Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happiness is....a research study?

This list was released this week. I haven’t quite determined whether it was a good or bad idea to publish it one week before Christmas. That might depend on where your home state falls on the list. Folks from Maine will be proud that their state ranks number 10 of the happiest people in the U.S., whereas residents of the NY, NJ and CT area may not want to learn their ranking. Iowans (folks from Iowa?) have every reason to be happy at number 31. Remember it “isn’t Heaven, it’s Iowa” from Field of Dreams? And Kansans (number 32) know that there’s “no place like home”, like Dorothy realized in the Wizard of Oz. Of course, Florida (number 3) is the Sunshine State, and we have been told that exposure to the sun for even 10 minutes every day helps alleviate blue moods. But does anyone from the bottom of the list really want to know that their neighbors answered this survey negatively?

It seems that no one is happy in my home state since we’re bottom dwellers on here. Not much to brag about in that. But if it’s in the news it must be true, right? I’ve noticed the *attitude* of other drivers in traffic around here. Merging into the next lane is akin to cutting in front at the lunch line, DON'T! Be careful with your cart at the grocery store in the after-work rush; don’t block overstressed parents who are trying to pick up supper while dealing with tired children. We’re a bunch of Grumpy Gus-es. Or maybe not.

Maybe the survey was too limited. Maybe they only asked people who have a one hour commute. There’s one group I know they certainly missed…. The folks at the quick stop where I buy my morning coffee have been wearing silly holiday hats lately; from antler headbands to Cat-in-the-Hat top hats. They post a daily trivia qustion. They’re always happy and create a bright spot at the beginning of the day. When I walk in there I want to put on my red clown nose and play along! They don’t earn the big bucks but they choose to have a bright outlook. It’s a reminder that we don’t HAVE to be miserable. Sure, stuff happens, but deal with it and get over it. Don’t let it dim your outlook. We each choose how happy we want to be.

I hope you choose to have a very Happy Day!

Note: the research for this list consisted of (1) asking participants to rate their level of well-being and (2) comparing factors such as weather, income, and housing prices for each state. It just doesn't sound as if it was a broad enough study to be valid. Hmmm, I wasn't surveyed on this, were you?

No comments: