How Happy Are You?
Are you happy? Not right now in this moment, but day-to-day, week-to-week on a scale from one to 10 – with one being miserable and 10 being ecstatic – what number would you use to rate your overall happiness?
I just finished reading The Power of Happiness by Timothy McKinney. The book has triggered my happiness radar so I’m zeroing in on my own level of happiness – or unhappiness – depending on the particular day.
Who am I kidding? Sometimes I wake up and I feel like conquering the day. At other time a series of minor mishaps can get the day off to a bad start before I can get out the door.
Today was one of those days for me. It went something like this:
- I was tired and overslept which means I will have to rush to get to the early morning fitness class I teach on time.
- Overnight, my water bottle leaked all over the clothes I packed in my gym bag for work today. There is no time to put dry clothes in the bag.
- I have less than five minutes to quickly review the core workout on YouTube that I plan to do in class (which starts in 20 minutes and I have a 17 minute drive).
- When I try to open the Safari browser I get the worst news an Internet junkie can get: You are not connected to the Internet.
- My mood is now beyond lousy.
For a while it seemed that the entire day would be a loss. But, since I’ve been reading about my own personal power over happiness, I got myself in check and began to realize that if I decided to let these minor snafus ruin an otherwise perfect day that was my own fault.
There are so many things that can go wrong in a 24-hour period. Being stuck in traffic on the way home from work, a flat tire in the rain on a busy interstate, a vomiting first grader on the day of a career-defining presentation, or a leaky roof that promises to dash any hopes of a vacation get-away again this year. All of these are mood-zappers, but do they have the power to destroy our overall happiness?
The Book Explores Maslow, the AARP, Gretchen Rueben and More
The Power of Happiness examines happiness at several different levels.
Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? It is alive and well and considered much more than just a theory. Maslow says that unless our needs of food, drink and security are met, it’s nearly impossible for us to be happy.
The AARP has been studying happiness. They’ve discovered that “the more control a person feels over his or her destiny, the happier he or she will be.” This explains why people become less content as they advance in age and are forced to rely on other people for help.
What about people whose needs are not only met, but are living in a world of excess? They have fame, wealth, power, beauty, and celebrity status, but yet they aren’t happy. In fact many of them are unhappier than those of us leading mundane, average lives. Why? Because “positive changes in our circumstances cannot be counted on to lead to enduring happiness.”
Is Happiness Within Your Control?
I read The Power of Happiness a month ago and decided to let it settle before writing this review. I wanted to know if the principles and concepts presented in the book would inspire me only while I was digesting them, or linger long enough to bring about behavior change.
What resonated with me the most was the reassertion that it’s within our power to control that negative loop that the brain gets stuck in and leads us down a path to despair. The one that swings into action the minute something goes wrong. At the first sign of imperfection it begins delivering messages like, “Why does this always happen to me?” “I’ll never get ahead.” “Why bother trying?” “I should have known this would never work out.”
Reading this book reinforces the belief that we are each in charge of our own happiness. So, I can say with vigor, if you’re miserable, do something about it!
Since reading the book, I’ve been working everyday to affirm the positive, practice gratefulness, release control, and embrace acceptance just as the book recommends.
To learn more about the human quest for happiness and the principles you can apply to your own life, check out The Power of Happiness at Amazon.com.
Timothy McKinney invited me to read his book and share my thoughts on it. I have received no compensation from Timothy and am not an affiliate of Amazon.com.