Saturday, 14 January 2012

On happiness

I came across this article in the Independent yesterday. It intrigued me. Partly because I was having a miserable evening, and in the middle of something like that, I'll pick up and try anything that presents itself, claiming an answer.
The title is a bit odd: 'How to be happy: Gretchen Rubin's guide to everyday contentment'.
Are they the same thing? Some of the happiest times in my life (like now) have been the least comfortable, and I certainly have not been 'content'. I've been walking, climbing, scratching at walls, clambering under thorny thickets (like now).
So I view her lists as guides to comfort rather than 'happiness' (the way I define the term), and when I see it like that, I can bring myself to try.
It made a difference. In the middle of an uncomfortable time, to follow her 'one hour' list:
1. Go for a short walk, or pace: Pacing makes me nervous. So I wrapped up and went for a walk in the sun to get some curry from the curryman at the Saturday market (sold out. Grrr.)
2. Reach out to friends: Check. I sent emails and skype messages and asked my mum to ring.
3. Rid yourself of a nagging task: I am the queen of nagging task drama. It's absurd. I am shortly to send off a scanned ticket to someone who's been expecting it for 2 months. I haven't sent it yet because although the ticket is lying on top of my scanner which is lying 1 foot away from my hands, there's a pile on papers on top of the scanner. Yep. That's all that stopped me.
4. Clear your desk - As soon as I finish this post. So that I can clear away the papers on top of the scanner...
5. Lay the groundwork for future fun: Done. I'm going to a garden some way outside town tomorrow - I checked opening hours and bus routes and planned my boots.
6. Act happy: I remember being told this by a favourite aunt when I was 10 and miserable. I still have not managed to take this advice. But yes - if you can't help the big thing that is eating you, and there's plenty else to grin about, fine, I'll grin.

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