Does being Happy mean that we are Happy ALL the time? No. Being Happy can be a nice fleeting moment or a state of mind. Just as depression can be a state that people live in much of the time, so too can be Happiness. This does not mean that we never unhappy, just as depressed people have moments of happiness. In fact, if a person chronically felt happy no matter what happened, as a therapist, I would be concerned. For instance, if a loved one died and a person were still walking around with a big grin on their face, I would probably suggest some counseling. We were born with a wide range of emotions and all of them have their place and time. Of course, it is what we DO with these emotions and how we behave or react to them that makes the difference.
In her book The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirskyinterviewed 100 people whom others nominated as the happiest people they know. In those interviews, they looked for habits that contribute to their happiness. They found that the attitude of the “Happy 100” was NOT the hope that bad things would not happen, but an expectation that at least some rain would fall in their life. The difference was that the Happy 100 fully embraced their choices on how to react to those life events. Instead of saying “Why me?!?”, they felt their feelings, assessed the situation, decided a course of action and drove on.
How do you handle life stressors? Do you react with “Why me?”, “I’m jinxed”, “That’s just my luck” or (cringe) “See? God hates me.”?
Albert Einstein said the greatest question one can ask themselves is whether they believe they live in a friendly universe. Well? Do you?
Whatever you decide, I emplore you to watch your cognitive diet. This brief poem sums it up nicely:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”