“Misery loves company and our company loves misery.”
–I.M. Kidding, NOT founder
The happiness movement has reached epidemic proportions. It is now constantly in the news, and more blogs, journals and websites are featuring outcome studies indicating that happiness is within our grasp. Too many scientists, teachers and practitioners are pointing the way to cheerfulness. Where is it all going to end?
Negatively Oriented Therapy (NOT) is specifically designed to blunt and reverse happiness. Here is an excerpt from a book we are working on that we have little or no hope of getting published. Stumbling on Misery is not likely to see the light of day. But this would be the introduction. Here are the top 10 ways to get you into, or help you maintain, a foul mood.
- Dwell on the missed opportunities, broken relationships and mistakes you have made. Barbara Fredrickson’s work on positivity says we need a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts. If you dwell on what has gone wrong you’ll never get close.
- Do not count your blessings. Counting blessings is one of the surest ways to stop negative thoughts from building up a critical mass. Instead, count your miseries. There are many more of them and they are easier to remember.
- Isolate from others and do not socialize. Avoid support groups of any kind, and develop a new fear every day. Avoid twelve step programs that are effective in helping with support and recovery. In particular do not engage in any of the online support programs at Psych Central. There are over 160 of these and you need to be vigilant and steer clear. Remember the N.O.T motto is: Stay alone — don’t ask any questions.
- Practice mindlessness. Let your mind drift into unfocused rumination about the past until you find something to hold a grudge against, criticize, or feel guilty about. Mindfulness meditation has had too many studies done supporting its effectiveness. Forget about the power of now, and wallow in the power of then. Back then is where we made our mistakes. Review them and make-believe they are happening now.
- When bad things happen catastrophize about the event. Resilience training is now helping too many people including children and people in the military. Always think the worst rather than other interpretations. Even if things turn out, you’ll at least be miserable until they do.
- Never read anything by Martin Seligman, Daniel Gilbert, Sonia Lyubomirsky, or Dacher Keltner or anyone associated with the Positive Psychology movement. Instead read the headlines from several news media sources so that the images of horrific news items and the details consume your daily thoughts. Remember the goal is to feel as helpless as possible, with no control. Watch the most disturbing TV news just before you go to sleep. Do not read something uplifting or humorous. Having a sense of helplessness right before bedtime will insure disturbed sleep, the essential ingredient in feeling miserable.
- Eat junk and processed food and plenty of sugar. Simple sugars alter brain chemistry very rapidly and will make you feel good for only about an hour. You can tolerate this. Because afterward your brain chemistry and serotonin levels will crash and you’ll crave simple carbohydrates. Keep yourself dosed and numb with sugar and processed foods. Avoid reading anything by Eat Right, the American Dietetic Association or anything about healthy nutrition. Note what Andrew Weil says to do and do the opposite.
- Kindness kills the urge to feel bad, helpless and ineffectual. If you accidentally do something that is kind do not look to do it again. Studies show that counting acts of kindness will increase your feelings of well-being. The best way to stop this is to knock it off. This goes for compassion too.
- Generosity and the link to happiness is too strong to ignore. Avoid businesses with generosity as a business model, such as Tom’s Shoes. Studies show that giving to others rather than to ourselves makes us feel better. Dedicate yourself to your misery and be stingy with what you have. It’s yours and you have the right to hold on to it. Remember: gloom is the goal; generosity is as bad as kindness and compassion.
- Exercise and the connection to well-being is well established. Inactivity and being a futon potato is less productive and keeps your body and blood chemistry sluggish. If you have a choice between taking a walk and sitting and doing nothing, do nothing. Draw the shades for an extra bonus. The clinical studies on vitamin D and sunshine suggest that they can enhance your mood. Remember our slogan: A dark room is a dark mood.
- Yeah. I know I said top 10 but this is to remind you that having expectations can be both disappointing and confusing. Keep your expectations high and this will allow others to chronically disappoint you. At least this will keep you grumpy.
As a final note, if you are stuck with a chronic foul mood do not use any of the antidepressant medications, and don’t research natural remedies known to help stabilize a mood like L5HTP, and SAM-e. Stay stuck. Medicine and psychotherapy are the most powerful tools in breaking the chronicity of negative thinking. Seeking help is a sure sign that you are on your way to feeling better. We’ll have none of this. Never under any circumstances try psychotherapy. The find help tab at the top of this webpage should be blacked out with a magic marker.
Keep this quote for inspiration:
There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness and death.
— Fran Lebowitz
Disclaimer: N.O.T is not an alternative treatment method. It is offered only as a complementary approach to maintaining a state of misery.