Happiness Confidential — Things you can do right this instant to be happy

Ten tips on achieving real, lasting happiness from a former major depressive

1. Develop a profound appreciation for small things
I would estimate that billions of us, not millions, take most of the good things in our lives for granted. It is human nature to focus upon and remember the negative. We’re built to harbor sorrows, which in effect have replaced danger, in our evolution. Provided you are not one of the billion people in our world who goes without clean water every day, when was the last time you appreciated it? How about that fresh fruit you obtained from the grocery store? Ever given a thought to how much easier life is for you every day than it was for someone born in 1700?  Yes, I am saying to truly relish that morning coffee that came to you from Sumatra and to luxuriate in the softness of carpeting under your feet in your warm house, even if it is old and stained.

2. Stop seeking immortality
Face it, you’re going to die. Perhaps you’ll go to heaven or hell; you might just blink out of existence. Start being cool with the possibilities that you won’t live forever, in name or in glory. If you never get famous, the world won’t care. If you do get famous, it will still eat you alive.  If you think having children will make you immortal, just don’t.

3. Get off of ALL drugs.
The term ‘medical doctor’ these days is synonymous with ‘licensed drug pusher’. Drugs are expected to do things they were never intended to do, for instance, constant doses of antibiotics are now used upon farm animals to get them to grow larger, even when the animals are not technically sick. Drug use is so rampant that traces of antidepressants can be found in public water supplies. Except in rare cases of schizophrenia, I do not believe that anyone can medicate himself out of depression. The only weapon “they” seem to have against depression is the serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which tampers with nerve endings to make them more sensitive to a certain chemical in our brain. The consequences of this tampering have largely not been studied, yet having been on them myself (and having known many people on them) I can say that human guinea pigs exhibit these changes while on SSRIs:

  •  inflated ego
  • out of control sex drive
  • bouts of extreme anger
  • antisocial or inappropriate behavior
  • weight gain
  • INCREASED suicidal tendencies

Even innocuous caffeine works horrors upon the human brain and body. In my case, caffeine is a crap shoot. Sometimes I feel a great sense of well-being or creativity while on it. Other times, I sweat profusely and have anxiety attacks.

Drugs are not entirely bad:for instance, surgical anasthesia or medical marijuana. Drugs are great: occasionally used as a last resort.

4. Go complex carbohydrate, whole foods vegan.
You knew I’d bring it back to veganism, right? I don’t see how a person who ingests suffering and death can expect something different for herself. Meat, dairy, and eggs are an addiction. Unless you break the physical and mental addiction irrevocably by excluding all sources of meat, dairy, and eggs from the diet, it is nearly impossible to completely heal from that addiction. Just as an alcoholic can’t go back to drinking a couple of shots with friends every weekend, a former animal foods addict should not expect to go back to dairy chocolate or a fried “free range” egg every now and then. No matter what the health benefits of eating a bunch of greens, fruits, and whole grains in the place of dead brown animal flesh and secretions are, the real benefit is knowing that you’ll never contribute again to the worst crimes a human can commit: the perpetration of an unjust war upon other species for no other reason save “they taste good”.

5. Stop caring so much about what others think of you.
Try this experiment: next time you’re in a crowded grocery store, do an Irish jig down the aisle. Make like you’re Michael Flatley doing a Riverdance. Can you do this without dying of embarrassment? I sure as hell can. I’ll sing “The Irish Washerwoman” at the top of my lungs while doing it too, and I’m not even certain I’m Irish. Because I truly no longer give a shit what anyone thinks of me. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to watch.

Michael Flatley, Irish dancer

Michael Flatley doesn’t care what you think

I hated myself as a shrinking violet, afraid of sticking out or heaven forbid, embarrassing myself. I always assumed people were thinking of me (first wrong assumption) and that what they were thinking was negative (second wrong assumption). Realizing that it wasn’t all about me was one of the most joyful and liberating things I have ever done with my life.

The secret of good performances, whether they be in social situations or more formal ones, like acting or singing, is the ability to get outside oneself.  The hallmark of a bad actor is a person who can never overcome his own self-centeredness enough to become the part he is trying to play.  Truly caring what others think of you is a form of unconscious enslavement — you’re always worried about their perceptions instead of doing what you know in your heart to be right.

6. Read for 20 minutes in sunlight every day.
This is one of those Stupid Human Tricks. We need the sun to produce vitamin D, which in turn affects calcium and magnesium absorption. Magnesium is a strong antidepressant — however, it does much, much more and has roles in everything from metabolism to heart health.

7. Stop dreading getting older.
Our retarded society thinks getting older and *gasp* losing one’s looks is a fate worse than death. Just because everyone is stupid where this is concerned does not mean you have to join them. I’d rather embrace being a 4’8 half-Okinawan crone than transform myself into a Madam-doll muppet freak with anime chipmunk cheek implants and an eye lift so tight I no longer can produce tears.

8. Make the best out of the stuff you have.
Get rid of the TV subscription and turn the TV off. Cancel magazine subscriptions except for Free Inquiry and VegNews. Don’t bother seeing or renting the latest movies. Not only will you save a ton of money, you’ll stop receiving messages of inadequacy as you elect to drop out of vicious consumer culture. If you think you need a new pair of shoes, try repairing the old ones instead.

9. Adopt a shelter pet.
Not only will you fight the evil puppy and kitty mills by adopting, you’ll rescue a being in need of love and care who probably would have been euthanized without your intervention. Life is sweeter shared with a shelter animal!

kiki and kim

Partners in crime with the best life ever!

10. Dismiss that which insults your soul.
There are no rules and there is no cosmic dictator in the sky waiting to punish or reward you after your physical death. You make your life what it is, therefore you can make it better. Push delete on toxic relationships, move where you want to live, and pursue the career you want even if it makes you poor. You don’t owe anyone anything (though conversely, they also don’t owe you anything) and that means you’re the grown up.  No amount of weird, compulsive thoughts will bring magic into your life — it’s like the old Sting tune, Everything You Do is Magic, so you should live the life you want to, with fulfilling people and a feeling of purpose.