I am not expert on emotional well being. But in my almost four decades of living, I have learned a thing or two about happiness. And misery.
I haven't found that the preferred happiness isn't a great mystery that often eludes me. In fact, I have learned a simple equation that usually adds up to more blue skies than gray.
It's a song that has been sung by some of the greatest:
"You've got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. And latch on to the affirmative…"
For example, if you're the sort of person who gravitates toward the negative, tune into nothing but doom and gloom, surrounds yourself with people who thrive on controversy and calamity, chances are you're not the most happy of campers.
I would be willing to bet you have more gray hairs than your happy peers. As for me, I am convinced my younger days of disdain for greater humanity and know-it-all attitude (okay, so I was a little bit gothic) caused a few (of my many) gray hairs - although I will blame a few on genetics.
You are also likely to have frown lines and stress marks permanently etched into your face. Prior to my awakening - that 'ah ha' moment when I finally clued into the fact that I controlled my own lease on life and learned it took more muscles to frown than smile - I was well on my way to digging crevices as deep as the grand canyon into my mug.
Negativity simply is not attractive.
And the hideous nature of negativity is not only thing physically apparent, it begins to seep from your pores. People can smell your 'Negative Nancy' attitude coming from a mile away. You might even notice they start to do an about-face and run the other way at the sight - or smell - of you.
If, on the other hand, you search for the positive, 'shake them haters off' and work to uplift rather than beat down people around you, I am willing to bet you have more good days than bad. Some call it Karma.
Chances are if you see beauty when you look in the mirror - even on bad hair days or when you're sporting a ghastly blemish. You probably also see more beauty in the world around. I am also willing to bet people find you more pleasantly infectious than your emotionally corrosive counterparts.
I will be the first to admit the latter wasn't always my approach, and I still get stuck in a mucky mess of emotional turmoil at times. Funny thing, this seems to usually happen when 'Negative Nancy' attempts to spread her viral viciousness - this happened to me just this week.
Sorry Nancy, but you can keep your gray hairs, frown line and putrid stench to yourself. I prefer to be a positive.
I have personally learned to take a step back and realize all the reasons I deserve to be happy. I have also learned a lot from the words of wise men who have devoted their lives to quest for inner peace - and found it.
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” ? Mahatma Gandhi
Smile. Life is good. It is what you make it. And happiness - and misery - is contagious.
Amanda Kimble is the editor of the Glen Rose Reporter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 897-2282.