“No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds”Red Skelton, comedian
I was enjoying my Sunday morning reading through the Time Magazine Happiness issue when I came across a quote in the article titled 14 Ways to Jump for Joy by Ellen Seidman that made me literally laugh out loud. “With all the books on mood-boosting technology that does everything for us but laugh, we expect happiness to show up at our doorstep like a pizza.” Not only did I laugh, I also had to acknowledge the truth of this statement. We search for happiness – especially now – and the world gives us thousands of resources which we comb through anxious to find the key that will unlock the door to our blissful place.
I confess that over the past few years I have been drawn to motivational self-help books and magazine articles on topics ranging from confidence, mindfulness, and dealing with anxiety. I am, by my own definition, a happy person. What drives me to read these books is my desire for affirmation. Like those seeking the door to bliss, I want to find the magic wand that will erase my doubt and anxiety. Although I am generally a confident person, I am occasionally wracked by bouts of anxiety and doubt that take my breath away. And I wish I could blame COVID-19 for this, but it started prior to the pandemic. Like those searching for happiness and wanting it delivered to their front door, I want the magic pill that will excise anxiety from my anxious mind.
I’m sure you can relate to a few of my anxiety inducing thoughts. Here is a sample of what goes through my mind when I can’t stop the ruminating: Oh my gosh, I forgot to do something – and I’m going to get in trouble as soon as someone finds out – and for the life of me I can’t remember what it is. I can’t believe I don’t spend enough time writing, talking to friends, volunteering, exercising, I’m such a loser. Someone at work is going to find out that I don’t really know what I’m doing and I will be unmasked for the fake that I am.
Full disclosure, I go most days without having these thoughts. They hit me at unexpected moments and out of the blue. Reading about happiness, mindfulness and confidence helps me to recalibrate my thinking because I need the reminders. It’s my way of taking a breath and bringing myself back to reality. Even if the world is falling apart, I can rest assured that, overall, I am not. Finding quotes that make me laugh out loud is a great way to clear my brain of useless self-sabotaging thoughts. I would also highly recommend the article in the magazine on happiness and being a parent – I laughed through the whole thing.
So this is my reminder to you that regardless of everything going on in the world today (political insanity, climate change and the pandemic) happiness, kindness, and confidence are within our grasp. Not in a pizza box (although pizza does bring happiness), nor on social media, nor in a book or magazine. We find these things within ourselves. But if we need to remind ourselves through social media, books, or magazines then by all means lets use the tools at our disposal. So if you find yourself needing a boost, I highly recommend finding something that makes you laugh out loud. It’s not the door to happiness, but it is certainly a start.