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Saturday January 18, 2014

Being happy is an evasive thing. It's somehow hard to put a finger on why or what it is that makes us happy. But when we are, we definitely know it.

I recently read Gretchen rubin's The Happiness Project, and it truly spoke to me. Don't we all want to seek as much happiness in our lives as possible? Her book is all about this search, devised in 12 practical, approachable goals (one for each month). But, maybe we can make this a little more simple and less time consuming.

For me, it comes down to three things:

1. Treasuring your relationships.
2. Doing what you love.
3. Being yourself.

Now, many would argue that it is important to have a positive attitude, or to sort out money issues, or to revitalise your marriage in order to be truly happy. I disagree. If everything is torn away, our lives are based on these three things.

So ask yourself:

Do you love your work?
Are you happy in your own company?
Do you feel like you are true to yourself and your values?
Do you treasure your relationships?

So, go out for coffee with that friend you haven't seen in 'too long'. Be grateful when mum does the ironing, or your partner makes you a cup of tea. And, most importantly, accept. If you can accept yourself, you are miles ahead of most of us!

A Moodscope user.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 6:58am

Have gone deaf, with blocked sinuses, so a bit difficult to " treasure relationships "
All I can say is THANK GOODNESS for my relationship with my computer, and
my Moodscope buddy...bless her...

curious212000 Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 8:16am

I endorse the above Moodscope has kept myself on the straight and narrow path of life at good and bad times.

Helen Brown Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 8:29am

Thank you Beth, I really agree with you...It sounds so simple but so many people struggle with these three fundamental things. They are the main themes I work on with clients in my counselling practice...starting with self acceptance. :-)

Anonymous Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 8:39am

I appear to be happy almost always. Folk are greeted with smiles and laughter, and I am solicitous about their comfort and well-being. Making sure others are happy is helping me to be genuinely happier.
I decided that being miserable was affecting those around me too much. So now no-one other than Moodscope knows how I am really feeling.
And how I'm really feeling? I just want to die. Now.

Anonymous Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 9:18am

Absolutely, nurture your relationships, so something you love, love and respect yourself. These things really bring value to our lives. But sometimes I feel that the 'solutions' proposed are over-simplistic, like these are easy things to achieve and totally under our control. Like somehow suffering is always to be seen as a bad thing. I think It's dangerous to think you can feel happy all the time.That's not realistic, nor, I would argue, desirable. As human beings we feel the whole range of emotions and sometimes life throws things at us that we cannot help but feel sad / angry etc. And that's ok. Find ways of soothing yourself at these times, connect with others who are understanding if you can, find a shoulder to cry on, be kind to yourself. .

avi275 Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 9:31am

I love this article and this last comment. there is huge pain in growth. and gratitude starts from the smallest things. peace and love.

Anonymous Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 10:11am

Can you find someone you CAN open up to, be honest with about how you're feeling? A friend, or perhaps even the Samaritans? Or go to your doctor and try to get some counselling? And treat yourself with kindness, as you would a good friend who is down like you are now. I wish you luck, all the best.

Jojo Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 10:45am

Well done Beth this article

Julia Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 11:43am

"Being yourself" is the most difficult for me. I do need constant reminders about this so thank you Beth.

Liz_lowlife Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 12:39pm

I have just written my own blog on this subject before seeing this!
I'm happy.
It took me a long time to accept it and work out why, since I'm poor, my OH is unemployed and I have M.E. and a demanding job that is too much for me really (but we need to earn money!).
But it's basically this- I invested long-term in my friends since I was old enough to make them. I spent decades being a good friend to the lot of them as they went through various woes...and so finally, when it was my turn to lose my health, my job and my long term relationship in a short few months, they were there for me for the four years it took to get myself back together again.
Friends are the key to happiness, be you bed-bound and socially awkward, poor, or anything else...friends are the key that unlocks everything else that fulfils one life.

