Stumbled across an article this afternoon that sort of goes against the conventional wisdom I referred to in the Happiness Wednesday post about thinking positively. In “Finding Your Inner Loser,” John Cloud reports on a new study that shows that thinking positively can actually have the opposite effect by pointing out to people how unhappy they really are. (I don’t need to point out here, do I, that a guy with the last name of “Cloud” is perfect to write a piece reporting the negative effects of thinking positively.)
Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project would probably agree with some of what the study contends, which is that we can’t fight our nature. Instead, we need to accept who we are and how we are, and put our shortcomings into what the Time article described as a “larger, more realistic perspective.” (This is probably what Rubin is talking about in her 12 Commandments for Happiness, the first of which is “Be Gretchen.”) In other words, sure you’re not a rocket scientist, but neither are most people. Or, average is ok if aiming for perfect will kill you. And, I suppose, if you’re having a bad day, just have it — but don’t invite it to stay all week.