Every day we receive new tips for being happy, usually from fading celebrities.
Currently in bookstores, you can find Happy: Finding Joy In Every Day And Letting Go of Perfect by Fearne Cotton, recommended by Craig David “for anyone looking to find true, consistent happiness.”
The writer Marc Reklau has published no less than 13 books explaining how to be happy. Among them are How to Become a People Magnet and Love Yourself FIRST! On his website, he describes these books as “international bestsellers”, although that may just be his publisher’s way of keeping him happy.
Celebrities wrote children’s books, largely because they require very few words and can be fleshed out with illustrations.
Today they give us advice on how to be happy. Most of their advice revolves around the narcissistic idea that whoever you are – Kim Jong-un, Gordon Ramsay or Liz Truss – the secret to happiness is to love yourself more.
Craig Brown recommends a fishing spot to find the path to true happiness (Stock image)
The late Tina Turner began her book Happiness Becomes You by saying, “Thank you for being you, exactly as you are. »
The Duchess of Sussex has never been short of advice on the subject. She once revealed that the phrase “You have to know that you are enough” is “a mantra that has now become so deeply ingrained in me that not a day goes by without hearing it echoing in my head.”
“Never forget that you have the fundamental right to love and be loved, to succeed and be happy,” advised former TV personality Noel Edmonds in his crazy book Positively Happy: Cosmic Ways To Change Your Life. He then asked his readers to “remember this: Wait, I’m a special person.” I have the right to be happy in what I do.
In her handbook Thrive: The Third Metric To Defining Success And Create A Life Of Well-Being, Wisdom And Wonder, Arianna Huffington, the bold founder of the Huffington Post, told her readers: “Forgive yourself for the judgments you make about against these. yourself.’
I imagine another famous self-help guru, Russell Brand, reciting these words over and over as he ponders his future.
In my experience, one of the surest paths to unhappiness is to read books that tell you how to be happy.
Living by the sea, I sometimes look out my bedroom window at fishermen sitting alone in their little black tents, in the wind and rain. They are often there all night.
I wonder what brings them there. Are they a) deeply happy or b) deeply unhappy? Psychologists from three British universities believe they have discovered the answer.
After surveying 1,700 men, they found that fishermen are significantly happier than the rest of us and less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. The more they fish, the better they feel.
“Exposure to blue spaces can lead to improved mental health and well-being. Recreational fishing is an effective way to achieve this,” conclude the psychologists.
On the same day the report was released, the irrepressible Gyles Brandreth – one of the few people I know who can lift the spirits of any room he enters – offered his own advice on how to be happy.
He said his former manager, Mr. Stokes, then 82, told him: “Busy people are happy people.” These five words, he says, influenced his entire life.
David Hockney, 86, is another great advertisement for staying busy. He is more prolific than ever, painting canvases full of hope and joy.
In a terrific series of TV interviews with Melvyn Bragg, he adopts the discipline of getting up early and starting work straight away. “When you’re older, you realize that everything else is nothing compared to painting and drawing.”
Can these two different approaches to happiness – fishing and working – both be true? One is to do nothing but sit and hold a cane, while the other is to do as much as possible.
Oddly enough, I think these may be two perfectly true approaches to achieving the same goal.
Happiness gurus tell us to think more about ourselves and how wonderful we must surely be. But fishing and working are two ways of thinking about a world beyond us, a world beyond the reach of personal development gurus.