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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

How to be Happy

Two weeks ago I blogged about the reasons why it's unproductive to be happy, but I have since thought maybe it is better to be happy for most of the time. If you're the sort of person who is cheerful and just has the occasional 'down' day, then that's perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

But what if you're someone who find themselves on the darker side of life more often than they see the brighter part? More worryingly, what if this is you and yet you're so used to feeling down, you no longer see it as a problem?

I've read several blogs this week that highlight this problem, and reading those articles has inspired me to do my own take on this aspect of life. Coincidentally, this problem might have just been an issue for me until last week I decided to do something about it ...

Having a life in the 21st century can be extremely stressful, tiring and demanding. It seems it is no longer enough to have just one job anymore, some people struggle to keep their head above water even when they earn a decent wage and work full time. Single mothers have to work and raise their children, while running a house, all at the same time.

Now I do not have the above problems. Fortunately I am financially secure with a roof over my head and do not have children to run me down. I am blessed with time to concentrate on my writing while still having the chance to breathe. But can this actually be a bad thing? Spending most of my time just concentrating on my goals and what I want to achieve by the time I am thirty? Well, yes, it can be, to a certain extent. Here's why:
  • I spend most of my time focused on my next goal that I literally do nothing else apart from work closer towards that ambition. And believe me, this isn't as great as it sounds. I lose contact with everyday situations, people, and life in general.
  • The more focused I am, the more ambitious I want to become, so I go into overdrive, get extremely stressed and snappy.
  •  The longer I continue to repeat the cycle of only focusing on a few things and generally over working, the more I lose sight of the things that once made me happy, contented and relaxed. Because I can only see the carrot on the stick that's just out of reach, I forget who I am and what I live for. 
For the past two and a half years, I have just wanted to concentrate on writing. And as a result I have never been so focused on anything else in my entire life. Day in, day out, I do the same things over and over again. Sure, this is a great method in ensuring things actually get done and not just put off until another day, but after a while it can become extremely boring. I've lived my life like this for nearly three years so it's no wonder I nearly went mad.

But last week I decided to do something different. I had the opportunity to go elsewhere in the country for a couple of days, all by myself. Now this is something I haven't done in over four years, and back then, travelling alone seemed to be the only thing that I did.

During my three days' away, I had the opportunity to see someone from my past life, someone from my travelling days. I was never expecting to see this person again, and it was great to catch up with them. But what made my time away so great was the fact that it gave me the chance to be me again before I became so stuck into writing.

So, if you're worried that you might be stuck in a boring old rut, take the opportunity to get away for a few days and catch a glimpse of another life. After all, it's important to remember happy times.

More blogs on this subject:

Dee's blog:
Susanne Lakin's blog:


  1. A very good post. Life as an author can suck you into a place you don't really want to be, but getting out of it, or changing the way you do things, can sometimes be quite a challenge!
    I love writing my kiddies stories, but it's everything else that's crowded in around it, because of them, that has taken the pleasure out of it.
    Once this last book is out of the way, I'm going to go away for longer than 3 days!!

  2. Hi Dee,

    Thanks for commenting. I'm sure your trip away will be well deserved, have fun when you go!

  3. I'm fortunate to be one of the happy people - don't think I'm in a rut either as I don't have time to get bored!

  4. Great post. I'm a middle-runner, never too happy, but never too too sad either. I try to face each day with one good thought. I'm happy to be breathing. I'm happy my son's are okay. And I'm happy my husband's health is good. Just those three things seem to get me in the right frame of mood for the day. Oh, I avoid negative people.

    Thanks for following my blog, LK. I'm doing like wise.

    A HREF=> Joylene Nowell Butler, Author

  5. Hi Patsy,

    You sound busy but thanks for finding the time to stop by my blog and comment on it. Have a great week!

  6. Joylene,

    Your mindset is a great one, as it's often the things that other people take for granted which keep us happy. There are so many people worse off than us.

    Thanks for commenting and following - I'm just glad I made another friend!


  7. I'm working on a review of a book about creativity at the moment but I thought I'd share this quote:

    Beeman has discovered that people who score high on a standard measure of happiness solve about 25 percent more insight problems that people who are feeling angry or upset. In fact even fleeting feelings of delight can lead to dramatic increases in creativity. After watching a short, humorous video—Robin Williams doing standup—subjects have significantly more epiphanies, at least when compared with those who were shown scary or boring videos.

    And here I though we needed to be miserable to create great art.

  8. Hi Jim,

    That's a great and interesting quote, thanks for posting!