Part of creating a good mood is to look at the world with a "glass half-full" attitude, appreciating what you do have instead of focusing on what you don't. Feeling resentful? Let go of that feeling by paying attention to all the things you're grateful for. Research shows that expressing gratitude actually lessens depressive symptoms and increases the level of happiness. As Marci Shimoff, author of Happy for No Reason, writes, "People who are happy for no reason don't necessarily have more in their lives to be grateful for; they simply focus more often on gratitude throughout their day. The difference is where they choose to put their attention." She continues, "It's easy to take things for granted. How much time during the day do you actually focus on gratitude compared to the time you spend thinking about the problems in your life? We act as if gratitude and appreciation are our good china and our fancy tablecloth, and bring them out only on really special occasions."
Of course, we all face legitimate roadblocks to our happiness. We all have behaviors or even genes that have been passed down that we don't want in our lives and in our marriages. But if we can identify them, we can begin to work with them or around them, instead of letting them control our lives.
We don't mean to suggest that you should start running around like a cult-inductee with a fake smile plastered on your face. None of us is happy constantly, and emotions change much more quickly than some of us might think. As Dan Baker, author of What Happy People Know, says, "We know, for example, that women appear to vacillate from happiness to sadness far more quickly than men. When it comes to raising children, women say that it's both more difficult and more rewarding than they could have ever imagined. In fact, women experience more of all emotions except anger, and while they experience 2–4 times more depression than men, they also report more positive emotions more frequently and more intensely."
Published on March 11, 2009