We feel the way we act. This is a paraphrase from self help writer Gretchen Rubin.
Both ideas are logical:
We act the way the feel. (obvious, duh!)
We feel the way we act. (not so obvious, but just as true.)
Conclusion: It’s all about action. Action controls mood. A fake laugh soon turns into a real laugh. A frown soon turns into a sour mood. Act happy. “Oh but I’m not happy! I can’t act happy when I’m not happy.” Right, the “brake” that prevents good-for-you acts, is real. It takes happiness to makes happiness. Just like it takes money to make money. No happiness to start out with no acts that make you happy as you go on. Do it anyway! As far as I see, just do it! “Oh, but I don’t want to go out!” Do it anyway! “Oh but I don’t want to jog” Do it anyway! “Oh, but I don’t want to shop.” Do it anyway! “Oh but I don’t want to smile.” Do it anyway! We feel well when when act well, or when we act period.
On another note, for those of you who know that I am self published author [amazon page], I’d like to let you know that my new episode of my Simpsons fanfiction series is coming out soon, next week. The next episode, episode 3 is called The Simpsons: Homer Disappears. It is a mystery. Check it out soon, I’m sure you will like it.
Today I have the flu. No fun, right? Right! I feel pretty much miserable. My body is aching, weak, I am cold and I have a slight fever, my throat hurts, I have a headache… you know exactly what I am talking about; because we all get the flu every so often. I have spent most of the day indoors, moping around the house, getting bored usually laying down, and quietly suffering, aware that there is not a lot to do on a day like this. However, when lunch time arrived I decided to get up and cook something. After all, even when you are sick, you need food…
And so I went into my kitchen, even though I did not want to, and got the process going. I was going to fry up some vegetables. So I opened my refrigerator, and got out the tomatoes, a green bell pepper, and mushrooms. I washed them each at a time, and then I put them on the chopping block. I got out my knife and slowly but surely I began to dice each of them. Then I got out a large frying pan, threw in some oil, and the peppers, then the diced mushrooms, and towards the end the diced tomatoes. For about twenty minutes I stood over the stove and stirred my dish until it was all nice and done and smelled really good.
So you may be saying? George, what in the world is your point? Please, enlighten us. OK, here we go, my point is simple, when I was cooking, I completely forgot about my flu! Although I did not exactly feel like a million bucks, I felt much better than before. By keeping busy and occupied with a light, but meaningful activity, you could in a way say I “overcame” the flu at least for the time being. It’s true what they say, you forget your troubles when do something fun. Don’t forget that next time you’re sick.
We are all told that meditation is a good thing. According to the consensus it calms you down and makes you relax and feel good. But is this really true? Moreover, what’s the catch? Meditation can be quite boring. I know because I have done it! Is it worth enduring 20 to 25 minutes of keeping your eyes closed, sitting still and doing nothing but “being alone with your thoughts”? No, it really isn’t. It’s very hard to do. It is worth only for its own sake so that you can proudly proclaim “Wow I did something hard!” like the marathoner who keeps running on and on and on, just to see how far he can keep running. But endurance and perseverance come with a reward. It is usually only after you have “worked your butt off” that you start to feel real results. Back to meditation … I don’t advise it to anyone reading this. BUT, I do sometimes practice a short form of meditation. I have a meditation logue, and I have a timer. I sit at my desk, make as if I am praying, and begin to meditate. My goal is simple: “How do I feel?” And I write down my mood at the moment: bored/tired/happy/depressed/anxious … so on and so forth. I always stop at 5 minutes. However, I find that going to a coffee shop and being around other people is also a mood booster and has the same effects as meditation. In fact I would say, being in a nice setting in a room full of like minded people, makes you feel much better. So go out and have yourself a nice cup of joe today!
It is noble to face your fears. If you aren’t facing your fears each and every day of your life, then what are you doing with yourself?
It is easy to be a happy kid. The point is to be a happy adult.
A light that shines twice as bright lasts half as long. (folk)
Work will save your soul.
Know who you are.
Lessons are earned, not learned.
You win when you try. You lose when you don’t.
Recently I came across a play where one character had been adopted and he asked another character, who knew his origins, “Can you tell me who I am?” and I thought, “Now there’s an interesting sentiment! How can someone possibly know you better than you who you are?” I mean to ask another who you are! Isn’t that the greatest irony of all. Shouldn’t you know who you are better than anybody else? But at the same time I was struck by the thought that one knows himself only in relation to others. It is through communication with others that we are able to discover our own selves. Each person is a mirror and they reflect an image of yourself to you. Conversely you act as a mirror and show them an image of their selves. Depending on mood, this image is interpreted in a specific way and bounced back accordingly.
Others tell us who we are. Not only in words, but in glances, facial expressions, and gestures. Thank God for others! Can you imagine living in a deserted island without any other people? You would not be able to know who you are! Well, in that case I suppose you could always resort to meditation, or “self-reflection.” As most people, I personally prefer both, the company and good conversation of other people, and sometimes I like being quiet and reflective. The ancients had a proverb, “know thyself.” True indeed, I believe the best kind of knowledge is not that of science or mathematics, but it is the knowledge of your identity, your personality, your self.
What makes for a good life? Well, I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that a well rounded life is better than a life “out of balance.” For example, all work and no play is bad. Likewise all play and no work is not the ideal life. So, as I see it, when it comes to living well, it is better to put each of your eggs in different baskets rather than all of your eggs in one basket. Some of each thing is better than all of just one thing. Here is a list I came up of things that I value and I believe should go into making a good life.
You need some fun and excitement in your life.
You need some love in your life.
You need some friendship in your life.
You need some stability and routine in your life.
You need some rest in your life.
You need some work in your life.
You need some hobbies and entertainment in your life.
You need some challenge and growth in your life.
Did I forget anything? I am sure this is not a comprehensive list of the features of a good, well rounded life. But it is a start. I encourage you to come up with some things that are important to you that you want to incorporate in your life. Share them in the comments.
“Happiness is an imagination. Boredom is a reality.” (G Shetuni.) Let us examine this saying a little bit. For example, right now, here where I live, in Columbus, OH: here is the current reality, it is an ugly, cloudy, dreary, cold winter’s day. So that’s what can be literally seen if you look out the window. There is no show out there. It’s a rather dull reality! Reality is dull … isn’t it? But if you are happy you “imagine” a more pleasing reality … one that does not literally exist. Because, as we said, there is no show outside your window. But there may be a show in your eyes; the show that you are imagining when you look at the same dull scene. And this imagination is being produced by happiness. Happiness is when the mind is being creative and is able to see things that aren’t there.
For example, here are two scenarios of the same reality.
The depressed reality: Oh, it’s dinner time. The table is black. The food tastes bad. How can you be happy doing this?
The happy reality: Oh, it’s dinner time, I remember that one time having dinner with so and so … oh my God, that was so funny! (and your eyes see something that the depressed/unhappy person cannot catch because it does not literally exist. Happiness is an imagination.)