I really liked today's article. :)

Liz_lowlife Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 12:45pm

PLease talk to someone you think you might trust.
You deserve not to feel this way and people can be ASTOUNDING if they know that you need a kind a ear. XXX

Anonymous Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 2:00pm

If I am thinking about happiness or considering how to achieve it, or wondering whether I have it, I am not living in the minute and cannot at that point be happy. Happiness is when the day ends and you are aware of good feelings rather than bad and have not experienced anything traumatic, or you cannot recall a great deal from the day, for it has come and gone and gone in a positive way. That is happiness. We spend too much time thinking about it rather than living.

Anonymous Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 2:10pm

Thank you Beth for a thought provoking message.I thought maybe we can look at it in a wider context.Martin Seligman who I think pioneered the school of positive psychology came up with this equation after doing the research to define happiness:H=S+C+V where H stands for happiness,C stands for conditions and V stands for Voluntary.The set point is largely inherited and we are either "cortical lefties" or"righties" -the latter being more prone to unhappiness and depression while the lefties generally tend to be optimistic and happier.. The logical brain is in the right and is terrible at solving problems like depression.Its efforts are useful when computing how to get from A to B but in depression the computing only makes B go farther and farther..Our conditions also may be difficult to change things like gender, ethnicity,poverty and life events.It is the V factor which we CAN change or influence the most like making friendships,being loving and being ourselves.But there are other things too.Any voluntary activity eg going for a walk,gardening ,hobbies things that give one pleasure will boost the V.Volunteering to help others gives a bigger boost to the giver than the receiver.The V accounts for almost 40% of the equation We can become "cortical leftes" so that we operate at the upper limit of our set range by doing meditation now proven time and again by funtional magnetic resonance studies(fMRI).Meditation(it apparantly does not much matter which variety) also gives access to another kind of happiness different from the emotion of happiness.It kind of creates a space in the mind so that happiness and sadness(we cannot have one without the other ) come and go but they are perceived in a different way and lose their sting.For me this has kept out of depression after my first episode.Try it.It will make a bigger difference than you can possibly imagine.

Steve Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 3:56pm

I agree with the person above. I couldn't tell you if I am happy from moment to moment. I don't have time or inclination to constantly audit my state of mind .
However when think back to various points in time, I realise I was happy.
Happiness seems to coincide with total absorption in what ever I am doing in which case I would never be able to appreciate that I was happy or not.

Anonymous Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 4:55pm

Thank you for your suggestions....I think we both know that if it were possible for me to do any of those things, I would have done them by now and so I will continue as I have been doing and coping as well as I can with the occasional outburst on Moodscope as my pressure release valve.

Julia Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 5:45pm

I think this is why I find it so difficult to be myself at all times as most days I don't feel good and so pretend to be happy; what Anonymous 8.39am said is true, not many people can stand to be with a miserable negative person for long and I know I bring people down if I am low. So I guess most of my friends and acquaintances think I am quite a cheerful soul. I do laugh at myself sometimes which helps, ie I am sarcastic about my not so cheery self and have one friend with whom I exchange funny emails, saying "Hey I'm on top of the world today, onwards and upwards, happy days etc". I feel true to myself then. I think having to make the effort to be cheerful all the time can be so exhausting however that it can backfire as I can get too too tired. I find Moodscope (posting, my buddy plus one other person I email having met her through moodscope) invaluable for allowing me the opportunity to say it like it is, to moan, express myself badly and generally be me.

Quacko Sun, Jan 19th 2014 @ 2:55pm

This was a great thing to read a few days past its immediate post- I am reading this and comments on Sunday morning. I am not sure what defines happiness. I think one thing that I have gone though for many years is that trying to make people ( mainly my mentally ill ex husband) happy. For a variety of reasons, I have not been happy for a long time. I have been much better about mindfulness in the last few years- but many of us deal with damage at the hands of others. This does not mean victmhood for our whole lives, but it creates a sense of sadness and caution about relationships and how we approach them. I am working very hard on "happiness" but also know at the age of 60 that we need to be learn to not give our lives away and to take good care of ourselves. There is so much more help and support about mental health and the impact our own and the relationship with others that are abusive to us can limit our pursuit of happiness. The fact that we are right here talking right now is an excellent example of this.

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