You should be happier. Luckily, your happiness is within your control, and I am going to tell you how to get more happiness out of your gaming time. Hurray!
The simple version is: focus on the positive. Optimists are usually happier, even under identical circumstances. “Wait,” you say, “mightn’t that be backwards? People don’t have happier lives because they think about good things; they think about good things because they have happy lives. If your life sucks, you don’t have the good things to think about!”
There is some truth there, but most people have control over their attitudes towards life, if only they could develop the right perspective. Some of us bloggers whine because we hate everyone and everything, but some of us are just blowing off steam so that we can get back to focusing on the continuous joy that is life. (We also give constructive criticism, but it is not always terribly constructive.) This week, we are going to try an experiment in improving your happiness via a gratitude journal.
Our procedure is pretty simple: for the next week, at the end of every day you play or maybe every gaming session, write down something that made you happy or for which you are grateful. Did you see something you liked? Did a pull go really well? Did something good drop for you or a friend? Did you level? Did a guildmate’s cancer go into remission? Trivial and important are both fine.
You can expand this to your entire life, but let’s contain our psychological self-experimentation for the moment. After all, we are a gaming blog, so let’s stay on-topic.
Go ahead and make a text file on your desktop, “Gaming Gratitude Journal.” Yes, it’s simple and corny, but you’ll find that many of the things that make you happy are that straightforward. Date each entry, include any explanatory notes you like. Come back in a week and cut-and-paste the lot of it as a comment. We can share our joy.
Complementing this, I hereby declare next week Shiny Happy Week. I will post every day about things I like or liked in the MMOs I have played. I invite my co-bloggers to join me with their happy thoughts, and readers should feel free to join in that festival of fanboy-ness in the comments.
The hypothesis is that our average happiness will be increased at the end of all this. Unfortunately, due to random variation or low starting points, some of you will still be unhappy. Look on the bright side: random variation may be on your side next week. Or just look on the bright side in general, because that is what we are doing.