Being cheerful means being positive and optimistic; it is an attitude of happiness and the benefits of a cheerful outlook are numerous. Being cheerful is a wonderful choice that we can make for ourselves when we remember that we get to choose the thoughts and feelings we pay attention to in our day.
Being cheerful is not about denying or repressing our feelings or experiences, refusing to heal or dismissing suffering; it is simply a joyful and inspiring perspective on the world that makes us feel better on every level. Being cheerful helps us in a number ways to be creative, more productive, energised, more resilient, mentally and physically healthy and even increases life expectancy.
Science tells us that there a number of ways to increase the happiness in our lives – exercise, enough sleep, time spent with friends and family, time spent in nature – yet until we really understand that we have the choice to be cheerful – to be optimistic and happy in our approach to life – then no doing is likely to change our thinking on a long term basis because happiness will seem conditional.
Cheerfulness lives inside us and is always looking for an opportunity to bubble up to the surface. We can be in the deepest darkest depression and still howl with laughter at a joke or grieving an inconceivable loss and find something hysterically funny. These moments of relief from pain and suffering let us know that we have access to cheerfulness and happiness at all times and that when we fall into them, it’s good for us.
The idea of a cheerful person is of someone able to deal with life with a light and easy going attitude, who gets on with things and is unlikely to dwell or be overwhelmed by despair. This doesn’t make cheerfulness a virtue and it doesn’t make somebody dealing with depression less good or unworthy. It’s just that cheerfulness is attractive because it speaks to the wellbeing within. Cheerfulness dispels doom and worry and is enjoyable to be around. Those who are cheerful are bright and upbeat and they spark the same within us as they remind us of the lighter side of life.
Cheerfulness not only helps us thrive, it is essential for survival. We cannot successfully navigate the human condition from a dark and depressed mindset because we lose faith and hope and connection to something greater than ourselves.
One of the most common regrets of the dying is that they didn’t allow themselves to be happier and ‘allow’ is the key word here. Once we realise that we get to choose the thoughts and feelings we focus on and that happiness is available to us if we allow it to shine through, we are on the path of wellbeing and can only reap the benefits of cheerfulness.
Header image: The Snail, Henri Matisse