Mood regulation

The last few weeks have taken their toll on my usually sanguine disposition. Some private matters weigh heavily on my mind and are hard to stow away in the little worry-boxes I am usually quite successful with.  Worry-boxes are where worries go when they’ve been dealt with. The worries don’t necessarily need to be solved, but have been looked at and sized up. It’s my belief that if you try to not think of something that worries you, it grows out there in the periphery and sometimes takes on proportions that are not relative to the original source of worry. On the other hand, if you examine your worry, you’ll first find out if there really is something to worry about or if you’ve just had worry induced from somebody else. Then, if there is something, wonder whether there’s anything – pleasant or unpleasant – you can do to mend the problem. If that’s not the case – and often it isn’t with worries – then it’s time for the box. Although I’ve never been an alcoholic or any other kind of addict, I’m rather addicted to AA‘s serenity prayer:

“God, Give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,             Courage to change the things which should be changed, And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

This prayer works just as well without the God in front.

Sometimes however, these boxes leak. The worry sneaks out and attacks my train of thought when I least expect it. And then they become a real threat to my general well-being. And when my well-being is under threat, so is my family’s. So I’ve devised some tricks that cheat me into smiling. Once you’re smiling, the worry seems to diminish immediately. For the Harry Potter readers out there, it works a bit like when you have to fend off one of the scary dementors – by thinking of a really lovely memory.

For smiling tricks the web is a bottomless trough. However, most of the videos and jokes that circulate will fail to make me smile on a glum day. They are usually too shallow. So I look to a few trusted Facebook friends, bloggers and Twitter contacts, who’ll always twist reality in a way that’ll make me chuckle. And I do this very deliberately.

The video here was found on India Knight‘s blog Posterous. I’m not entirely sure why I find it so utterly charming, I just do…

Then there’s something like this. A person has actually sat down and programmed a plug-in to remove politically incorrect words and phrases from blogs. The web is full of these altruistic people who do stuff only to make other people happy/laugh. Obviously, I’m also impressed with the young man’s skill, but he could have shown that in numerous other ways. Thanks to David Hewson who posted it on Twitter.

I’ve been following GalaDarling on and off for years since before she left New Zealand and she’s a sure bet to  make me smile. Sometimes it’s one of her hilarious beauty tips, at other times it’s her sincere effort to spread joy. Browse her site a bit. You’ll have to be a very grumpy old (wo)man not to find her utterly charming.

At other times it doesn’t have to be funny as such, but some people write so well and hit so many nails right on the head in such terrific prose that it makes me happy too (maybe also a bit envious, but I think I can deal with that). Here’s a couple of examples of people who write about their own lives in such a way that it’s relevant and interesting to others as well: Mrs. L in her 43rd Year, Lucy Fishwife who’s a very bookish sort of person and there’s Backwards in High Heels where Tania explains why she (and I) never ever use the ugly swearword c*** about anyone or in any context. Thank you Tania.

As you’ve probably gathered by now I work actively and consciously on my own happiness and I’ve written about it on this blog before. Because I know I’ve got some new lovely readers, I’ll link here to a few of my older posts about happiness.

Dealing with criticism

Acts of random kindness

Nancy Etcoff on happiness

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