Wednesday, 1 August 2012

feeling happy?

Answer me this: Which of these two options makes you happier?

1. Tidying the living room?
2. Ignoring the mess and watching TV?

As it turns out, I have discovered that a quick way to feel happy today is to get something done. I have realised that I actually feel better after a little tidying than if I ignore it and choose to "relax" instead. Funny, isn't it? And I've been reading a bit about this in the book Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal: "It turns out that almost nothing makes us happier than good, hard work." She's referring to "work" that we choose ourselves, that has some positive feedback when we've done it. That's because we enjoy the sense of accomplishment of improving something.

McGonigal actually says that things we think of as relaxing, like chilling out, TV, eating chocolate, don't make us feel better. They are actually mildly depressing because they are so undemanding and low-engagement. We are happier avoiding those passive entertainments and seeking out a more positive, active task. "We'd be much better off," she writes, "avoiding easy fun and seeking out hard fun, or hard work that we enjoy, instead."

What do you think? Do you enjoy some "good, hard work"?