Sometimes, Happiness is Avoidance
Happiness depends on ourselves ~ Aristotle
Here at the Ministry of Happiness we have talked often about the necessity of facing your issues and dealing with them straight on. This is almost always the option and particularly at the times when we least want to do it. So for the truly important things in life that are diminishing your happiness this is still my best advice.
However, there are small things in our lives that can suck away our happiness and for many of them it would take more energy to confront them, than it would to simply avoid or ignore them. One way I’ve done this in my life over the last year has been to avoid the news. This was not an easy thing for me, I’m a news junkie, I like to know what’s happening and have some deeper understanding of the why of the world. A female friend once joked, you’re the only guy who I ever leave alone in a hotel room and when I come back he’s watching the news instead of sports.
Watching the news however was doing less to inform me that it was to inflame my emotions and annoy me. So, I essentially banned news channels from my viewing habits and have chosen to get my news from less inflammatory sources. Something else that wasn’t easy! My go to news sources include the New York and Los Angeles Times, the BBC and my absolute favorite news source, The Christian Science Monitor. I find that the Monitor does a good job of analyzing the news without much spin to the left or the right. Of course the tradeoff is, that unlike CNN or USA Today you don’t get new headlines every 20 minutes but you do get more depth.
I will still scan through the headlines on CNN but if I want more in-depth reading I’ll dig into the web for the information. I have to say that this change has made me less politically oriented and less likely to jump into political arguments on social media, again a very good thing as all of this has lowered my stress level which increases your happiness.
The inspiration for this piece came today from a very conscious decision to walk about 2 minutes out of my way to avoid having to face an employee. This person is utterly fragile, prone to exaggeration, passive-aggressive and any contact just fuels her fire for drama and conflict. So sure, I walked a few extra steps, but in doing so got a little more exercise, lessened my stress and had a happier day, hope you’re having one to my friend.
~ Rev Kane