Now, writers and other creative types, I want you to pay attention to this part. A large fraction of a person's overall happiness (according to the research presented in the documentary) is doing something you're good at and that you enjoy, simply for the love of it. Writers, if you do that thing you love (writing), but you attach the stress of having to do it (paycheck) or the pressure of it needing to please another person (reviews), it drains all the happiness out of it. Think on that...
Getting out in nature is one more thing that consistently makes people happier.
|taken at River Legacy|
Also, another thing that happier people do is bounce back from bad situations. I'll give an example that isn't author-related. Take the morning from hell, for example. You stub your toe upon awakening, get into a fender-bender on the way to work, and then find yourself in trouble for some flub you did yesterday. Many of us tend to dwell on these sort of bad things. We text five friends about our toe injury. We call eighty different people and tell them how mad we are about the fender-bender. We worry all night long that we're going to get fired for our mistakes. That sort of dwelling actually keeps you in a depressed state, whereas happy people shrug it off once it's done and gone. Sure, your toe got hurt. You might have even shouted a curse word. Yeah, you got into a car wreck. Yes, you're human and you messed up at work. But then you moved on. Interesting concept, huh?
Happy also said that spending time with friends and loved ones and doing things to help other people can actually increase dopamine in our brains. For some, it's as strong an effect as taking a physical drug. We're truly social creatures. We need our friends! Even strangers can be of great joy and comfort to us. You hear that, authors? Sometimes you need to step away from the manuscript and socialize. (I'm talking to myself here, too.)
|In New Orleans with a friendly stranger|
So, in closing, get your mind off of the money you think you should be making with that novel you're working on. When you write a chapter of that book, have fun with it! Don't worry about what people are going to think, and don't stress about the money it may or may not make. And then, after you've spent a couple of hours writing, go hang out with a good friend. Have a good time just because. Studies show, you'll be happier if you do!
|A couple of Halloweens ago|