I was talking with a friend the other day and the conversation turned to the four basic categories of emotions — angry, sad, scared, and happy.
It was a depressing thought to realize that three of the four are negative emotions. Our brains are, apparently, pre-disposed to the grim.
I’m one of those people who likes to learn more about stuff, particularly stuff that I find unsettling. When I Googled the four basic emotions, I found a fair amount of information on those negative feelings, which boiled down to the simple summary below.
Anger includes the feeling of being mad, frustration, and rage.
Sadness includes grief, depression, despair, and loneliness.
Scared includes apprehension, anxiety, fear, terror, and panic.
I believe most of us know when we’re experiencing any of the emotions above. We know when we’re mired in the muck of the negative. If 75% of our feelings are down, the odds are good that we spend a fair amount of time in that muck.
But here’s what I wonder…
Do we have to stay stuck in pessimism and negativity? Must we spend a good chunk of our time there?
Man, I hope not.
According to my Google research (i.e. the five minutes I spent looking stuff up), happiness is more subjective. It includes satisfaction, contentment, pleasure, delight, elation, bliss, and ecstasy.
I’m a glass half-full kind of girl. My internal dialogue is typically positive and upbeat. I’m frequently able to find the silver lining in even the darkest situations.
I’m grateful for that gift. It wasn’t always one I possessed.
Life is rough at times. Feeling lonely, or anxious, or frustrated is part of our daily existence. It’s normal. And normal is okay.
But I, for one, don’t want to accept normal. If I do, I don’t know that I’d be able to write. I don’t write, well or at all, when I’m feeling blue.
The funny thing about the conversation with my friend, and my subsequent research, is that it made me determined to maximize my happiness.
Writing, reading, spending time with friends, playing with the cat, sitting on my balcony on a sunny day. These are just a few things I can include on my day’s agenda so, when I tuck myself into bed at night, I can thank God and say “today was a happy day.”
And now I have a song stuck in my head…crap…
What are you doing to maximize the happy?