Happiness is a skill

2014 was the year I got serious about happiness.

It was a strange thing to look at my life and realize how rarely I was happy. I'm making a good living as a writer, which has always been my dream. I have a wonderful family, and we all have our health. It felt like I had hit all the necessary milestones to feel both very adult and very content, but my brain rarely rewarded me with the sort of happiness I craved.

I've often heard that happiness is a skill, not a feeling, and I realized how little time I was spending working on the skill of happiness, while waiting passively for the feeling to reach me. It also seemed like my love of gaming and pop culture was hindering this journey, not helping.

From Steam sales to streaming content there was always so much to do, so many piles of shame, that even free time began to feel overwhelming and stressful as I tried to get through everything I wanted to do in the rare time I had for my "fun" pursuits after the children went to sleep. When Netflix, the Kindle app, a gaming laptop and gaming consoles both new and classic offered nearly endless choices, it's easy to become overwhelmed without playing or consuming anything you used to find enjoyable.

This is how I deal with these feelings, and it's a combination of many small things that led me to be much more content and less skittish about not only gaming in particular, but life in general. You're free to take or reject any bit of this advice, everyone is different and you may already be perfectly content with life, but if even one of these things I've learned helps you, that's a win. Here we go!

Odd to find a random nugget of wisdom on a gaming website, but I find myself nodding along at the notion that happiness is a skill, not a feeling. I suspect many of our emotions are actual human constructs, and not, as we are often led to believe, some intrinsic neurological wiring. The importance of believing happiness is a skill is that it puts the control of your own happiness in your own hands.