I was just reading an article in Diane, that manically peppy magazine produced by the founder of Curves (the gym I go to), on Happiness with a capital Haytch. It got me thinking.

Whose Genes are Those?

Apparently (according to Diane) Happiness is 50% genetic and then the rest is up to us. Oh thank goodness! I can blame half my bad days on bad genes! woohooo! Seriously though, I often think about Happiness. My family has been prone to depression, and depression is associated with hypothyroidism (which I have, as well as my mom – bad genes! bad genes!), but I do also instinctively know that there are things I can do to make myself feel better and get myself out of a funk. Sometimes, however, feeling really depressed means you can`t even think of doing those things, so it is even harder to get yourself out of the pit.

What is Happiness?

I know I need structure (which is very hard when you run your own business and don’t have a boss imposing a 9-5 on you, as well as a part time teaching job with varying hours of prep involved). Exercise makes me feel better, and doing things like reading and writing feed my soul. I know spending quality time with my husband makes me feel recharged, and getting out into nature and smelling the fresh air and looking at beautiful scenery helps too. But why, then, is it so hard sometimes to get up off the couch and get out there?

Interestingly, the article also mentions that religion helps people feel happier. This could be a plot by the rather obviously Christian writers/editors of Diane, but I do agree that having some kind of spiritual path does seem to help people feel more content. Is it because they feel like they have given up some control over their life to a higher power? I’m not sure. I do know, though, that in my own spiritual way (I don’t believe in organised religion, sorry!), I am trying to pray harder and more specifically; and also to offer up prayers of gratitude for what I do have in my life, but I still find that even though I know the right things to do to make myself feel better, and trying various things, I still often feel lost. Damn that aristocratic family tree of mine, swooning, palpitating, and needing smelling salts.

Are you Responsible for Your Own Happiness?

Being an immigrant has meant many many hours of feeling alone. Despite the solid support from my amazing husband and in-laws, I still have days where I want to crawl onto a plane and just go home, and see my family and my friends. And yet, intellectually and emotionally, I also feel like this is where I am meant to be and I am trying to figure out how I can create happiness and contentment in this new life too. It is very hard, though, feeling like the people who understand me well, are far away. On the plus side, though, I am building new friendships and networks and I do feel like step by step I will get there. It is just so damn hard to do it all and stay sane!

This is most definitely a long, long journey. Life long, really. So I can only hope that day by day, I can balance out that 50% and feel centred and more content with life, seeing as I can’t discard my genes…