Thursday, May 3, 2012
40 Pieces of the Happiness Puzzle - Part 6
Being happy is a state of being most of us want to experience, though not everyone is skilled at reaching and prolonging this state. There are a range of ways to experience feelings of happiness, with certain methods being better for some then others.
This is the 6th post in a series of 40 on the techniques you can employ to experience and prolong the feeling of happiness. The first post was on Sensory Hedonism, followed by Achievable Challenges, Serving Others, Expertise, and Fake it Till You Make it.
#6: Stay Busy
Having too much time on our hands can lead to feelings of boredom, anxiety, and depression. It can be difficult to "live in the moment" when we're not actively present in one. Staying busy can make you feel alive again, give you a sense of purpose, and keep you focused on a task like blowing out flames (see above photo).
If you are experiencing feelings of unhappiness, whether prolonged or one of those passing fancies, get up and do something. Don't give yourself time to feel unhappy. If you're stuck at home, do some mindless chores. This activity keeps you physically moving, which is one of the quickest ways to produce serotonin (the brain's "happiness chemical"). Movement serves as an anti-depressant, increasing your sense of self-mastery, minimizing physical tension, and make your home sparkly clean.
Taking up a hobby (like blogging), joining a club or tennis team, or helping your kids with their homework can help keep the voices at bay. In fact, it can shut them up! Keeping active gives you a chance to tell your mind and body a story through your actions and accompanying internal dialogue. The voices in your head have no other option than to listen and learn.
If you prefer to keep busy outside the home, travel, see the world, visit new towns and cities far and near. Traveling is one of the greatest escapes. When you're away from home, you tend to go on more walks, soak up nature, and more closely observe your surroundings and other people.
Keeping busy is a very common approach to achieving sustainable happiness. However, like anything, there's a point when keeping "too busy" is unhealthy.
Of course, we all know someone who just likes doing things and can't sit still. These people are exhausting to be around. They fidget and twitch and come up with every excuse in the world to get up and do something or fix something if they have to sit still.
Don't worry - we medicate them!
Actually, I was one of those kids. Fortunately, I grew up in the days before Ritalin. When I was growing up, my family made use of my extra energie. They put me to work around the house, gave me never-ending to-do lists, and signed me up for sports.
As a result.... I'm fit, my work is done on time, my house is clean, the pets are taken care of, my kids are happy and active, and I have time for a hobby (this blog). Not bad for someone who's cheerfully managed unmedicated ADHD their entire life, right?
Some people just resonate at higher frequencies.
Most of us are happy until someone slows us down.
If, however, you came into this world with a slightly lower resonating vibration, you're probably looking for ways to speed up your output and keep the sluggish feelings at bay. In this respect, staying busy is a godsend. It can get you out of those funks and introduce you the beauty of an organized life. My garage is a formidable contender in the male world of Mancaves, earning me much respect when workers some to our home.
Whenever my dad gets in my mom's way, she sends him out to the garage. I think this might be how mancaves started.
From the beginning of time, women have sent men, who have an abundance of physical energy, out of the nest to hunt, run, and blow off steam. This is one of the reasons why boys suffer in western educational systems. Schools were designed for little girls, most of whom can sit still for extended periods of time, to learn how to read the Bible and sign their names on legal documents.
Keeping busy might not always lead to great happiness, but it can ward off boredom and distract you from less happy thoughts. If channeled properly, it can lead to increased success in many areas of your life that might otherwise be neglected.