We're halfway through December. The month is passing and I feel like a dog with its head out the window. There are so many good things to examine and not enough time to examine them. This might be why Gretchen Rubin took a year to write her Happiness book. Nevertheless I will continue on, but first, what I have learned so far? This year of change is going to be for nothing if I'm not constantly applying and reviewing the things I'm experimenting with.
I started looking at love and money - two things I thought were pillars of happiness.
- It turns out that money can be a pillar of happiness if you use it the right way. The wrong way to use money is to buy things and then buy more things and then buy things for your things to be kept in and so on. We get used to everything too quickly, even the shiniest iThings.
- Giving then is what brings people happiness. In fact, giving is so powerful that it brings more reported happiness to people than getting any financial windfall.
- Marriage makes people happy - regardless of age, income level, or whether you like playing Dungeons and Dragons or not.
- Smiling makes people happier, live longer, and have better marriages. It also activates the same hot spots of your brain if you had won a large amount of money (which we'd both know should be given to charity, right?)
- Anger is a tool. I don't know what kind of tool it is, but it's a tool. I can turn it on and off with practice just like I've learned to ride a bike, fix an electrical outlet, and play Dungeons and Dragons (see, we do marry). Learning to control this worked really well.
- In the same way I turn on and off the anger faucets, I can turn on and off the happy ones. Smiling is the best way I've seen to do this but I think there might be some seeds of happiness in gratitude too. It's all part of our psychological immune system, no word on if their is a chalky powder you can mix in water and drink for this.
That's it so far. Smile more, get married, give money to charities not stores, and start trying to control your thoughts.
On another level there's the writing and reading about happiness. It's a handful. A lot of this stuff I'm sharing is stuff I'm scraping together at 5am or when listening to a TEDTalk on the elliptical. My stack of books from the library is almost as tall as my youngest daugher. The pursuit is making me happy.