Monday, October 03, 2011

Happy people are optimistic

Sonja Lyubomirsky is a psychology professor at the University of California, as well as a research psychologist. In her studies, she has discovered 12 things that happy people have in common.

I am happy. Even when I'm feeling crappy, I am a happy person. People are forever asking me how I reached this place. It wasn't because I prayed enough, or took a magic pill, or held my mouth just right while dancing on one foot, or was just born happy (um ... NO ... you can ask my mom about that first year). Yet, I have discovered that self disciplines, even the ones which result in fun, have radically changed my life. These are things I learned through my own therapy and medicinal treatment for depression and anxiety. If you realize the concepts in this series are simply not enough, seek help. Insist on it. Find your own personal level of healing, which is different for everyone. Sometimes I speak "happy" with an accent, because I still dance with depression and anxiety - and that is okay.

I thought I'd focus my Mondays on each of the 12 common factors. It makes sense, because Mondays can totally slurp on the happiness meter.


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I am a "bra half full" kind of gal. I can get really discouraged at times, but I simply cannot ignore how my time on this planet has shown me things do turn around, life changes and the sun always comes up over and over again.

Life is second chances, and that helps me to be optimistic.

Optimism doesn't mean I'm naive. It does not mean that I think I'm above pain and misery. It is not a way to avoid facing reality.

Optimism is an attitude.

It means that even when things SUCK, I believe I can learn from them. This takes a negative and turns it into a positive ... eventually. The negative still gets to be negative, but it does not get to own what can grow out of the middle of it.

It means that when all of the possibilities are not great, I can still seek and find the best solution among the not-great choices. There is a time to grieve. Heavily. There is a time to cry until you literally cannot cry anymore. Feelings should be felt, acknowledged and expressed. Optimism would never dare to ignore the value of pain. It's not going anywhere. It waits its turn.

I believe there is always a way through - whatever. Sometimes I push through and get the outcome I'm hoping for. Other times it means that I am the point of change, and my expectations are not where they need to be.

Optimism does not blind me to my responsibility, my part of the work, my piece of the puzzle. It tells me that I am capable of very much, and when I find I have reached a limit, I am capable of change, or reorganization, or stepping back and reevaluating.

Optimism means that nothing will crush me beyond repair. It says that I am good and I deserve good things. I deserve healing. I deserve to move forward. I deserve joy and peace and fun.

Dang it!

2 comments:

Lisa G. (Happy Mama) said...

Yes yes yes! Looking forward to your series /)

Kelley said...

I can't wait to hug your neck! I sent this to my daughter - she really needs to read it. Thanks for always saying the right thing for someone. Love you!