Are you happy?
The ultimate freedom…to pursue it. But do you know if you are, how can you tell…and if so WHY.
I have this theory in my mind that I’ve mentioned three times in the past week. I figure that if this munch-cha-cha chats about her opinions (MOI? opine anything? Er, um, everything?) to such a vast extent, perhaps writing about it a bit at length will help flesh out the notion a bit more. Writing stimulates a unique region of the brain connected to language. In the writing, there is a meta cognitive process that uncurls itself along electrical rivers to the prefrontal, or most “evolved”, region of our noggins.
Most research indicates that there is a set point to happiness. The theory is that happy people are usually predestined to be content, almost as if they were born with a disposition for okay-ness, or have developed a lengthy history of joyfulness or an accessible formula for generating a sense of stability. So, happiness is ingrained into personality, which is more tied into the blood of our genes and their expression than environment.
In my experience, this makes sense. Numerous examples abound where people around me have touted: “when I lose 20 pounds, win the lottery, get married, land that promotion, I’ll be happy”. The diet and healthy industry, damn, the whole notion of MARKETING, is that you CAN and SHOULD change! But even when we do, after a period of a year, we tened report similar levels of satisfaction that we espoused prior to the change. We accommodate back to our own status quo rather quickly. Of course, major life traumas that may require lengthier bounce back times, but eventually, we return.
And when we say “I am happy” really what we mean is “I am satisfied”
I think I’ve always been a person that delights that the bush has a rose rather than complain the rose has a thorn. I am a- wait until morning, hey look at that patch of blue!, there’s always coffee, let’s just ask someone-type of gal. Rainy days are chances for me read a book or break out my cute rain boots. I am part of a profession aimed at increasing satisfaction, at a physical and mental level, and have created in myself a sense of seeing creation, this life of mine, “as good.”
Well, good just got great.
Although I have had many experiences these past five years of feeling satisfied and content, I believe that in the past few months or so, I’ve stepped away from a major life trauma and re-emerged as my natural Special K. And one reason I think my happiness set point got bumped up a notch: I am comparing LESS than I did 6 months ago. Comparison, whether to some one else (her boobs are so much PERK-ier, her comment count and protein baby cake so much higher) or myself (I ran 6 miles yesterday, why am I so tired today) or society’s “formula” (e.g. money, marriage, kids) continues to ransack my contentedness. But I challenge those thoughts more than I did a year ago. I lean towards my internal compass of feeling rather than have my head shoved in a map.
What helped me get there? My LIST! YOGA! Moving to a NEW COUNTRY! Having a detailed plan for DISCOVERY (traveling!) and CONNECTION (Skype and clubs here). In short, I am LIVING the things that are important to me. ON a DAILY basis. Plus, with the exception of that week I went without caffeine, each morning, I get my cup of coffee.
And sure, I fail…a LOT. And sure, I have bad moments, where experience is puny in measuring up to my version of “good” And sure, I wish my boobs were bigger. But I understand, that even if they were, I would NOT be any happier.
I’d just get free oil changes.