Kay Merriam

Kay Merriam

To wish you a Happy New Year might seem a little “yeah, yeah, yeah”, “are you kidding?” or “so, which of the many, many parties should I go to?” Based on the fact that lots of us, whether young, old or somewhere in between, are looking for a party or get together where we can drink yummy concoctions, have crazy conversations with people we don’t know and then get started on 2019. In the midst of this joyous attempt to say goodbye to a somewhat mixed up year, we can think about the necessary requirement to list things we will not do, things we will do and or a little of both.

So instead of dwelling on the above mentioned opportunities or decisions, let’s make this New Year’s resolutions focus on happiness. Start by thinking back on what made you happy during 2018. Examples may be small or large, but remember what made you feel a sense of warmth, belonging, tenderness or the happiness that came from doing something really helpful, thoughtful or caring whether to one person or a football stadium full of people. If there were several individuals, groups or problems that you were helpful to in different ways, you then have an opportunity to write down two or three resolutions that will identify those actions rather than how you are going to smoke less, eat less, be nicer to your in-laws and the like for your list for the coming 2019 year.

An important source of happiness is to spend some time considering the happiness you gained from your personal ways of thinking. For example, did you smile at someone, even when they had just said something that didn’t seem very nice? Did you listen to an argument that opposes your vision of the “right way” to see issues and then speak up with the intent of shattering that discussion? If so, spend some time contemplating how you could have provided a way for seeing the thrust of the argument differently. Sure, you say; do you think you could have come up with a clever choice of words?

That is probably true, but it does provide an opportunity to think and perhaps even research a different response. My husband had a way of dealing with arguments and/or information that was beyond the factual scope of a conversation. He would quietly say, “Here is some information that can provide you with a broader view of this issue (whatever the issue was)”. Then he would hand an article written by a well-known person to his adversary. By doing so, he did not have to argue a perspective that was held through belief rather than fact. As a result, ideas could be, and were, quietly rectified.

Enough time spent considering how we can put happy thoughts into our list of resolutions through treatment of others. Let’s think about ourselves and happiness. It is said that happiness comes from within, so an easy way to approach it would merely be to say; “I am happy today.” There it is: another resolution for our list. Is it easy to be happy regardless of what is going on or what sad thing has happened? Well, if we keep from being critical, judgmental, superior or demanding we can work at getting through a day feeling glad to be alive and happy within ourselves, even if we have just lost a loved one.

Sometimes, individuals say; “I am worried.” Or “I have been worried for weeks.” Worry accomplishes very little. If we are worried, perhaps our resolution should be; “What can I do to solve the problem?” If there is nothing you could do, then it is time to go back to our resolution “to be happy”. If there is something you can do, then do it. But, it would seem that if you are feeling happy, you can perhaps do a better job of dealing with a worry.

So, here we are at the end of the article that is supposed to tell you about something fun to do on New Year’s. Instead, you are getting a possible list of resolutions that can be met through thinking about others, resolving disagreements, and remembering that happiness come from within. So, give it a try: happiness may seem like “pie in the sky” but you are where it comes from and it is you who will benefit either through helping others or living in a joyous way.

Kay Merriam of Pocatello has a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. She was the president of the state League of Women Voters for two years and president of the Pocatello chapter for two years as well. She was the president of the Bannock County Planning and Zoning Committee for 11 years and on the Pocatello-Chubbuck District 25 School Board for six years.