The secret to being happy, is being happy. I will explain in a bit. This can get really long, but I will keep it short.
I am writing this entry because I was listening to NPR’s ‘Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!’ recently. The surgeon general of the USA was a guest on this week’s episode. This is what he said:
That includes making sure you’re eating a lot of fruits and vegetables in particular, drinking a lot of water. But there’s actually one other thing which I think is really important. This is actually being happy. And now, let me explain why. Most people think that you need to be healthy in order to happy.
In went on to explain:
But I actually think a lot of times it’s the other way around. You know, we know that there are things that all of us know we can do in our life to improve our happiness. For example, whether it’s spending time with friends, improving social connectedness, whether it’s making sure that we are exercising and – which actually can give you energy and improve your emotional and mental function…
And that’s it. I have been saying the same thing for years. For sometime years now, I have being saying to friends and family, ‘happiness is the most important thing to me’. And I meant every word of it. Probably the first person I can remember saying that the most to, was my first girlfriend. It wasn’t because she made me unhappy a lot, it was just something I said often.
Without really knowing how it would work, I had decided at a very young age that I would be happy. I really didn’t come to it as “I will be happy”. It was a decision based on a train of thought. It comes down to two simple ideas, ‘get over it’, and ‘time is precious’.
The first one is easy to reason about. Assume that you are not in your worst mood right now, then it can get worst. But then you would get over that period and be back to whatever you typical mood is. So if you look at head of all possibly negative situations you can encounter, you can see that most of them you will eventually get out of. So why not make a conscious decision to just get over it? By essentially skipping out the rough or negative parts? When you find yourself in a situation that is not your typical mood, just force yourself to get over it, by simple refusing to give in to the mood that would be warranted of the current situation. Yup, ‘just get over it’. You will still whatever problem you need to deal with, but mentally, you are in a different, and happier state of mind.
The last one is about time and it is kind of weird to explain. You want to think of unhappiness as an event with a date, that you can sometime postpone. It is in your interest then to procrastinate on your unhappiness.
Imagine that you could make deal with the universe. The deal would go like this. Universe, you know the time of my death and thus the length of my life. Therefore, I want all the unhappiness for my life, to occur at the end of my life, instead of sprinkled throughout. This a pretty simple deal to think of. If you imagine that you can get this deal, it shouldn’t matter to the universe, you would have suffered the same unhappiness either way.
The reason you want this deal, is because you get to be happiest when it mattered most. When you were young and in the prime of your life. Even if you live to be very old or die young. The other thing is, if there is caveat, such that you checked out before “your time”. Guess what, you would have cheated the universe out of making you as unhappy as you should have been.
So in both cases, you want avoid unhappiness by avoiding it. Be it by ‘just getting over it’ or postponing it for as long as possible. And this exactly how I reasoned it at a young age and decided, I will always strive to be as happy as I can. And my happiness is the most important thing to me. People and situations that are taking away from my happiness, find their influence on me diminishes less and less over time.