I’m prone to episodes of mild depression. This is especially common throughout February and March, which is probably a function of the cumulative affects of diminished light over the course of our long winters. Damn you, seasonal affective disorder!
Anyway, here are three tips that can help enhance your mood.
1. Surround yourself with people that are happiness enhancers. Happiness begets happiness. Other peoples’ moods tend to rub off on us. If we follow Pareto’s principle and eliminate the 20% of the people in our lives that cause 80% of the unhappiness, we’ll take a major step towards increasing out own happiness. Furthermore, spend more time with the 20% of the people that cause 80% of your happiness. Both of these will pay huge dividends. If you are in a situation where you cannot eliminate that bad 20%, work to actively reduce contact to a bare minimum. Surround yourself with people that make you happy.
2. Avoid the daily news. Most of the time, news sucks. Worse, it is not an accurate gauge of the negativity of the world. For every tragedy or psychopath with body parts in their freezer, there are countless examples of good people doing good things that never makes the headlines. Continually watching negative news stories does little other than give you a negative impression of the world around us. Do we really need to know the current political climate of Libya? Unless we have a vested interest in Libya, probably not. Focus on the things you can control; don’t concern yourself with things that have no bearing on your life. Ignorance is bliss. Actively seek that ignorance.
3. Teach someone something. You don’t have to be a teacher to take advantage of this one. Teaching is the method we use to share our experiences with others, and all of us are inherently good teachers. What skills do you have that could benefit others? Go out and teach them to someone somewhere. This can be as simple as teaching a neighbor how to plant peas, teaching a kid how to throw a knuckle-curve, or signing up to teach folk dancing in a community education program. Passing our knowledge to others is intrinsically rewarding, which leads to a deep sense of fulfillment… and happiness.
What else can each of us do to lead us to happiness? Share your ideas in the comments section!