Monday, May 31, 2010

Can Happy People Be Trusted?

Much has been made about the pursuit of happiness yet it would seem that if you looked around, grumpy seems to be à la mode

Who was the last Prime Minister that actually looked happy? Harper has his smile attached with a staple gun and Paul Martin has that sweet old uncle smile; more hapless than happy.

Here, on the erratic streets of Montreal, people robotically stare straight ahead while dodging cyclists and construction sites.  The happiest seem to be those very smiley panhandlers who pop unexpectedly out of doorways like demented Cirque du Soleil clowns.

People instinctively know that if you don’t want to be approached, you don’t smile.  A smile implies an invitation to approach or to ask a question. That’s why leaders don’t flash their pearly whites unless they're getting their photo taken holding a baby; why customs officials don’t greet you at the border with a "Wassuup?"


What do all the great cities in the world have in common - London, New York and certainly Paris; their reputation for very cranky people!

Like everything else, I believe that happiness (or cheerfulness) is best indulged in with moderation.  Smile too much and you're dismissed as simple or of needing to adjust your medication dosage.

In a related article in The New Scientist, Jessica Hamzelou writes:
"Happiness ain't what it's Cracked up to Be."
In it, she quotes Robert Cummins, editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies as saying:
"It is so very refreshing to hear an alternative to the view that happy is good, and more is better" 

"High levels of happiness generate openness to new experiences and gregariousness, but they also generate a lack of attention to detailed information and recklessness."

Hmmm, so now I know why Dr. House is such a brilliant diagnostician; he's miserable! 

by Sarah McColl

Reach out:  (and touch somebody's hand - a little Miss Ross reference there)

Be thankful:  "When you adjust your perspective to be grateful for all that you have rather than bemoan all you don't, you start living in the positives and the results are immediate."

Live your passions:  (Find something that charges your batteries and run with it like the Everready Bunny.)

Make do:  "Instead of turning to shopping malls to buy the things we hope will suddenly make our lives happier and complete...make the most of what you already have."

Enjoy the simple pleasures:  "The best things in life...often aren't things and they're usually free."

Then there's a secret society just for you: The Secret Society of Happy People

Their motto is:
If you're happy and you know it...tell somebody!
If someone else is happy and they know it...listen!

Being happy is not about being a laugh riot all the time.  It's about balance; about finding an equilibrium between things that challenge us and those that comfort us.  

And I'm serious about that!

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