Saturday, December 29, 2012

deciding to be happy

pretty happy things inspired by pinterest

yesterday at the end of my blog post, i linked to an article about how it pays to be happy. and how you can simply decide to be happy, you just have to keep at it for 21 days (they say that's what it takes to make something a habit, tho' don't ask me who they are). i think what keeps going through my head is the line about: if you're positive, your brain is 31 percent more productive than it is in a negative state. honestly, i need all the productivity i can get, so i'm thinking it's worth a try to be positive and happy. 

last night, we had some car trouble that totally turned our plans upside down - we thought we'd be spending our evening in a nice restaurant in another country, eating and laughing with friends after laying in 3-4 months' supply of nutella and gin at a well-stocked german grocery store. when we got to the parking lot of the grocery store, our car began acting up (electrical problems), so we decided to high-tail it back to denmark, where our falck membership was valid and we could call a tow truck if necessary. (i ran in for nutella and gin before we departed, don't worry.) 

we called our friends to cancel and decided instead to go to their place (which was in denmark), where we ended up having an impromptu dinner and playing a great board game called ticket to ride (which i promptly ordered from amazon during the game) and laughing and having a great time anyway. we left around midnight and the car seemed ok. but along the highway, it came to a stop and we had to call falck after all. 

during the wait for the tow truck, we were beside the dark highway and cars sped past us. one truck actually honked as if we were in the way. and i found myself getting absolutely furious about the danish mentality of "we gave at the office, you're on your own." yes, it was dark, yes it was rainy and yes, help was on its way, but still, it would have been nice if someone had demonstrated courtesy and a shred of caring about others and stopped to ask if we needed help. i complained on facebook and my friends started piping in with commiserations and offers of help (from seattle!) and ideas (involving flashing my chest) for getting someone to stop. and it made me laugh and i felt a whole lot better. so i guess i feel i had proof that deciding to think it was funny instead of being furious actually worked. happiness won. (even if it was with a bit of help from my friends.)

i think i'm going to give it a whirl as an experiment over the next few weeks, following some of the advice from the article:

~ write down three new things you are grateful for each day
~ spend two minutes a day, writing all the details about a positive experience you've had over the past 24 hours
~ exercise or do something you enjoy for at least ten minutes a day
~ write one quick email, first thing in the morning, thanking or praising someone who's in your social support network

i know, it all sounds a bit new agey, but isn't it worth a try?


Delena said...

Your words brought back a memory of our car trouble in Yuma a few years back. Our truck broke down on the highway between here and nowhere. We were pulling our fifth wheel behind us. Vehicles flew by us like their were on an international raceway. Many of them were trucks and trailers too.
Finally, much to our surprise a fellow on a motorbike stopped to see if he could help. Motorbike riders get such a bad rap many times and it was so nice to prove this to be wrong. We did get going finally with roadside assistance.

Cindy said...

It sounds like a good idea to me, Maybe I'll try it too. Was it Abe Lincoln who said, "Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be" ?
(Maybe he said folks instead of people.)
Great story. You had an adventure. I like to call these experiences adventures, it makes them seem fun, rather than tragic. I hope the car is any easy fix.

will said...

After reading your FB comments - and those of Sandra - I got to recalling the times I've been stuck like that or have had people stop and offer assistance.

Once I was driving and ran into a patch of ice. I immediately lost traction because it was an uphill road and I slid sideways, stopped only by the road's curb. Sitting there I knew it was too icy to jack the car up - but what to do? A few minutes later a car stopped and six huge guys (they were high school wrestlers on their way to a match) asked me if I needed help. I explained the ice, no traction and I couldnt jack the car due to the road angle.

So, six strong guys grabbed hold of my car and lifted the rear section and they held it long enough for me to put chains on the tires.

They laughed, I laughed, we shook hands and we drove our separate ways.

DahnStarr said...

Illistrates why I love having cell phones now. This past summer by daughter's car broke down on a freeway in Utah. Not a single person stopped to ask if she needed help. Thank goodness she was able to call to get towed and to let the family know what was going on.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Julie

I watched the video and really did enjoyed it. I am going to do the experiment and's worth a try.

Have a great day!

Tracy :)

Andi said...

I can tell you that this is a decision I made for myself 10 years ago and I have never regretted it. Not every day is roses, but trying to have a positive outlook certainly goes a long way to make nearly every situation better. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and I will be rooting for you!

Anonymous said...

With the exception of physiological conditions; I truely believe that happiness is all in your mind. If you choose only to see bitterness and anger, you will feel bitter and angry. If you choose to see the positive, the funny, the lightness, you'll feel positive and light.

It's hard though, sometimes it all feels too overwhelming and we have to give ourselves a break every now and then.

I like the suggestions though...tucking them away to mull over in the coming days.

Happy New Year :)