Use Kurt Vonnegut’s Happiness Trick

There is no exact opposite of “complain” in English. All nearby verbs require an object: you can praise a thing or compliment, but you can complain, period. Be that as it may, Kurt Vonnegut says you have to do it. It will make you happier.

Austin Cleon, a writer and artist who inspires calendar people, loves to share tips and ideas from Vonnegut . His final advice comes from Vonnegut’s latest book, The Man Without a Country essay collection. Vonnegut describes his uncle Alex as saying that people “so rarely noticed when they were happy.”

So, when in the summer, say, we drank lemonade under an apple tree and lazily chatted about this and that, almost buzzing like bees, Uncle Alex suddenly interrupted the pleasant chat and exclaimed: “If this is not good, I will not.” I don’t know what it is.

So I am doing the same now, and so are my children and grandchildren. And I urge you to notice when you are happy, exclaim, mumble or think at some point: “If this is unpleasant, I do not know what it is.”

This is the most stripped-down version of a gratitude diary, where you write down the things you are grateful for . According to research , gratitude journals have helped people improve their long-term sense of well-being, including those with depression. It helps whether things are going well or badly, because for the vast majority of us, every day, even on our worst days, there is at least one little thing to be grateful for.

Gratitude makes you happier . This is the simplest form of self-care, and the only trick is not to forget about it. You can receive reminders from the app , send thank you emails , keep a diary in bed, or share your gratitude with your partner . (My partner and I use the latter method to manage stress and sleep better.)

Or you can simply say out loud when applicable, “If this is unpleasant, I don’t know what.” This is corny. But this is corny Vonnegut, and it is always normal.


Leave a Reply