I think happiness for every person is self-defined and should be that way and not infringed upon– assuming the individual doesn’t infringe on the well-being of society (e.g. theft, for example would be an BAD example of a happy drug.) I think I need to constantly remind myself that happiness is self-chosen and a state of mind that is self-decided. Yes, I do have a habit of automating my happiness to the situation and the people around me. However, if I am conscious and decide to be happy or to be emotion XyZ I can decide that. That is why it is psychology and not mechanical engineering. Human emotions are, well, irrational, and therefore flexible and changeable. It’s all in your head– to a certain extent. Reasons that things you do and (gasp) eat(!) can change that:
1) link between gut and mind. e.g. eating yogurt makes you more able to deal with stress. Hooray for yogurt and all its live cultures! actionable step– eating yogurt. Also a side note to self, eating less processed sugars seems to decrease my inflammation. Well at least the inverse is true. If I eat lots of sugar, I experience inflammation (sores, increased risk of getting a cold, toothaches). Logic 🙂 I’m guessing eating lots of sugar –> lots of ROS (reactive oxidative stress) –> aging and probably other stress related processes are turned on. Also my science geek is turned on, did you know that humans share some of the same immune response genes as plants? Sometimes I get crabby about biology, but it is oh-so-fascinating.
2) daily improvements = changes & habits: I am a procrastinator. However, recent evidence suggests that people are fluid and your idea of identity can change with your actions. For example if I start not procrastinating and doing things then I’m technically no longer a procrastinator. Therefore other forms of (negative) type identities can change too. At work, I met a (formerly) shy individual. It’s hard to believe because the person exudes no sense of shyness. WHatsover. This new job, if anything, opens my mind to the possibility that people change if they do steps to change. And so with respect to Christianity, it’s amazing that Christ lets us become new people and forgives. So it’s off to a new start. I’m going to be a new person and I’m going to be more lenient of others and let them form new identities whatever their old counterparts might have called them. What a relief. Also, from a psychological POV, our actions are linked to our habits and therefore identities. I personally think it’s not a chicken-egg deal (behavior, genetics, and environment) but a more of a interactive handball deal. That is, whatever I do my ego-subliminal self has to justify “oh, why that is me and that is why I did it. etc. etc.” Then that influences my future steps. Works for both the good and bad.
3) Gratefulness: (Also side note, I am so grateful for modern hygiene. For example maybe 200 years ago, people didn’t regularly take baths. The number is VERY approximate (actually I made it up), but seriously, if I have something to be grateful everyday that’s taking a bath. Gratefulness is akin to less complaining and smiling all make me happy. Actionable step: smiling and less complaining.
Therefore, I’m deciding everyday to be happy and I’m going to be happier by eating yogurt, eating fewer processed foods, being grateful, smiling more, complain less, and strive to do better, forgive others, and help the people become the people that they want to become/see themselves becoming. See, happiness is a personal decision!