The Duty of Being Happy

Ellen DeGeneres“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”  

~ Robert Louis Stevenson


If you were told that it was your job to be happy today, could you do it? Is happiness something that we choose or something that happens to us?

So often people think of life events as being outside their control, and it’s true that a lot of them are.

The only things we can always control are our reactions and our attitude.

Robert Louis Stevenson refers to being happy as a duty. We owe it to ourselves and to those around us to try to find something, however small, to be happy about each day.

Moods can be contagious. If you are sitting next to someone who is perpetually yawning, before you know it, you will be yawning too. If you’re sitting in a long lecture and someone starts coughing, you may suddenly find yourself with the urge to cough.

But what about being happy or sad?

If you are around someone who is determined to be grumpy or hopeless, you probably feel your own mood start to turn to gloominess or despair.

Likewise if you’re around someone who is upbeat and cheerful, there’s a good chance your mood will improve.

I know if I turn the Ellen DeGeneres show on, I am always fascinated at the way she can almost always get people to smile and dance.

Ellen DeGeneres is a walking good mood. It’s pretty hard to be gloomy around her. She deliberately spreads happiness on a daily basis.

What kind of energy are we spreading?

We have to give some thought to the effect we are having on other people with our moods and our attitudes.

Maybe it really is our duty to try to be happy, if for no other reason than to spread joy to those around us.

Smile. It’s contagious.

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