Thinking Happy

Bobby McFerrin sings a song called Don’t Worry, Be Happy. It is a happy tune and when you listen to it you cannot help but feel lighter and silly. Silliness helps us all feel happier. Sometimes though, we don’t have the freedon to be silly. So, are there other ways to THINK OURSELVES HAPPY? Happiness is a feeling, but can we teach ourselves ways to shift to a happier place. It is talked about so much that it seems to be common and easily acquired. Happiness is elusive. It is a rare thing. That is what makes it all the more desirable.  

I do not expect to happy all the time. Short of a uber dose of Ecstasy dripping continuously into the vein, people cannot remain in a state of perpetual bliss. Happiness is more like a touchstone, a check point, home base. For most of us, hitting a home run is usually the consequence of pure dumb luck. Certain people have drilled themselve to accel at a task. I think of Micheal Jordan’s lay up, Tiger Woods short game (especially if he is in the rough) or Barry Bonds approaching the Hank Aaron record. Can each of us drill ourselves at the task of thinking happy? Can he put in place exercises or endeavors that are near guarantees to alter our state of mind (without performance enhancing drugs)?

When we find something that makes us happy, should me try to repeat or replicate it? I suppose that if I knew why I awoke somedays NOT happy, I would have a better idea of how to get back to the happier side of me. Simply observing how my mind shifts and my thoughts cascade helps to understand my triggers. I may learn how to anticipate my responses. If there are classes on “anger management”, couldn’t there be classes on “enhancing happiness”. If we could self-generate happier thoughts, then anger simple withers.

There are songs that make me happy. Actually, there are albums that make me happy. Music is a tremndous modulator for mood. There are smells that make me happy. There are memories, that when lingered upon, I can be found dazed and smiling and looking stupid. Playing with children should make any person happier, especially if it involves gross jokes or body noises. Evan can blow a fake fart on his forearm that will make me laugh until I am breathless. Happiness seems to live close to ridiculousness, impulsivity, silliness and a genral lack of self-conscience. Happiness requires we be LESS self aware or self absorbed. Happiness requires we disperse ourselves. We have to let go of control.

That is the catch-22. How do I teach myself ways to think that ultimately cause me to STOP thinking and let go. Learn to control thoughts to let go and feel happiness. Sounds like a puzzle, a mystery, a meditation. Sounds very Zen. It is counterintuitive.

And that is just silly!




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