Thursday, 21 November 2013

Happy Habits

Today I bring to you a guest post from the inimitable Dr. Lisa Munger, a friend and ocean-science colleague living a Hawaiian-based existence (of which I am often jealous) involving cuddling large jungle spiders and listening to marine animals and things. Enjoy!


I’m getting a little tired of all these “habits of happy people” articles circulating around.  It’s as if cultural anthropologists, after careful scrutiny, have determined that there are two kinds of people in the world, those who are happy and those who are not.  You can recognize the Happies by their filmy white dresses that ripple in the breeze as they strike yoga poses on the beach at sunset.  They do things differently.  They have HABITS.

But you?  No, clearly you are just some normal, run-of-the-mill, depressed, stressed-out, grumpy schmoe, a.k.a. a “Non-happy”. You have to sit in traffic and deal with nincompoops and worry about all the things that are wrong with the world like all the rest of us.

This is them.
This is you.

Well, in my expert* opinion, you don’t have to be happy to be happy. In my expert* opinion, happiness coexists with whatever state you’re already in right now.  Stop putting happiness on a goddamn pedestal.

So without further ado, here are 5 things most anyone can do, right now, whatever mood they’re in, to feel happy while you cram junk food in your face or scowl at your computer or whatever else.  They aren’t really even habits, unless you do them a lot (or, as they say, “habitually”).  You can do ‘em as one-offs, except for maybe #3.

 1) look at pictures of cute animals on the internet.  Sometimes they have funny captions.  They say it helps you get work done, too!

2) lighten up. There’s a lot of heavy shit out there, and you can easily occupy all your time being outraged and worried and overwhelmed by all the things that are outrageous and worrisome.  But that’s not happening because the world is truly an awful place; that’s happening because you are hard-wired to be alert to threats and scared by them. If you don’t balance that tendency out, those constant stress hormones will whittle away your being from the inside.  Don’t worry; there’s plenty of funny and beautiful and heartwarming shit out there too (see # 1). Go find it.  Laugh. A LOT.  SRSLY.

3) have awesome friends. Friends who think the same stuff is funny as you (a sure sign of awesomeness).  Friends who don’t judge you, friends who you have an equal exchange with (of energy, of intellect, of whatever).  If you surround yourself with awesome people it will heighten your level of awesomeness by association. This includes virtual friends. There’s really no need to keep reading a constant stream of complaints from that one person you know who always seems to be a victim, or that other person who always wants you to freak out that the world is ending. Go for the people who post funny cat pictures (see #1).

4) eat and drink the good stuff. Not specifying here whether that’s kale or a magnificent bacon cheeseburger (see #1—oh wait, j/k).  Up to you;  I’m just sayin’, go for quality. Personally I’m a big fan of top shelf tequila.

 5) go the fuck outside. There’s weather and plants and animals (see #1) and stuff.  It’s neat.

The end.  Happy habiting!  (In case you missed it, it’s really all about cute animal pictures—see #1).

* I am not an expert.  In anything**.  I just google.

 **(From Jessica: Unless of course you count a PhD as a sign of being an expert in something.)

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