I live in New York City with my husband and our three children. When people find this out (friends from outside the city) they usually respond in one of two ways:
Option1, “You are so lucky. Do you love it? That’s awesome.”
Option 2, “How long do you have to stay there? I don’t know how you do it!”
The people from camp 2 also often say things like, “I could never live without a car. I can’t imagine having to do my laundry at the laundromat. How do you survive in that tiny apartment with THREE kids?”
When camp 2 reacts with shock that we choose this life, that we stay here because we want to, not because we have some kind of contractual obligation, I often feel the need to defend our decision. I try to explain that we are happy. To believe me though, they’ll have to get rid of the notion that happiness comes from mobility (a car), convenience (a washer and dryer), or comfort (living space).
They don’t have to take my word for it; there’s science to back me up. The featured article in our current issue Harvesting Happiness by Wendy Ulrich, PhD introduces us to the research behind how to be happy. Ulrich explains that the field of positive psychology “has developed on the premise that the pursuit of happiness deserves at least as much scientific attention as learning how not to be miserable.” She goes on to say, “We are learning that people are more apt to stop drinking, cope with bipolar illness, get out of depression, or improve dysfunctional relationships if they directly pursue happiness in its own right.”
Read the full article here. There are definitely times I’m convinced that a washer and dryer would make me even happier, but maybe I’m only kidding myself. Hauling the laundry down the block is part of my regular exercise, and that’s top on the list of things they’ve found that make people happy. Huh, maybe I should just count it a blessing. What do you know? That’s number two on the list.
Click over to see the rest of the how to be happy list in the article “Harvesting Happiness”. At the beginning of last month many of us talked about our resolutions for this year. There were declarations from you to be happier, enjoy life more, smile more, laugh more, play more. I think we all want to be happier. I already do a couple of things off the list, but I’ve chosen a couple more to work on this week. Happiness is a choice, and apparently it’s a choice we have to work at. Which happiness research will you choose to believe and . . .follow?