Tuesday, February 14, 2006

No Longer Natural to be Happy

I've been thinking lately about being happy. I'm blessed to be a pretty happy person, but I've also realized that I do a lot of things that are proven to make us happier. Many of these are just natural for me, but they're things that anyone can learn.

We know that meditation and journaling are two things that make us happier. I spend some time each day with both of those. Having sunshine and getting exercise also increase our happiness level.

I was thinking about how these things used to be a natural part of our lives. Most people worked outside, getting daylight. Even on a cloudy day, you're getting 90% more sun than you are in a well light room. Most people were working physically hard, so getting exercise was not difficult for them.

To top it off, most people went to church. While they were not engaged in meditation as we think of it today, they were having some quiet, reflective time - at least on Sunday - when they were not working. And that's another thing - everyone had one day a week when they did not work.

Although not everyone kept a journal, many people wrote letters, which serves some of the same purposes.

So, when you consider how much our lives have changed in these ways it seems obvious that we would be less happy. We've stopped doing so many of the things that naturally make us happier.

I'm sure it's not wise to get so far removed from what is "natural" to us.