I want to take a moment to discuss how to become happy, but to do so, I want to first discuss being miserably unhappy.
I wonder if you would try a little something with me? I want you to pretend for a moment that (for whatever bizarre reason) you are trying to become as unhappy as possible, okay? Imagine that you want to be the most miserable person you could possibly be. What would you do to achieve this goal?
You might start by surrounding yourself with negative people who insult you all the time. Find people who are mean to you and don’t treat you well. Truly, find the people who belittle you, judge you and insult you. Find the people who you feel drained after spending time with, the ones who knock you down more times than they ever lift you up.
Then, you might stop doing all the things that make you happy. Find a job that makes you mind-numbly bored (make sure it’s one that’s filled with negative co-workers) and spend as much time with there as you can. In your spare time, you might try sitting at home as much as possible, staring blankly at a computer or TV screen.
If you’re trying to be unhappy, you might stop returning your friend’s calls and avoiding all social events. Tell yourself that you won’t have fun and your friends probably don’t want you there anyways.
You should probably start eating unhealthy foods and stop moving your body in any way, barely dragging yourself from the bedroom to the kitchen. Try to stay indoors as much as possible; fresh air is your new worst enemy.
I might also suggest sleeping in a really inconsistent manner. Try switching between going to bed late and waking up early to sleeping in as late as possible and having naps throughout the day. Making yourself as tired as possible would likely help you be as miserable as possible.
Lastly, to achieve our goal, it would probably help to focus on as many of the negative things as possible. Whenever something good happens, discount it as a rarity, but focus on all the unfortunate things that happen in a day and notice just how many there are! Don’t limit yourself to truly negative things that happen, but do your best to find small examples that prove that the world is a horrible place. For example, that car that cut you off in traffic or how long the barista took to make your drink are great things to focus on as much as possible. Try dwelling on these thoughts and remembering them multiple times throughout the day.
If you did all these different things, I feel safe in saying that even the happiest of people would start becoming unhappy. Their life would change from something they love to something that they hate; they would wake up unhappy and go to sleep unhappy.
So if we’re trying to achieve happiness, wouldn’t it make sense to do the opposite of this?
Wouldn’t we surround ourselves with the people who love us and treat us well and spend as much time with them as we could? Wouldn’t we find a job that inspires us and has us excited to get out of bed every day? Shouldn’t our job be one that has us surrounded by amazing people who lift us up instead of bringing us down?
If our goal is happiness, shouldn’t we take care of ourselves by eating right, exercising, and sleeping well? Wouldn’t we focus all of our energy on looking for all the good in the world and try not to focus on the negative things that we can’t control?
If we can so easily agree on the recipe to unhappiness, then we should be able to agree on the recipe for happiness, and if your goal is to become happy and you aren’t willing to give our recipe a try, maybe it’s time to look a little deeper and figure out why that is.