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If you're happy and you know it, take a stand!

The best is yet to be. Seriously ;)
Talk about being happy and building a happy life, despite the worlds problems, to today's teens. A take on the "it gets better" campaign - if you are the poster child for turning it around, positive energy and constructing joy- share your secret.

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    Nov 20 2011: I am happy. ... Pretty much all of the time.

    Those who know me, and have expressed an opinion, say I am the happiest person they know. Not one of the happiest - the happiest.

    I didn't give it much thought and, for much of my life, unconsciously assumed happiness was the normal state of affairs for everyone.

    Apparently, I was wrong.

    Happiness is a choice. [Assuming we are nominally functional and free from severe mental illness.]

    If we are not happy, it is because we choose to be not happy. [Assuming we are nominally functional and free from severe mental illness.]

    And like any behaviour, it can be learned.

    Having said that, there are environmental, physiological and neurological correlates to happiness and we do not all have the same "set-point." These correlates are determined genetically and epigenetically so they are fixed within a wide spectrum. We can only be as happy as we can be. But whether we live up to our personal potential, or not, is up to us.
    • Nov 20 2011: I have to agree on this - happiness is a choice.
      There are real exercises - like positive "self talking" that do work. They are a skill - and one that comes easier to some than others.

      That said - there are true physical impairments, depression being one - that require medical attention.
      I don't believe anyone would actually choose unhappiness though. I think it's complicated. Some impairments are genetic, some situational - but in the end - sad is sad. The reason why is less important than dealing with the problem itself. That's a choice to be happy as well.

      When our bodies can't cope, or there is a hormonal imbalance for instance - medication, behavior modification, increased exercise, better eating, any or all of these, monitored by a responsible a medical professional - is the best course of action. Depressive illness is a physical issue, not an emotional one. Drug abuse, alcohol abuse - these aren't born of themselves. They are coping mechanisms symptoms of a bigger problem. But they do such harm, to the addict and their families, friends - even innocent bystanders.

      There was a time in my life when I was depressed. I had children depending on me, tons of stress & heartache, and was so so sad. I coped by hiding my feelings & working day and night, putting on a happy face. It was exhausting, yet I couldn't sleep. On the outside, I appeared to have a good attitude and was rolling with the punches. I was a high energy, tough cookie, whirlwind. Except, I felt horrible - all the time.

      I sought medical attention/therapy finally. AND THEN It wasn't hard at all - it was a relief! Life got better, because I did.

      The stigma attached to depression & treatment, which is ridiculous, IS fading. Education is key, as is being open about it. No disease or illness of any kind can be treated successfully by denial. It was a long time ago & best part? I'm stronger & happier than I ever thought I could be. Even with an imperfect life, it's all good.
      Best choice I ever made.
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        Nov 22 2011: Such honesty will help to rid us of the stigma surrounding mental ill health - thank you!

        I think happiness is one of the heightened emotional states that puts you in danger of a big come down. For me, contentment is the preferred state - it gives me stability and calm.
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    Nov 19 2011: I am happy but I am scared to speak loudly it.Cause according to lots of people, being happy is not very easy.but despite of everyting,people should smile for making better world :) we must think that 'we are breathing now and we are a lucky person.' I want to tell an aphorism to you. ''Today is the first day of the rest of your life'' so we can consider ourselves lucky for tonight. GOOD NIGHT
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      Nov 19 2011: i really like your statement stipulates that "we are breathing now and we are a lucky person.", that's really true. However, if we ever think we were on a really pathetic condition, just believe that there are still lots of people who have less fortunate compared to us, and we're lucky to have a condition like now :) just grateful.

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        Nov 20 2011: yes you're absolutely right.sometimes I feel so bad cause of poky things and then I am being regretful.I think we shouldn't let unimportant things make our lives these situatins we should think real unhappy people and real problems in their life.thanks.
  • Nov 22 2011: Moods, including happy seem to come and go. I think they always have with me. However, right this moment I am happy and contentedly so with the promise of the future in my own life. I sense a new freedom. There are adventures around the next bend I think. Finding oneself in the midst of what everyone else wants or thinks they want is a beautiful thing. It leads to happy.
  • Nov 19 2011: Being happy involves being at peace with your life during all phases. However, you must realize that your emotional state through life is not a flat line. There will be good times and bad. I can think of a few things I do to remain positive and happy, but the list will be different for each person. Perhaps if you look at my list, you will be able to find one or two that help you in your life.

    1. Look for opportunities to compliment, do polite things for people, say "hello Bob, or Sandra, or Libbey".People like to be recognized and hear their names.

    2. Initiate positive conversations and change or stop conversations that go in a negative direction.

    3. Live the golden rule.

    4. Live BELOW your means. If you live above your means, you will go into debt. If you live at your means, you are constantly only one or two unfortunate incidents from having nothing. Living below your means permits savings and gives you the opportunity to solve many of your own problems.

    5. Appreciate and notice nature, art, style, fashion, the efforts of others to do the right thing or help you, and anything done well by a child.

    6. Be the first to volunteer to help a relative get through tough times, health problems, or difficult circumstances if possible.

    7. Ask yourself " If money was worth nothing, what skills and talents would I have that I could use to survive?" If you do not like the answer to that question, do something to change the answer.

    8. Take pride in your work. Work hard. do not expect people to appreciate what you do, or even notice, but take pride in it yourself. Work is the great equalizer. Many have talents and skills or intellectual gifts that others do not possess. Being unhappy for what you do not have will solve nothing and make you miserable. Work ethic is the great equalizer.

    9. Live in harmony with nature. Ask " if man were not here, how would nature solve this problem?"

    10. Find a job you enjoy doing and inspires passion in you.

    Hope this helps!
    • Nov 20 2011: I think there is a wonderful balance in your list - from everyday guides to personal philosophies - all of them have their place. I want to think about them a bit more before I comment further - but had to say how much I appreciate this list! Thank you!
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    Nov 19 2011: I truly don't believe there is a secret. Moods are things we have power over, and happiness is one of those moods. When teens learn to create their own rules (not based on society) and rebel (in productive ways) they will be on the path to building a happy life.
    • Nov 19 2011: I love that notion - that we have power to create mood! Which would be contagious I think :) Made me smile! Thank you!
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    Nov 19 2011: hi,

    I'm quite agree with you, recognize that life has his own ebbs and flows. Accept that fact, and you'll be much happier. Keep your boat of life as level as possible, and keep on sailing. It is so easy to wonder and even believe that bad times will go on forever. The definition of bad is relative, however, depends in our perspective to see it as a challenge or holocaust for us. Just change our point of view that our problems will makes us stronger and wiser in the future, and think positive. I am strongly believe anonymous said that , "if it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger" :)

  • Nov 22 2011: Hi Lib, I am not sure if this will get thru.
    Thank you and I will be taking a break from TED, (i am sure it will be fine with your post!)
    Thanks and apologies once again to all. :)
    • Nov 22 2011: no need to apologize again - we all make mistakes.
      i hope you'll come back soon ;) take care Tishe ;)
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    Nov 20 2011: I find it interesting when people say, "It could be worse." Or, "There are those worse off than you." I find it interesting because I wonder what happens when it is you . . . . the worse off? Where does happiness fit there?
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      • Nov 20 2011: My apologies to all, I am truly very sorry! Getting a comment deleted on such a fine forum as TED, is a very humbling feeling. Once again, sincere apologies.
        • Nov 21 2011: Hi Tishe ~
          Well done. Glad to have you back :)
          (I'm very proud of you!)
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      • Nov 20 2011: Apologies are there and it is sincere! With the utmost respect to all the posters!!