Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Three tips for instant happiness.

 First, that this elegant beautiful creature exists - that makes me happy.  (My daughter saw some sort of striking long-necked animal along an Ohio roadway - maybe it was these?) It is endangered.

I'm sorry, I don't have your three things.  It's my warped sense of humor - I am a sucker for lists of tips, reading them is like eating something sweet and salty with no calories.  I don't really think there are three activities or strokes of luck that would suffice to make anyone happy.  Less neurotic and less miserable, yes, generally satisfied with life, yes, able to be happy, yes.  But those are things that take dedicated effort over a long time---for instance, a daily spiritual practice and getting enough exercise and saving for retirement---and do not bring instant gratification. There, that's three - but nobody is interested in tips like that.  Tips are about Instant!  Free!  Easy!!

Here's a suggestion, though.  Start a list of things that make you feel better.  Here are two I experienced this morning:
1. Getting a handle on tonight's dinner first thing in the morning.  I actually got chili going in the slow-cooker, no small feat working with single non-dominant hand.  It smells good, I feel proud, I'm looking forward to dinner.  If you are your own or your family's main cook, what to have for dinner will be lurking on your mind all day long unless you decide in the morning what to have.  Truth is, I learned this from a site called The Fly Lady.  If you need someone to nag you to do what has to be done around your house, go there.

2. Getting three! comments on this blog, and from new people.  This is the obverse side of my personal problem, which is that I hate my writing to be rejected.  On the other hand, I love for someone to tell me it matters to them. New readers make me happy, too.

Your list will be different.  Be careful about putting on it things that society has told you ought to make you feel better, I don't know, massage for example is torture to me.  Stretching, however, is great.  I loved yoga (with a great teacher, whose name is Kit Spahr if you live in the Columbus area) back when I could do it.  Hate running.  Love Ghiradelli chocolate with sea salt and almonds - it actually lifts my mood.  Love soft socks, supportive shoes.  Hate getting a manicure, but enjoy wearing the right nail polish. See, this is very personal.

The list of things that make me feel better is actually a sort of spiritual/psychological exercise that I made up for myself a long time ago. It is a way of paying attention to yourself.

Now I have to go take my noontime immunosuppressants.  I have to do this every day of my life now, and I don't mind it, it keeps me alive, but it doesn't make me feel better.  No pushing the list by putting on things you ought to be grateful for - that's a different exercise.


  1. Here I am, a new reader. I have been following you for a week or so although I heard about you ages ago from my daughter. The first thing that made me happy this morning was when you mentioned Fly Lady....I actually chuckled out loud. It just seemed like a weird congruence, the Dalai Grandma and Fly Lady. I haven't been to her site for ages, but I still lay out my clothes the night before, plan my meals and shine my sinks, and try to keep on top of clutter, both physical and mental. Try. And weird congruences make me happy. And speaking of weird congruences,there was Kit Spahr in your post as well. I am slowly getting to know Kit online although I have only met her very briefly in person.
    Another thing that makes me happy is learning how to do something new. And today I learned how to comment on a blog. So see, two moments of happiness have flowed out of your post this morning. And I guess maybe a third one, yours, since at least one new reader has posted. Thank you for this blog. You give me much food for thought.

  2. this is a great post, and does it please you to know, I was lured in for quick happiness? Ah well, it was satisfying just the same, and as someone who's suffered from the occasional but constant visitor depression for years, I think I will sit down and write that list.

  3. It matters to me........