In her book, The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky writes this about people struggling with depression, “Their problem, it turns out, is not so much that they anticipate bad things will come to pass as that they cannot believe that GOOD things will.” Hopelessness is one of the key components to depression. Concentration camp survivor, Viktor Frankl described in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning that when one of his peers knuckled under Nazi abuse and gave up hope, they were dead within two weeks. Hope and optimism are important ingredients in the recipe of Happiness. They are future oriented. It lifts our spirits when we have something to look forward to – something enjoyable – something FUN! As the old saying goes, “Know thyself”. It is very important that you understand what is FUN for you. Please think of things now that are fun for you. Write them down. I suggest that when you write them down because during turbulent times, we can have great difficulty thinking of anything fun at all. Writing this down will begin, what I call, “The Arsenal”. It is anything that will help to pull you out of a down mood (jokes, movies, songs and FUN activities). You might start by remembering fun times. You should start to see a pattern emerge as you write your list. Also, please ask yourself, “Is this REALLY fun?” For instance, you might have “crossword puzzles” filed in your head as fun, but is it really? It might be for you, but I ask you to think carefully about each item on your list. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology has much to say on this subject. In the next article I will discuss important points of fun and how you can get more mileage out of it and ultimately be Happier.
To really get your fun factory into high gear, check out this article by psychologist James Messina. It will definately help you with your list and get you thinking about what fun really is.