Food for thought: are you happy?

I’ve come to realise that I’ve become one of those nagging, whiny, complaining sorts of late. You know the type, the real-life equivalent of a dementor, who sucks the zing out of a room by complaining about practically everything (we all have at least one in our friend circle). Now, I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I shall repeat it all the same — grow up, stop complaining, and be happy, gosh darnit! There’s a decent bit of science behind why complaining is bad for your mental health (although I’ve read some contradictory reports recently), but either way, it typically doesn’t achieve anything. And like second-hand smoke, listening to complaints is supposedly worse for you.

Now, although it may seem as though I’m complaining about complainers here, I’m about to get to the point–

Happiness.

Granted it’s subjective for everyone, and it’s not everlasting, but I feel like more and more I come into contact with people lack it nowadays. Before I start sounding like a pseudo-intellectual hipster, let me just make one last point — everything is subjective.  But, chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve got a lot to be thankful for. And a lot to be happy about. And hopefully, that also means you have comparatively less to complain about.

Bottomline: stop complaining, be happy. 

Whenever I feel like I’m falling into this ‘oh-woe-is-me’ complaining rut, I have a handful of books, movies, and YouTube videos I tend to watch.

Sam Berns’ philosophy for a happy life: A TEDx talk by the late Progeria sufferer, who at age 17 seemed miles ahead of me at the same point in time, puts all the little things into perspective.

Amy Purdy’s Dancing with the Stars experience: At 19, she was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, with a 2 percent change of living. She lost her legs (from the knee down), but survived, overcame the slimmer than slim odds of walking again, and went on to become a gold-winning Paralympic snowboarder (where she essentially snowboards a foot off the ground with prosthetic limbs). Her TEDx talk always gets me slightly choked up, but watching her dance is something that always makes me smile:

The TEDx talk:

Pico Iyer’s ‘Art of Stillness’: A travel writer and journalist, I first came across him when he gave his TED talk ‘Where is home?’ (something I relate to fairly well, being a third-culture kid with a really, really weird accent). In this talk, ‘The Art of Stillness’, he talks about a mental stay-cation:

And, lastly, because laughter is (in my mind) the best medicine, here is an outstanding compilation of celebrity commencement speeches from purewow.com. Mindy Kaling, Ellen, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Jane Lynch (the gang’s all here). But also, Hollywood royalty like Meryl Streep (also funny, and ridiculously charming, and can do no wrong in my eyes). And Robert DeNiro.

Just watch them all, OK?

That’s all. Stay happy, smile, and stop complainin’.

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