For every minute you are angry
you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
Looking at it that way, you have to wonder why anyone would want to hold onto anger! Sure, you can’t always avoid or prevent being angry; our bodies are wired to respond in any number of ways to stress and challenge, anger being one of those. But we can try to limit the time we spend being angry or decrease the frequency of our bouts of anger. After all, we do possess a logical nature as well as an emotional one. We can choose to take a step back and examine ourselves and our circumstances. We can problem-solve. We can even walk away from what is causing us to feel angry. We can stop and think and make choices. We can free ourselves from feelings that weigh us down.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher and poet, offers us an opportunity to reflect with that quote. For example, we might just as well wonder about what sixty seconds of happiness feels like. We can easily describe what anger feels like; it is such a vivid, larger-than-life feeling, often lingering in our memory for far longer than the event that precipitated it. But happiness, in comparison, seems like a fleeting feeling. It is hard to hold onto and easier to forget. Or maybe it is just harder to recognize.
So I started thinking, “What does sixty seconds of happiness feel like to me?” Here are a few examples from my reflection:
- The first couple bites of something delicious, especially if I made it and it just came out of the oven (like mac and cheese!). Mmmmm…
- After coming home from work and changing my clothes, the first minute I start to unwind.
- Getting the final Jeopardy question correct, especially if none of the contestants did.
- Receiving a great big hug from my husband.
- The moment I get a good fire started in the wood stove, because that feels like success.
- The moment I solve a particularly challenging crossword puzzle, or the time when I am absorbed in working out a cryptic clue.
- When my husband asks me out (or I ask him out, depending on whose payday it is) to our regular Friday night dinner date, and I tell him I need to check my calendar to see if I am available. (Which, of course, I am!)
- The first minute of a steamy, hot shower or a soak in the tub – total comfort.
- Listening to three-year-old River when she talks about the “restronaut” we will be eating at, or seeing her introduce herself to her new friend Angelina in the play room at Burger King.
- When I make humorous commentary while we’re watching a TV show and my daughter laughs.
- The moment I notice that it’s snowing. We haven’t seen much this year, so it’s beautiful to me.
- When my husband takes my hand to hold. It may seem like a small thing, but it makes me feel loved.
Wow, with just a few thoughts I realize that I have lots of happy times! I think I may challenge myself to continue reflecting on what makes me feel happy; it’s an affirming exercise. The items on my list are all small things, but when I add them up, they can amount to hours rather than minutes of happiness. How easy that can be to overlook!
I am eager to know what sixty seconds of happiness feels like to you, too.
Your comments, please! 🙂