WRITERS & HAPPINESS—THE MAN PUTS IT WELL
MY PERSPECTIVE IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT—BUT HE’S WORTH READING, NONETHELESS
Posted: 18 Oct 2015 10:20 PM PDT
Let me preface this by saying I’m not a doctor, or a psychiatrist, or a psychologist, or a therapist, but it seems to me that writers tend to be a little lonelier, sadder, and angrier than the members of other professions. Granted, this is not a scientific fact, just a mere observation. Does writing cause this condition or state of being – or does writing become the expressive outlet for the emotionally raging, intellectually-gifted individual?
I don’t think writing makes people feel lonely, unhappy, mad, or crazy. I think it is a savior for those who feel that way. It’s a coping mechanism. If you practice the art of writing well – perhaps it is because you don’t feel so well. You may even get rewarded with money, awards, and fame -- but writing is a prize unto itself.
Still, writers probably want to be happier, even those who wouldn’t admit that their talent and gift is driven, in part, by some type of social deficiency or DNA pattern. Many writers who have experienced great success have also been known to suffer from addiction, mental disease, and emotional instability. They may need serious help and professional intervention, but all writers could benefit from letting some sunshine into their souls.
So how can writers make themselves feel better while not jeopardizing the tension levels they need to write great stuff?
According to Time magazine, Americans now spend $9.6 billion annually on self-help products, including among other things, books. So why are we so unhappy?
Oddly, the October 12th edition article didn’t mention obvious things, including poor education, a lousy childhood, victimization, handicap, sickness, bad relationships, a crappy job, loss of wealth, loss of family/friends or the fact the world is screwed up and filled with violence, greed, politics, and crazies.
The article spoke to people who seemingly were not affected by any of these things but merely suffered from not getting what they want or expect to get from life. It said: “But in the US, happiness is often seen as an individual pursuit: chasing the best career, buying stuff, and expecting all of that to lead to happiness. That sets up Americans for a lifetime of letdowns.”
The article suggested five ways one could feel better, relying on scientific data. Could these help writers? It said:
1. Schedule Fun Activities
When you intentionally create the conditions of your day you take control of what happens to you and there’s something to look forward to.
2. Shift Your Perspective
Instead of pursuing excited states of happiness, recognize your time is limited and instead, pursue more relaxing activities that achieve a state of serenity.
3. Stay Present
Just enjoy the moment you’re in, even if it’s in a state of imagining and fantasizing. No need to worry of the future or to force the present to play out a certain way. Go with the flow.
4. Lower Your Expectations
That’s right, expect little and maybe you’ll be surprised. Making huge plans or hoping people will act differently or taking a huge gamble rarely pays off. Don’t expect much and maybe you’ll get more than you bargained for.
5. Savor Great Moments
Appreciate the positive moments, people, or things, in your life. Think back on them and replay these good times in your head. Do once, celebrate many times.
If none of this works, may I suggest that you write more. Yes, writing for you or me is what keeps us happy, sane, and healthy. Writing is a means and an end to happiness. Our words are not only medicine for our readers, but for ourselves. Writers experience the world in their heads and they play out more scenarios than a thousand lives could ever live. We see all kinds of possibilities and probabilities safely from our mobile desks and then turn our attention toward re-writing a world that makes sense and feels fulfilling.
The world is a beautiful but troubled place. Writers use writing to cope with the life they’ve been given, and they use their gift to help others escape from or cope with their lives. That is the real happiness formula.