(Top photo: Franklin Hunting, via)
Safe to admit we're all idling at a six to maybe a seven out of ten on the ol' happiness scale at any one time, isn't it? This bald illusion that we are all happy and experiencing joy. I mean, sure: there are occasional spikes of a nine or a ten, on birthdays and Christmases, at the weddings of people you love, when your team scores a goal, when you get that text back, when you're really, really drunk; but on the whole it's a level six, isn't it, with more drops to the basement of two and three than euphoric rises beyond eight. I think we can all admit that. We can all say that thing. Come, let us rise, our voices as one, in unison: I am not wildly happy but I'm not magnificently sad, so let's just chill with that, shall we, let's not upset the status quo.
Anyway, today is [checks press releases] the "International Day of Happiness, 2017", a day to be happy and joyous, I suppose. "Thousands of people all around the world are taking action to support the International Day of Happiness," the happiness website says. "Let's create a happier world together." How, though? There's a downloadable PDF that tells you about the "GREAT DREAM", giving advice such as "live life mindfully" and "be comfortable with who you are", but all it makes me think is: who are these psychopaths, these happy people? Who are they? You see them, sometimes, don't you, whistling or gardening: genuine, to-their-bones fundamentally cheerful people. They head up Girl Guide groups and sing at church. They garden while wearing a big bonnet. They say, "Ooh, choccy!" before they eat chocolate. These happy people, these strangers. They walk amongst us. They wriggle amongst us, with their happy smiles, on their happy faces. I loathe them. I hate them with my life.
Anyway, here's five ways to get happy, Right! Fucking! Now!
EAT YELLOW FOOD YOU MISERABLE FUCKING SHIT
Some study that came out in October last year says the key to happiness is eating "yellow foods", so bananas and macaroni cheese and lemon cake – shit like that. I mean, three caveats: the study was commissioned by The Happy Egg Company, who literally sell yellow food (eggs) in a yellow box that says "happy" on it, so – and I'm not speculating about their dark and shifty motivations for saying yellow food makes people happier! I'm not! I'm not saying this egg-commissioned study saying eggs are good is corrupt! – but I'm not 100 percent sure this study was unbiased; two, the most happy-inducing food, according to the study, was quote-unquote "a plate of omelettes", which is a lie – nobody has ever truly been rendered ecstatic by an omelette, it is a Monday night dinner for Monday night people; and three, yellow is very close to "beige", which we all accept is often the worst food that is the worst for you, and nothing makes you happy when you're eating a toast sandwich, only the sweet embrace of death. But eat a banana, it'll cheer you up.
MOVE TO THE HEBRIDES YOU SAD WANKER
The Outer Hebrides is the happiest part of the UK, according to the latest wellbeing analysis released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The data reveals people living on the islands off the west coast of Scotland and in certain districts of Northern Ireland ranked their happiness higher than any other part of the country, while people in London reported having the most anxiety. (via)
An ONS study last year found that the Outer Hebrides – that place you only ever end up at through a series of disasters where Your One Mate Who Can Drive says it'll be a really fun, cheap holiday for the two of you one year, to go to the Outer Hebrides and drive around it in a hired Vauxhall, and you start really excitedly making road trip playlists and preparing snacks for the road, lots of woollen jumpers and knitted hats for the trip, and then six hours into the ride you are lost and darkness is fast approaching (it's only 2PM? How?) and you can't get enough 4G reception to find where the hostel you're booked to stay at actually is, so, in desperation, you both end up half-huddled in the back of the car, sort of sleeping but not, both of you pressed together under a pile of your hoodies and coats, feet freezing, and when you wake up the next day ("waking up" being an exaggeration, really, because you can't wake up if you didn't really sleep; but when the sun comes up and you open your eyes and start talking again, at least) then the car is sort of warm and horrible, the windows steamed up, those sandwiches you made so excitedly yesterday limp and curling, and you chew a load of gum because you haven't got any bottled water to wash your teeth, and you both decide, after jumping up outside for five minutes to "stretch your legs", you both decide that, actually, shall we drive back to where we got the car from and change our train tickets and go home three days early?, and your friend says: yes, and you both get the ferry back to reality in stark, stark silence – anyway turns out the Outer Hebrides is the happiest place to live in in the UK. So give up this life of yours, with broadband fast enough to watch Netflix on, and people to talk to, and access to more than six shops: it's not making you happy. Move instead to the Outer Hebrides, where red-faced Scottish people can forever make you feel unwelcome.
