I think it's part of human nature (or rather evolutionary nature... which we are no doubt a part of) to keep struggling for more. More Money. More Success. More Freedom 55. And marketing has capitalized on this primitive urge for More by insinuating that if we bought Toyota Prius, some Maybeline make-up and destination holiday that we will definitely have More fun, More success and More happiness.
This is the curse of humanity... to ever struggle to achieve the intangeble happiness, which will always remain just out of reach. Ah but there's the rub, for nothing can ever help us achieve the peaceful existance that we so desire. The perfect car, the perfect house, the promotion, the money, the friends, the family, etc. will never ever make you happy or satisfied beyond a short heroin-style quick fix. Sigh and sadness at the lost of my Grimm happily ever after.
This week was dismal, with cold grey skies, homesickness (everyone else is taking vacations to see their families), and a 31st birthday that is only notable in that it is one of those prime number birthdays. My mood was suitably darkened to match rain that lashed down outside my window. However, I do know the secret... and all of my excuses for a stormy mood are simply that, empty excuses to explain away the feelings that were in fact wrought by hormonal cycling (I'll leave it to you to imagine what I mean!).
I have been in a long battle with my instinctual urge to explain my every mood by assuming that it was due to something outside of myself. (Oh if work was better, if I hadn't had that argument, if my life were different, if I was Queen of the World). Research has shown many times that happiness and sadness are not based on life events (winning the lottery versus a death) but rather on our own internal set-point.
Try making a mood diary. I did it in conjunction with my doctor to sort out my really crazy menstral cycling (I even passed out on a city bus once). What I discovered was a monthly cycle of super happy highs and pretty crappy lows. But best of all is I learned to pay no heed to those underlying tones of the day, because although this week may be grey, at least I know that the only thing I can do about it is smile and move on. (Did you know that smiling actually makes you happy? Fake it till you make it!)
For all the men out there who don't believe that they would have a monthly cycle... I say balderdash! You have a day-night sleep rhythm, I bet you use the facilities at the same time everyday and feel hungry at the same time everyday... and if your own daily rhythm isn't enough to convince you that you to have hormonal cycles: read up about chronobiology.
As for that co-worker down the hall who seems to be much happier than you? Well, they've probably joined the Happiness Project! Hey, what can it hurt? You may even recalibrate your Happiness Set Point.
Ahh well, at least I'm pretty certain that everything from the Irish made Avoca would make me happy... even if only for an hour or two. ;-)