A recent Newsweek poll states that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy about a whole host of issues. In essence, Newsweek’s poll states that most of the citizenry are plain unhappy. However, the good news is that more than 90 percent of those with depression can be treated with psychotherapy or biological therapy; while the bad news is major depression affects at least 10 million Americans. Add in four years of living with a weak economy - that’s taken jobs and homes from millions of Americans - and “what we have here is an America that’s now sort of moody blue 24/7,” says Travis, a retired psychologist discussing life with fellow jury duty members at the Lane County court house in Eugene May 3. Moreover, a recent blogger noted how Americans are “the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens.”
Finding happiness in a time of recession
Marianne squats with two-year-old daughter Kimberly while her brother Kenneth takes in a deep does of fresh Pacific Ocean air at a central Oregon coast beach recently. In turn, Marianne quips: “What’s taken us so long to visit you Ken, and this glorious beach?
In turn, the answer may be that many Americans – after dealing with four years of recession – are simply frustrated, and “feeling worthless, devalued and disrespected; that’s how people feel today,” explains Travis is sharing what he’s learned from 30 plus years as a psychologist.
One reason why Travis – a white-haired “Baby Boomer” who says he’s “pushing 70” – said he’s talking to fellow jury duty mates is that “finding a new friend is one way to kick the blues.”
Apart from the satisfaction that comes from sharing with people, Travis says “there are plenty of reasons to be blue in today’s society; but there are also plenty of reasons to be happy. Change the way you think and, perhaps, change your life,” he adds with a sly grin.
Forgive and forget is not a bad idea
Travis adds that one of the best “mental health” tonics is “that simple act of forgiveness.”
“I can’t tell you how many people have shared their angst with me, when all they had to do is forgive and forget,” he explains; while then adding a disclaimer: “I know, I know it’s easier said than done. But, give it a try. Forgive someone today.”
Meanwhile, the late Beatle John Lennon once sang about happiness being “a warm gun.”
“Happiness is a warm gun
-Yes it is.
Happiness is a warm, yes it is...
Well don't ya know that happiness is a warm gun, momma? (yeah).”
Overall, Travis thinks the first step in becoming happy is "simply realizing that you're not there yet, and need to do the work on yourself."
Image source of Marianne with two-year-old daughter Kimberly while her brother Kenneth takes in a deep does of fresh air at a central Oregon coast beach recently. Photo by Dave Masko