seahorse

Let's Be Positive

I believe in psychology. It's a science, and it works. One of the things I believe is that whatever you look for and work for most in life is what will come to you. This isn't magical thinking. It's a practical truth. A large part of life is about perspective combined with effort. If you see things in one way, you'll behave/react to everything as if that is so. Thus, eventually making it so--if not a reality for everyone else--definitely for yourself. You miss opportunities because you don't see them. Therefore, for you those opportunities don't functionally exist. I decided that life was tough enough and stuffed with factors I couldn't control. I didn't want to hand over the one thing I could control--my perspective and effort. And that was when I learned that it's dead easy to be unhappy. It's happiness that's difficult. The nice part is, you can make happiness a habit. However, it's a lot like the physics of inertia in space. Once you've applied a great deal of energy in one direction, changing direction is hard. It requires every bit as much energy to stop going that direction and then a bit more to go in the new direction. But once you apply that new force, it does get easy to maintain. That's the theory, anyway.

Ultimately, I see myself as a practical optimist. I'm not into optimism because it's some magical cure all. There is no such thing. I'm into it because...well...I'm not interested in making life worse. Frankly, I don't understand why anyone would want to. (That's a whole other part of psychology.) Anyway, I've been thinking about how difficult it is to find positive things on the internet that don't involve a) animals being cute and b) religion and that makes me sad. The big picture is: the internet has become a dark place. It doesn't have to be. Therefore, I've decided to try to do something about that in my small way. Sooo, have some links.

There's an actual movement within psychology that is studying the science of happiness. Did you know this? I didn't. What Is Positive Psychology, and What Is It Not? Then check out Smiling and Stress. Personally, I've found that using humor to decompress from stressful situations helps me focus on problems. It's one of the reasons Dane and I made it through the bad old days without killing one another. We both use humor in this way. That's probably a big part of what makes us such great partners. Next, this book looks interesting The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice. I like that humility and empathy are a big factor in what they're talking about rather than simply religion. I've seen too many people use religion as a shortcut to morality. In my experience, that isn't how ethical behavior works. It's something you have to internalize. It's something you work at all the time. It isn't a goal that you achieve by accepting mythology as fact and then you're done. Ethics is hard work. Every day. It requires thought and consideration, not blind faith. Historically, blind faith results in extremism and attrocity.

Anyway, enough rambling. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday in whatever way brings you the most joy.
Part of the problem with happiness is making sure we are all talking about the same definition of happiness. Happiness as i understand it to be, a feeling constant joy, is very finite. There are mechanisms that shut it down. I am no MD but feelings of utter joy all the time could reflect a brain imbalance even. Some people call contentment happiness but it is a different creature altogether. Contentment is more doable from where i sit. Some people use happiness and contentment interchangeably but it just causes confusion. And there are even other definitions of happiness out there. I don't mean to limit it to 2 things but it is what i see commonly.

Edited at 2016-02-07 05:02 pm (UTC)
oh, i agree with you. i'm thinking more specifically of contentment, and that is, from what i've read so far, what positive psychology is looking into. joy is sporadic, and should be because, as you say, extended periods of joy are not normal.