor (kind of like Facebook but only for people in your neighborhood).  I would get an update on activity every day and I’d comment if I wanted to get involved or had a thought on something.  We had an issue with the location of some mailboxes and I made several (I thought) brilliant, well-thought out, and extremely time consuming posts about this. I replied to other’s posts.  I became obsessed.  I updated my boyfriend constantly on the stream of posts and how apparently clueless some of our neighbors were.  My heart rate would go up when I’d get an alert that someone had posted to the stream, and I’d check it out immediately – who cared if I happened to be driving at the time?

Of course they decided to keep said mailboxes in their current location (in the middle of a three way intersection) because no one could agree on an alternate location.  I asked myself what the hell was I doing?  Why did I even care?  Why did I waste all this time and attention on a stupid bunch of mailboxes?  My mailbox isn’t even one of them!  Now I only get the safety updates which come through very infrequently.  I am so much happier.

Don’t get me wrong – I still go to my homeowner’s meetings and read information sent out by my HOA, I just don’t get sucked into the drama.

So how does this apply to you?  Take the time to do a happiness audit.  Are there people who always post on social media and their posts upset you regularly?  Stop following them.  Maybe you hang out with them in real life and all they do is complain and bring you down.  Stop hanging out with them.

I bet you have some things in your life causing you negative emotions and you just kind of let them stay there – maybe because you think you need to.  Like me thinking I had to keep up with current affairs.  Well, to what level?  And how much can you really keep up with?  Do I need to know everything going on in my neighborhood, my city, my state, my country, the world, and my solar system?  Or do I need to be happy?

Dread that stupid thing you agreed to do?  Don’t do it.  Dread and anger are not happiness.  In fact, I would argue they are signals of things to avoid.  You can fight against something because it makes you angry or you can fight for something because it brings you joy.  What do you think would make you happier?

Or maybe better yet, you can stop fighting.  You don’t have to weigh in on, fix, or even be aware of everything.  You’ll be amazed at the tremendous impact on your happiness letting go of something can have.

Mailboxes?  Really?


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5 years ago

Interesting…I just had this conversation with myself yesterday! On my day off, I was scrolling through Facebook. A “friend” I haven’t seen in person for 25+ years posted his idea of how health insurance should be structured. It irritated me…it was simplistic, short-sighted, somewhat judgmental. I stewed for about 20 minutes and plotted my crafty response. Then, I was struck by lightening and came back to my senses!!! He’s just a peon. He has no legislative power and cannot make the rules for ME! He’s not the one paying my bills. Heck…he’s not anyone I even have regular contact with!!!… Read more »

Karen Valenzuela
5 years ago

Oh, and I would have tried to work out the mailbox issue as well!
Love and miss your happy self!

Karen Valenzuela
5 years ago

Brilliant as always, just easier said than done, especially for us Type A folks!

Type A personality-check
Leading a project, doing it my way-check
Owning it-check
Unproductive and slow moving team,,, angry at the Type A personality-check
Type A personality-prays to let it go, let it go, let it go -check

Cheryl Raven
5 years ago

This quote of yours says it all…”You can fight against something because it makes you angry or you can fight for something because it brings you joy.”!