The Maha on How to Be Happy

TODD: I was trepidatious about today because I didn’t want to get super emotional like I did Thursday of last week when we bid Rush farewell and Godspeed to heaven. But it’s been just the opposite. It’s been a blast just as a radio guy, just to hear what that man was able to do behind a microphone.

It is just… To hear it in a new way, not just as a listener. It’s just remarkable. People who didn’t know, they didn’t know. They didn’t care to know. They didn’t care to know how much optimism Rush had. He was the eternal optimist. He is now eternally happy, due to the grace of God. But he was the eternal optimist. Rush was the eternal optimist. He is now. God has made him eternally happy. There’s a sound bite here I want you to hear. This is our Maha with advice on how we can be happy.

RUSH: How many times have you heard me say, “If you want to really be happy and content, turn off the television”? Try it, I’ve said. Turn it off for a week and see how your life changes. The cutting edge of societal evolution. “A new study suggests one possibility: Maybe we need to be smarter about how we spend our time. And, no, that doesn’t mean watching more TV. Feeling unpleasant. You can think of your happiness as having three components. First, there’s your basic disposition — whether you are, by nature, a happy person or not.

“Second, there’s your life circumstances, your age, health, marital status, income. Third factor, which is how you spend your time, something you have a fair amount of control over.” The other things you might not. “This is the subject of a major new study by academics Daniel Kahneman, Alan Krueger, David Schkade,” a whole bunch of idiots.

“For the study, the five professors surveyed some 4,000 Americans, asking what they did the previous day and then quizzing them in detail about three randomly selected events from the day.” The bottom line is, the less TV people watch, the happier they were. Now, I told you to try this years ago.

Here’s the bottom line on the professors and their study of happiness, contentment, and so forth. “The standout cluster was what the authors label “engaging leisure and spiritual activities,” things like visiting friends, exercising, attending church, listening to music, fishing, reading a book, sitting in a cafe or going to a party.

“When we spend time on our favorite of these activities, we’re typically happy, engrossed and not especially stressed.” Time goes by, we’re not bored. We have more leisure time than ever before in our society, and yet we’re not doing those things. We’re zoning out. We’re sittin’ in front of the television.

“[T]here’s been a significant increase in the hours devoted to what the authors call ‘neutral downtime,’ which is mostly watching television. Women now spend 15% of their waking hours staring at the [television], while men devote 17%. Watching TV may be low-stress and moderately enjoyable. But people aren’t mentally engaged the way they are when they’re, say, exercising or socializing” with other people.

Try it, folks. You really should. Just listen to this program and don’t watch any television, especially news. Don’t! Don’t, and spend the time doing things with your family, your spouse (if you can handle that), or going out with friends or what have you, just for a week, maybe. If you can’t do that, try three days (TV is addicting to some people), and you just see if you’re not better off. See if you’re not more content, if you’re not less worried all the time.

TODD: Took that advice. I haven’t had a TV in 20 years.

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