The Line Between Depression and Exuberance

November 19, 2014 9:43 PM

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May of us live somewhere between depression and exuberance. Not quite exuberant, there is enthusiasm, and just below that, happiness, then a bit lower is satisfaction, then we get to "just treading water" kind of waiting for something to happen. Under that there is dissatisfaction, then unhappiness, sadness, and finally, depression. So our scale (which I just made up) goes from one: depression to nine: exuberance. Where do you place yourself in the morning as you wake up? Do you jump out of bed and look forward to your day or do you groan and pull the covers up tighter? Where are you on the scale after breakfast, midday, evening? Do you see yourself going up on the scale as the day goes by or going down? Of course it depends a lot on the activities of the day. Some days are just more fun and others are necessary drudgery. But studies have shown that we have a pretty consistent happiness gage and that no matter what happens, some of us manage to be in the same spot on the scale no matter what goes on in our day or in our lives. In other words, we are born with a happiness thermostat⎯an emotional profile that changes little whether it is winning the state lottery or losing a spouse. After the initial euphoria of winning or the grieving of losing, most people return to their original emotional state.

Seldom do we, as adults, become exuberant. We did as children. I remember how much I looked forward to going for an ice cream at the corner drug store or how wonderful it was to go to a Saturday matinee with my friends. Children are exuberant. They jump up and down and clap their hands. Puppies and ...

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