Make time for reflection. Finding time to take stock of your experiences and to sit back and consider what the day has brought you can make you happier. You may not be very happy because you feel like you’re just going through the motions and doing have time to just sit still and ask yourself, “What the heck just happened?” Find a time each day – or at least each week – where you can just sit still, stare at some scenery, and think about all of the events that happened to you. You’ll feel a sense of calm and will begin to feel less overwhelmed with everything in front of you, and yes, this will make you happier.
Still, with the Code restrictions in place, romance comics could not compete with the other mediums were aggressively vying for consumer dollars without censorship. First, there was the growing underground comix market, which featured unrestricted and uncensored writing and often contained graphic sex and nudity. Second, Harlequin Books began producing more and more novels, which enticed readers with their painted covers and flowery prose. Finally, romance comics simply couldn’t compete with the growing popularity and presence of television, specifically the soap opera, which featured many of the themes present in romance comics and provided free daily gratification. This is especially true when you factor in that comics were moving to the direct market, which focus on superhero comics.
Humans have this insatiable need to live for something greater than themselves. Take the time to appreciate and trust that your life is being guided by something greater than yourself. Understand that every stage of your life is part of a stunning master plan that will work for the greater good of those around you. How can you not feel beyond happy when you embrace the idea you are contributing to the greater good?!
In the weeks to come, as I replayed this conversation over in my mind, I was forced to hatch my own theory about what had made me and my hosts so foreign and incomprehensible to each other on the subject of marriage. And here’s my theory: Neither the grandmother nor any other woman in that room was placing her marriage at the center of her emotional biography in any way that was remotely familiar to me. In the modern industrialized Western world, where I come from, the person whom you choose to marry is perhaps the single most vivid representation of your own personality. Your spouse becomes the most gleaming possible mirror through which your emotional individualism is reﬂected back to the world. There is no choice more intensely personal, after all, than whom you choose to marry; that choice tells us, to a large extent, who you are. So if you ask any typical modern Western woman how she met her husband, when she met her husband, and why she fell in love with her husband, you can be plenty sure that you will be told a complete, complex, and deeply personal narrative which that woman has not only spun carefully around the entire experience, but which she has memorized, internalized, and scrutinized for clues as to her own selfhood. Moreover, she will more than likely share this story with you quite openly—even if you are a perfect stranger. In fact, I have found over the years that the question “How did you meet your husband?” is one of the best conversational icebreakers ever invented. In my experience, it doesn’t even matter whether that woman’s marriage has been happy or a disaster: It will still be relayed to you as a vitally important story about her emotional being—perhaps even the most vitally important story about her emotional being. Whoever that modern Western woman is, I can promise you that her story will concern two people—herself and her spouse—who, like characters in a novel or movie, are presumed to have been on some kind of personal life’s journeys before meeting each other, and whose journeys then intersected at a fateful moment. (For instance: “I was living in San Francisco that summer, and I had no intention of staying much longer—until I met Jim at that party.”) The story will probably have drama and suspense (“He thought I was dating the guy I was there with, but that was just my gay friend Larry!”). The story will have doubts (“He wasn’t really my type; I normally go for guys who are more intellectual”). Critically, the story will end either with salvation (“Now I can’t imagine my life without him!”), or—if things have turned sour— with recriminating second-guesses (“Why didn’t I admit to myself right away that he was an alcoholic and a liar?”). Whatever the details, you can be certain that the modern Western woman’s love story will have been examined by her from every possible angle, and that, over the years, her narrative will have been either hammered into a golden epic myth or embalmed into a bitter cautionary tale.
The study examined a group of city bus drivers over a period of two weeks. They found that employees who put on a fake smile for the job were in a worse mood by the end of the day. But drivers who genuinely smiled as a result of positive thoughts actually reported being in a better mood by the end of the day. So when you smile, make sure to mean it!
The experts had said that what the children need is aggression, not affection — crime, not love. But suddenly the industry converted from blood to kisses. They tooled up the industry for a kind of comic book that hardly existed before, the love-confession type. They began to turn them out quickly and plentifully before their own experts had time to retool for the new production line and write scientific papers proving that what children really needed and wanted — what their psychological development really called for — was after all not murder, but love!
Not only is it mentally stimulating (not to mention fun), but challenging yourself to learn a new skill can lead to greater happiness, experts say. That’s thanks to the feelings of accomplishment and self-confidence that often come along with gaining new expertise. Consider this your cue to sign up for those French lessons you’ve always wanted to take, or pick up the ukulele—choose something that genuinely interests you, and run with it!