This article belongs to In Search of Laughs! column.
Here's my challenge: If you're not happy and want to be so, or if you're happy and want to take steps to remain so, or if you're not sure if you are as happy as you want to be . . . read on. If you're not happy and don't care, stop reading this! These ideas may threaten that miserable attitude you're possessed by now. Go away!
"What we have here is mankind's greatest gift to itself. Step right up folks, youse pays your money, youse takes your chances! Step right up, and see and use the legendary feel-good machine." (If a used car salesman used this tone, we'd all be suspicious. But, approached in a different way, I'd probably buy in. Would you?)
My whole life I've heard echoes of rumors about methods one can employ to feel a little better and (dare I say it? Oh dare, please dare!) How to get happy!
When I was naďve, I thought my parent's "feel-good machine" was scotch whiskey. In the 80's I thought my "feel-good machine" was mari-hootchey! At the World Famous Comedy Store, we watched the cocaine feel-good machine crash and recede. Then, the awful crack pandemic and meth craze descended upon us. Many of us made bad choices. Maybe self-medication or substances aren't really "feel-good machines."
As I looked elsewhere for the ever elusive "feel-good machine," I focused my study first on those that looked like they felt good. Maybe some method or a pattern would reveal itself. Then, I surmised a possible theorem: One third of all humanity wakes up feeling good, one third doesn't, and the remaining third can be influenced to either.
So, deductively, two thirds of all humans could feel bad or good on any given day. I accept responsibility for this meager attempt to influence those I can to feel happier on any particular day. Would anyone care to join me in this "windmill tilting" round trip?
There are many ways to influence those influenceable to feel happy. Some scriptures and twelve step programs teach the equivalent of "Fake it 'til you make it" and that's a very good procedure to begin this process. (If this seems weird, that's because it is!)
You can call it wishing, or positive visualization, or voodoo, I don't really care. When you wake up tomorrow, after you shake away the cobwebs of sleep, make a decision to be happy, just for today! It should be like setting the coffee maker to have your first cup of joe hot and ready when you stagger into the kitchen. Let's not quibble that this is difficult . . . be like Nike and, just do it!
While you get dressed for the day, make a decision to look for what's amusing and funny today. This shouldn't be too hard, after all, just look at what you chose to wear on this fine morning. Find a moment to smile and laugh at our human foibles, it's a head start on you feeling happy. There are certain brain chemicals that leap into action after certain stimuli are initiated! Chemicals like serotonins, endorphins, and various recipes of pixie dust can frame your day into a nicer ride. If one can fake and hold a smile for just ten seconds or more, the whole 7th Cavalry of Happy will come to your rescue with many and numerous serotonins, endorphins, and their ilk, post haste!
You need to provoke your own mood uplift by initiating certain thought patterns and/or actions. Why get drunk when you can con your own brain into feeling happier? Find a way to chuckle to yourself before you transition to work, school, play, or whatever you spend your day doing. I'm not kidding about this, do it!
As you reach the days' hurdles, mentally wrap your happy mood in some nice way, and put it on the shelf. It will be there when you're ready for it again.
When you get home after the day is over, remember to be thankful that you got through it all, and that you will be ready to do it all over again tomorrow! Remind yourself how happy you were able to be today. It does help to know that you're in control on this one little thing.
As you lay in bed, ready for sleep, smile at yourself and understand your choice to be happy is all that separates you from those who choose not to. Don't let those illegitimate spawn get you down, the poor bastards! They don't know they can choose to be happier, unless you tell them. Now, smile again, cuz tomorrow is going to be a happy day for you!
Maybe, I should feel sorry this procedure is so simple . . . nah!
It's not "The Secret!," it's not "The Power of Positive Thinking!" and it's not "Pushing your own Buttons!" It's you. It's you making choices that will make you happier. That's my personal guarantee! Turns out, you are your very own "legendary feel-good machine!" Use it, or lose it!
There, are you happy now?