We are now six-plus months into 2021. How is life going for you? While I haven't heard anyone report that their life is now "wonderful," virtually every person that I have talked with says that he/she feels better than they did when the year began. If I ask them how they feel, compared to last year, they say, with feeling, that there is no comparison. They agree when I say, "Everything feels better since January 20th."

This is not a large sample which I am reporting, but it is meaningful. The benefits of feeling "happy" have been identified by doctors for years. Among other things, happiness is reported to combat stress, boost the immune system, broaden focus, improve one's ability to problem solve and handle setbacks, protect the heart, and even improve life expectancy. It is much easier for positive people to feel understanding and empathy towards others.

So, with all those benefits, everyone wants to feel happy, right? Well . . .

I expect that we have all known people who can maintain a positive outlook on life, even when things are not going well for them. People who can do that are a revelation — and an inspiration. In my experience, the amount of money or property which a person has is not a predictor of his/her attitude towards life. I have known people who had very little, but they still maintained faith and hope for the future. They were happy for what they did have and were sincerely grateful for every kindness extended to them.

I have also known people who had more than most, but were never pleased or satisfied for very long. These people often felt jealousy or anger when they saw that someone else had more belongings or success than they had. When our thinking is dominated by fears, we are poorly equipped to benefit from the positive things which come along in life.

Education and experience have taught me that, in large part, feeling happy or unhappy is a choice. Things happen, but it is up to us how we respond to those happenings. Responding with equanimity to disappointments and setbacks is not simple or easy, but we can choose determination and fortitude over anger and blaming. Regrettably, we still see letters in the paper, full of anger and blame, from people who voice terrifying fears that we are approaching an end to civilization! So sad.

55-65% of Republicans reportedly still believe that the election was "stolen." 99.5% of COVID deaths in the last six months were of unvaccinated people, but 47% of Republicans say they likely won't get vaccinated. 23% of Republicans believe the most extreme Q'anon conspiracy statements. Is it possible that any of them wake up every morning feeling happy? And why does anyone pay any attention to what that failed ex-President wants to say? How can listening to him make anyone feel good?

I choose to think positively, to take pleasure in the uniqueness of other people and the beauty of the world, and to keep myself open to times when happiness is available. It took great effort to do all this last year, and I was not always fully successful. It is so much easier to do so now. There are reasons for feeling positive everywhere we look.

Kevin Kennedy is a resident of Frederick County.

(16) comments

Blackhorsegirl

Still better than a bumbling baffoon with the emotional maturity of a 7 year old.

At least we’re no longer the laughing stock of the world.

jps320161

You don't think Putin and Xi have big grins on their faces every time Biden "tries" to speak in public or answer questions (which his handlers want him to avoid as much as possible)?

Doc Samson

@jps - CNN et. al. don't allow their viewers to see how the other news agencies are laughing at Bumblin' Biden.

And "afraid"? Oh, sweet peanut! [lol][lol][lol]

hagansan

"every time Biden "tries" to speak in public" . . .

In February, 2020 Atlantic magazine ran an in depth article about Joe Biden's lifelong struggle with speech difficulty and stuttering.

He may not be the most eloquent public speaker, but his intellect, energy and grasp of national politics vastly exceeds the moronic policies of The Former Guy, who managed to kill thousands of citizens with his pandemic nonsense alone, not to mention other piles of stink he presided in over four catastrophic years.

Blackhorsegirl

Nope. They are afraid. The United States now has a real leader.

jps320161

Yeah boy aren't things great? Forget about skyrocketing violent crime in all those defund the police cities. Isn't it wonderful how hundreds of thousands from many countries can illegally stream across our "closed" border to access all kinds of benefits and not worry about Covid tests? Who cares if we lose our energy independence? Plus a VP who doesn't stir things up by not doing anything and an awe inspiring president who, after all, does eventually make a point after checking his notes. Too good to be true.

Blackhorsegirl

Naaaah, hate is too strong a word and takes too much energy. You’re not worth it.

hagansan

"about skyrocketing violent crime"

Yeah, about that . . .

"Both the FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics data show dramatic declines in U.S. violent and property crime rates since the early 1990s, when crime spiked across much of the nation."

Crime statistics are notoriously difficult, but the reference is worth reading:

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/11/20/facts-about-crime-in-the-u-s/

Just another example of what seems apparent may not be so accurate from the conservative media mill.

RightSide

So why do progressives choose "unhappy" every single day? They hate America, they hate Trump, they hate Fox News, they hate NewsMax, they hate all Republicans, etc. They just hate. Period. Haters gonna hate.

hagansan

"They hate America" . . .

Or maybe they just hate lies, kitty grabbin' pole dancing starlet schtuppin, fraudulent "universities" and "foundations" forced to remit restitution and close, inaugural fund vanishing calloused denial of impending climate disaster, military parades and monkey business and international scorn and derision from former allies, all-time record indictments of associates and attorneys, money grabbing emoluments and bleach injecting nonsense, refusal to address scientific advice causing the pandemic deaths of thousands, just to mention a few. . .

The cult of hero worship might have been understandable four years ago, but at this point, in the aftermath of the Big Lie and rejection of fair and proper election results with your hero complicit in a shocking and disgusting insurrection attempt-- do you really want to go with your position now? Really? I mean-- Really???

Spock Here

Maybe not as "happy" as I could be, but much calmer than I've been in about 4 years.

Journey2goremtns1

"Regrettably, we still see letters in the paper, full of anger and blame, from people who voice terrifying fears that we are approaching an end to civilization! So sad." Nooooo, we're fighting against your twisted, anti-American, and Constitution killing vision of your party!

cuphaus

Well said.

hagansan

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Blackhorsegirl

Yes, Mr. Hagansan, there is joy and beauty everywhere. The past 18 months have been hard. After the January 6th insurrection, I suffered PTSD. It’s over now and I find great joy in watching the hummingbird flit about my hanging petunias.

I can’t let the bad behavior of the bad actors ruin my life. I’ll find joy in the hummingbirds.

Doc Samson

"After the January 6th insurrection, I suffered PTSD"

Thank you for the laughter you bring into my life! [lol]

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