Sunday, February 5, 2012

What I have learned

I finished the happiness survey this week. The results are rather hilarious, though provocative. For instance according to the samples taken during the last 3 weeks, I'm happiest when sitting at the Matchbox bar. Ha! Though I enjoy my sojourns to the Matchbox, there's no way I'm happiest there. I had been drinking when the survey text arrived, so I was not as measured in my responses to the questions. I'm sure I pushed the slider all the way to VERY GOOD when asked how I was feeling.

Where am I happiest? I've been asking myself. Happiness for me is not connected to location, not even in the chateau or at the Matchbox bar. By "happy" I'm now thinking of being in the flow of the moment, undistracted, and minus the almost constant, low-level self-scolding I discovered is a part of my mind's ongoing monologue. OK, in order, I am happiest when:

1. Praying. I am not always happy to meditate, but I'm always happy while praying.
2. In conversation with someone I love.
3. Writing
4. Walking around in this beautiful city
5. Cooking
6. Working
7. In the shower. Hot water brings everything into balance: body, mind and spirit.
8. Futzing with pics in photoshop
9. Cleaning house
10. Dancing

The things that interfere with my happiness mostly have to do with being in physical pain of any kind, or when I have not been able to sleep well or have not eaten the right food. If I eat well, I am happy, if I eat poorly, I am queasy and when I'm queasy, it's hard to be happy. Same goes for times when I'm tired, sleepy, or have been sitting around too long. The bit about being what I eat is key to understanding how miserable I was growing up. That was during the 50s and early 60s so you can only imagine what I was eating. My stomach hurt all the time. No wonder!

"Boosts Personality." Whoa. Google 50s food ads. Scary!

The jewel of wisdom from this experience is pretty simple. If I'm not feeling happy, rather than sitting around self-analyzing, something that doesn't help as much as I think it should, I need to pray, then get off my ass and do something physical. If I can self express in some way, such as cooking or writing, or engaging in conversation with someone I love, my world of unhappiness can be turned around, just like that. Snap! It's a great lesson. Thanks, Harvard Happiness Survey!

Happiest Sunday, y'all. Shalom.


Steve Reed said...

It's so great that the survey helped lead you to some conclusions about your own happiness, even if they're not entirely new to you. I always find that getting out and getting busy, for me, is key to staying happy.

That cola ad is unbelievable! Holy cow!

Reya Mellicker said...

It really is. Good lord!!

It occurred to me just now that numbers 2-10 are almost the same thing as praying. Hmmm.

Silver Fox said...

What a great idea...happiness survey! light and deep post all at the same time. Now maybe that's a good description for happiness too! :o) xxx

steven said...

wow reya that's such a good happy-making list. it parallels my own pretty exactly with a couple of add-ons i would make to my own list . . . . . i love the cola ad. i mean they had it alllll figured out huh!!!!! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah. Start your children drinking sugary carbonated soda as soon as possible!

Susan said...

Once again, your writing hit home. I know the activities and people that fill me with energy - and fear keeps me from moving in that direction. I'm on vacation this week and hoping to sort some of this out to get past the fear and make some changes! I stood on the beach at sunrise this morning, weeping and asking God to help. Thanks for your blog.

Reya Mellicker said...

Weeping and asking God to help is EXCELLENT. It opens a space for something to come in that you have not been able to contemplate, a new idea, perspective. Also asking God to help cultivates self compassion. God loves us, truly and deeply. When I touch that truth, I'm more likely to give myself some slack.

Reya Mellicker said...

My favorite thing on the cola ad is the promise that drinking sugary carbonated soda from infancy will "boost personality."


X said...

After I have eaten now I take digestive enzymes or betaine. If I don't have them I buy some fresh pineapple, it's enzymes help digestion. Needless to say coke for breakfast would be a digestive disaster for me..although if I remember correctly in my college years I would drink it the next morning to help hangovers, with greasy salty food.
Oh youth :)

Jo said...

I love your list of happy-inducing activities, Reya. I think mine would vary daily in ranking. I'm fickle that way!

I know exactly what you mean about not being happy when queasy. When my tummy is "off" I can think of nothing else. That feeling is instrumental in keeping me away from the things that make me feel bloated, queasy, and "off."

COLA is the main culprit! Tsk. What were they thinking???

Reya Mellicker said...

"Laboratory studies" yielded this alarming data. What labs, I wonder - the Soda Pop Association labs? Hmmmm

Amy said...

Love the soda ad! Almost as good as butter being it's own food group.