BECOME A RECRUITER THEN YOU FUCKING JOYLESS D I C K W A D
Every single recruitment worker is a tight-faced man called "Craig" who wears a shirt and tie with no blazer and calls you only at mad o'clock on a Wednesday night asking desperately if you can do a back-to-back cleaning shift "starting at 6, tomorrow, I'm afraid" and seemingly has a pathological need to fuck your time sheets up ("I'm going to need you to fax it again, I'm afraid, actually, because I'm calling you now from the year 1985") and looks at your CV like it's something you dredged from a pond they found a body in and says "there's not much experience on here, is there?" when literally his own personal work history reads "2009 — present: recruiter", and I hate him, these Craigs. They are not evil because they do not have the intelligent capacity to be, but if they ever did become smart – a scientist injects them with a monkey hormone, or something; a rare head trauma causes them to learn how to write emails that aren't in purple font – then they would surely, surely be the most evil persons alive. Forbes reckons they are the happiest working people in the world. Become one.
TAKE SELFIES THEN, I DON'T KNOW, NOTHING IS WORKING WITH YOU ANYWAY, GOD CHEER UP WILL YOU, IT'S LIKE YOU LIKE BEING SAD
I feel like we will never truly process the cultural significance or insignificance of selfies. By "we" I mean "everyone alive today": we seem to think, most of us, that selfies are a milestone in culture; that developing the technology to take and share them was revolutionary, and that the widespread taking and sharing of selfies is part of the vital blood that pumps throughout society like a heartbeat, pump pump pump, pump, pump pump pump. And then, in that, you have two main strands of thought: everyone's dad, who thinks taking them is some sort of act of extravagant vanity; and anyone with more than 3,000 Instagram followers, who sees them as a near-violent act of self love. We are all going to have to die and a new generation be born and they die, and another generation born again, before we have the mental acuity to process any of this. We – alive people, today – will honestly never know what the living fuck is up with selfies and whether they are good or bad.
That won't stop people guessing, though. Like, look: a study from the University of California, Irvine said selfies make you happy. "Our research showed that practicing exercises that can promote happiness via smartphone picture taking and sharing can lead to increased positive feelings for those who engage in it," said lead study author Yu Chen. There. There you go. Take a picture – that'll cheer you up. Take a picture of your big, fat, miserable face.
OH JUST STOP DOING ALL THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU SAD AND START DOING THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY EXCLUSIVELY
That's probably the solution, isn't it? Stop drinking and stop doing lo-to-mid grade gear on Friday and Saturdays and stop going to bed with your laptop blowing like an engine next to you and get eight hours a night and drink plenty of water and get good access to daylight and if not take your vitamins and take your vitamins anyway – take a multivitamin and then specific vitamins tailored to you; visit your doctor regularly for check ups, not just the once-every-three-years sprint to A&E when you break something; figure out which minerals your body lacks and needs and make up for them every morning with a chewable gummy; and practise meditation and try to get at least one good hour of cardio every week and try to get a few more green things into your diet and a few more eggs too, and stop reading the Daily Mail showbiz website and download an app to keep an eye on your money and spending and stop spending time with those time-sink friends – you know the friends: they text you three weeks before they want to hang out because "you have to put a date in the diary", and they always insist it is on a Monday (sidebar: and stop doing things on Mondays) and you always have to go to them and their neck of the woods; it is never near you or somewhere neutral – you always end up getting two buses home from these trips – and all you do is sit and listen while they tell you about their new job and promotion, and they have chosen a cocktail bar to meet in that is far above your pay bracket here but somehow it is 11PM and you have spent £60 (on a Monday!) and you have barely spoken about you and your problems at all, and you realise this person isn't your friend any more – maybe they once were, back when you were both in halls and bound together by proximity, but now you are two separate people on two separate and divergent paths, and you realise with a jolt that you feel nothing for this person, they could die right now – their heart just stops – and you would feel very little beyond the immediate administrative panic of figuring out what to do when a body dies in front of you – and yes, you need to stop hanging out with this person, and you need to drink more water, as we've said, and stop going on Tinder so much, too; it's mentally very bad for you.
Okay, happy International Day of Happiness, guys! Woooooo!
More of that happy shit: