can we really be HAPPY? … by Chrissy Guinery
I went to the movies last week to watch ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’, where they eventually turn to science to explain happiness (great movie by the way – as a ‘Quote Queen’, there were many quotes I long to jot down).
Did you know there was a science to happiness? Ha-ha. Wouldn’t you think it would be as simple as throwing our heads back and laughing. But, alas, apparently it isn’t so.
Today I want to share eight points Time Magazine (17.1.2005) came up with in ‘The Science of Happiness’ – (that’s the bits underlined) with my thoughts attached (that’s the bits that, well, aren’t underlined) …..
1. Gratitude – the use of gratitude journal is recommended.
Fancy simple gratitude is top of a scientific list! But you know it has been said that those who aren’t happy with what they have will never be happy with what they get.
I am one of those weirdos that have kept journals most of my life. I love looking back at them and seeing what made me happy at the time – and I can relive those stories.
Recently I began typing out a handwritten journal about our first time out in Buzz, before it was painted, before we undertook our road trip around Australia. Probably back in 2007. It was a 10 day trip to Bellingen – beside the Beautiful Bellingen River where my cousin was to marry his sweetheart.
I remember falling in love with the sights and sounds and animals. A tiny, rare, endangered, timid bandicoot eating scraps around our camp, the komodo dragon lizards cruising throughout camp, the trees, the birds, the life, the nature. The fact that me and Step and God and nature were all that existed. You know that feeling. When all is well with your world. Where you are the only people on the planet and you feel so freaking alive? It was during this first timid venture that I fell in love.
I cannot tell you how glad I was to be about to be doing this for the rest of my life.
I am so grateful for my life!!!!!
2. Generosity and practicing acts of kindness
How funny, eh? You would think that gaining happiness would include gaining things, or something at least. You would think ‘if only I had such&such, I would be happy’, yet the science of happiness proves that the first two things we need is to be grateful for what we have and then to give it away. Ha-ha amazing eh?
Have you ever thought about that?
All this time we’ve been waiting for happiness and we can actually gain it through contentment and sharing. It’s often the things we think are tricky in life, that are really simple.
3. Enjoying the simple things in life and remembering pleasurable moments
Sometimes when we are feeling down, it is good to sit and reflect on some pleasurable moments. Some of the things that made us happy in the past.
Or to simply look around you and see how very blessed you are. With this kind of thinking, we can get past our down times, knowing there were great times before and, by God, there will be again.
Do you remember Anne Frank? The Jew who was locked in an attic for years; hiding away for fear of being found and tortured and killed by the Germans? If anyone is qualified to talk about happiness, I reckon she would count. Here’s what she says, ‘Go outside to the filed, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that’s left in and around you and be happy!’
4. Thank a mentor who has helped during a difficult time
There are some people in our lives who have helped to make us who we are – don’t forget to thank them. It’s important for your wellbeing and for theirs. The art of thankfulness seems to be getting lost somewhere in our busy social lives. We really need to get back to the grass roots of life sometimes and simply thank those around us – even if it is just for sticking around us!
5. Learn to forgive and let go of anger and resentments
Ah, the old cage of unforgiveness, eh! Terrible place to be. When we harbor unforgiveness it only puts ourselves in a cage. The person we think we are hurting by holding our grudge, is probably walking around getting on with their life, and the only one held captive is you.
When we finally forgive, we find ourselves outside of the cage, and free again. It’s amazing.
Own your part in whatever went down, it is rarely one person’s fault. Claim it, own it, forgive the other (and yourself) and move on.
Now, I am not talking about abuse here – don’t get me wrong. If you have been abused and you were an innocent victim you do NOT blame yourself. This took me a very long time to learn. Right up to very recently. And it seems, whenever I try to talk about it, I get all emotional – so who knows, there could be more healing coming on that front.
But no matter our role, we do need to forgive. The grace of God can allow us to be able to do that – I know, I’ve done it. And yes, it did take Divine Intervention for me to be able to do it.
6. Invest time and energy into relationships – this is more important than money, job, title and even health
On peoples’ death beds the conversation is rarely about how much money they had, the job they held, the titles they earned, or even their great health in their prime – it is always about people. Relationships.
If you have broken relationships talk to God about those people. Don’t rush straight to those people yet. Talk to God about people, before you talk to people about God. Seek God’s face on it. Get his wisdom and guidance. And then move in the direction of restoration and healing.
Even happy, uplifting people, when surrounded by people who bring you down, can get dragged down. Who are you spending your time with? I’ve seen people rise and begin to believe in themselves, only to be brought back down low by the peer group they mainly hang out with.
Invest time and energy into good, strong, healthy relationships. You are worth it. And so are those around you.
7. Take care of your body, through exercise, sleep, smiling, laughing and a good diet
Don’t tell me you are eating well if you are smothering margarine on white bread sandwiches (poison) or drinking diet cordial! That’s like pouring diesel into a petrol motor car! Really, if you’ve ever done that you will realise what a disaster that creates. The car needs a complete clean-out, an overhaul. Maybe your body does too.
Eat fresh whole foods. Foods that are real – foods that grow on trees or in the ground.
Drink water. My friend is a chaplain in a retirement home and she said she sees so many people suffering with ailments that have been brought on and exacerbated by simply not drinking water. Good, clean water.
And,k not to appear bossy, but really, it isn’t rocket science (oh, woops, apparently it IS), do some exercise. I bought a size 10 one-piece cozzie a couple of weeks ago. It was the only one on special at the op-shop at the time he-he. I had to press myself into it like a corset! It is embarrassing to see, luckily there aren’t many people walking on the beaches I frequent on this glorious planet. But, it made me walk harder, exercise more, and eat more sensibly so I wouldn’t burst out of its seems but shrink enough for it to fit.
Today was the first time I actually began to feel some room in it. Exercise.
And don’t forget to smile and laugh. Laughter is such wonderful medicine, and such an endearing quality in you and your friends. I am a laughter freak. Anyone who knows me or has read Falling Up Stairs, knows that!
8. Maintain faith to help cope with stress and hardship
Would you have guessed that faith would be in a Science Project? Ha-ha.
Yep, people with faith cope with stress ad hardship much easier than those who have nowhere to turn. I mean look at us, even if we are flat on our back, we can look up and talk to God!
Bless you my HAPPY HAPPY friend !!