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Perhaps I should ramble. Yes.

Lately my posts have been mostly businesslike little reports and book squees, and I haven't been writing about myself, really, and I think LiveJournal is beaming warnings directly into my brain: "Journal imbalance alert! Lack of angst detected! May result in declining readership due to schadenfreude deficiency!"

Well, sorry, folks--if it's angst and drama you're looking for, lately I haven't had much to throw around. I'm not a chronic complainer, and I don't want to be. That brings me back to the whole Tigger v. Eeyore thing, and why it's a distinction I believe in:

1. Complaining is actually unhealthy.

I can't remember where I read this study (although I'm tempted to say it was in a book called something like An Owner's Manual for the Brain, which is a fascinating book that I'm much too lazy to walk over and pull off of my shelf this morning), but people who listed their grievances daily ended up feeling worse and making worse health choices than people who didn't, such as getting less exercise and eating things that weren't good for them, and so on. I truly believe in unloading one's worries once in a while, because holding everything in is no good for you either, but griping, complaining, and moaning on a regular basis--especially when you're not changing things you could change about a situation, but putting all of the energy into the complaining--drags you down, and also drags down the people around you who have to listen to it all the time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This message is not, not, not directed at anyone in particular. This is my own philosophy of life I'm talking about here, and if it's making you wonder if I'm talking about you, I'm sorry, but honestly, I'm not.

2. On the flip side of that, listing things you're grateful for is healthy, and it makes you feel better.

In the same study, the people who didn't list complaints daily became healthier and happier than those who did, and the ones who felt the best of all were the ones who wrote daily gratitude lists. The listing of the gratitude actually caused them to take better care of themselves. I think that's AWESOME. Again, if something bad is happening and you need to talk it through, you should. But I think that even in the midst of bad things, taking the time to focus on the good things, even tiny little ones, on a regular basis, is a magical way to help yourself feel like your life isn't falling entirely apart. Not that I've been particularly able to do that myself during a couple of rough periods in my life, but it's a good habit to get going during the good times, that might stay in place and be helpful during the times when things aren't going so well.

I think that the connection between those ideas and the Tigger and Eeyore dichotomy isn't particularly obscure. Tigger = bouncy, happy, irrepressible, consummately his own self. Eeyore = dour, pensive, easily bothered, and passive-aggressive. Also very much his own self, but the kind of self I tend not to like to spend time with. And I prefer to enjoy spending time with myself.

Lately I haven't had much to complain about, and I've been happily busy with getting my stuff done and looking forward to upcoming events, but if things change my plan is to keep my typing about irritations to the minimum, because I don't want to waste my energy on something that's just going to make me want to eat a dozen doughnuts and wash it all down with a bottle of tequila.

How do you keep yourself happy?

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
ex_maehymn
Mar. 15th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
Working. Working like hell keeps me happy. Every minute I get to spend in the studio is a minute that fights the donuts-n-tequila feelings and when that time pays off, then it's a big injection in the Good Feeling Savings Account. I would also bet that your Days O' Sweat work has helped keep that away--while I find that artistic personalities have a tendency towards the melancholy, it's an easily reversible melancholy with consistent investment in awesome activities.

I definitely write down my complaints, but I always try to make it a constructive, creative activity, so that something good comes from the bad. I'm avoiding complaining just to complain or in the hope that someone else solves my problem--I just want to get some distance on the problem so that I can see it and fix it. I consider it an extension of studio time.

So, to sum up, investing in myself is what keeps me happy. And this is a great entry you've written here! Thanks for the personal update! I love the idea of having an owner's manual for a brain. Although, knowing myself, I'd probably stick it on the same shelf as all the other manuals and never look at it!! :D
nicolle
Mar. 15th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
What keeps me happy is getting out my complaints in my LiveJournal. Ha ha ha ha ha ha... I crack myself up... 8-)
medeine
Mar. 15th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
Realizing that there is ALWAYS something to be happy about keeps me happy...

I don't know that I could ever keep up with daily gratitude lists, but I've tried to make it an ongoing habit to 'shift' my thoughts from negative to positive. Brain re-programming, if you want to call it that.

I vent the negative, but then 'swap' it with something I'm happy about, or grateful for, for the same situation.

Bait and switch on the brain! :D

(Something I learned, in part, from Tony Robbins, a 'self-help' 'self-actualization' guru! I'm not ashamed to admit it - you can learn something from everyone and everything if you're just open to it!)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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