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01 November 2013

Friday question, another AM edition. Does your happiness level depend mostly on the good or bad things that have happened to you, or on something else?
Mine depend on light, exercise, creativity, people, and not being abusive to myself.
posted by cjorgensen 01 November | 13:55
In my current mindset (single guy trying to get his life together) it's hard to even conceive of someone else's daily happenings being the main arbiter of my happiness. In fact my success would be what would ease the worries of the closest people who care about me, and being personally better grounded and stable would make me more able to help others achieve good things.

I have a strange tic of sorts that's slightly related though. Sometimes I have a random moment of empathy that's inexplicably strong. Back when the groupon type companies were proliferating an agent of such a company had called someone I know to offer a discount for a massage or spa type thing. She told him she was busy for now. When he called her back, she declined the offer. He said something like, "Ma'am please consider it I'm going back home now it's my last call of the day and I specifically called you back." She wasn't interested and had to decline but for a long time that story sort of bugged me. I had a lot of empathy for that random salesperson, like sadness about that moment that you can physiologically feel. I think at this point I have lost that feeling about this event especially cause I've done some cold calling and realize how low the success rate is anyway. Same way I used to feel physically unhappy about older women begging for money but I've become desensitized to it at this point.
posted by Firas 01 November | 14:14
wow, I totally misread the question! SomeTHING else. Well, things that have happened are a big mediator in how I feel, sure, but not the only factor.
posted by Firas 01 November | 14:26
If my happiness depended mostly on the good or bad things that have happened/are happening to me, I would probably be a miserable wretch. This year in particular has been marred by sickness and death.

And for most of my life, external forces did indeed dictate my interior state. If someone I loved and cared for was miserable, I was sympathetically miserable. I am a caregiver/fixer by nature, and hell, there is always something or someone to care for and fix. I nearly broke myself trying to Fix All The Things.
After decades of banging my head against this particular wall, it finally dawned on me that I had to stop. My health suffered (I have MS, have I ever mentioned that? No, I suppose not), and I simply had enough.
Nowadays, I am a bit like cjorgensen. Light, exercise, good food, plenty of sleep, pleasant people and healthy hobbies dictate my happiness. There are some really sad, shitty things happening to people I love right now, and I am managing to not lose my own, ahem, serenity, even in the midst of certain awfulness.

That's my two cents. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
posted by msali 01 November | 15:19
It is a mixture of both for me. Sleep is always a big factor, as well as the amount of time I've spent at home alone in recent days. Feeling rushed and whatnot tends to make me super crankypants. And then that usually turns into a spiral of shit.
posted by sperose 01 November | 15:54
I used to have internal happiness, no matter what came along. But, over the years, the whats have piled up and some have been overwhelming to the point that the external things have won out.

Now, happiness is a temporary visitor and related to a good piece of chocolate instead of a general sense of well - being.
posted by mightshould 01 November | 18:07
I think in a big sense my happiness depends on external things -- I've been very, very lucky in my spouse (and having one), my job, my pets, and my health. I do wonder how happy I'd be if I lost my spouse, my hugest worry.

But I also think with age has come a greater sense of accepting my limits and learning to be contented with and grateful for what I have.
posted by bearwife 01 November | 18:50
I'd love to champion my empathetic side in answer to this question, but lately my life has led me into some seriously misanthropic corners.

What makes me happiest these days is spending time with people who elevate their games and show intelligence and awareness to the world in everything they do. Folks who don't stumble down the road absorbed in some meaningless listicle off of Buzzfeed glowing up from their iPhones.

What makes me happiest now are moments that are silent and profound rather than loud and stupid.
posted by Lipstick Thespian 01 November | 19:41
Unfortunately, yes. I have wished for a while that I had more control over my own happiness, but I just can't seem to get a handle on it and find myself reacting to things I have no control over, which is very frustrating.
posted by dg 02 November | 04:31
My happiness levels tend to fluctuate wildly throughout the day, but!

1) I declared a "No More Bad Days" rule for myself, which means that even if most of the day is crappy, I'm not having entirely 100% bad days "anymore or ever again" (google that phrase + sausage if you're having a bad day, and by the time you're done listening, you'll have laughed enough for several good days in advance).

2) The worst uuuugh omg stressy hardest days? They seem to always lead to epic growth for me.

3) When I'm just stuck in a really bad day I can't get out of? Well, yeah, I decide it's a good day even if I just smiled at a stranger at the bus stop and they smiled back.
posted by Twiggy 02 November | 09:56
Last weekend when I was having dinner at the nursing home/assisted living facility with my mom, I overheard an elderly resident named Walter, in response to an attendant asking him if he was having a good day, say, "Every day is a good day. If it's not a good day, I make it a good day."

I seem to do the opposite. : (
posted by Pips 02 November | 17:35
November goal time! || love comes back from the dead