A few weeks ago there was some kind of daft survey done to find out whether people were happy and I thought how stupid, who the hell's happy in today's climate of floods, economic crisis, bloody awful weather and job loss?
The answer surprisingly is Me.
I can't say I've been particularly happy for years. I can dwell on the awful things that have happened to me and be as miserable as sin in ten seconds. And I did get tired of me. I wonder if everybody else feels like this, like some days they would like to step out of themselves and leave the moaning minnie in them behind and just enjoy things.
I did try. I sat in bhs's cafe which has a gorgeous view of Elvet Bridge and listed all the good things about my life and while I was aware of them it didn't make me particularly happy and then I got an email from Mary, saying had I seen the extracts in the Daily Mail about Paul McKenna's book I Can Make You Happy?
Well, nobody is more sceptical than me and as for the Daily Mail ...
But then I bought it on the last day of the extracts and I thought this man makes sense so I went to the library and borrowed a copy of the book and started doing the exercises in the second chapter which is supposed to help you in emergency unhappy situations.
Monday was meant to be the most depressing day of the year. I met Joan as usual in Vennel's along Saddler Street. For those of you who haven't been to Durham Vennel's is a good enough reason. Their cakes and scones are yummy. And we agreed that we were inordinately cheerful that day and I had already been cheerful for several days without a break!
All I can say is if you read Paul McKenna's book you are in danger of being one of those really irritating people going around with a smile on your face. How does the man do it? I have a friend who was a heavy smoker and stopped after she had read his book on smoking and another who lost several stones in weight after reading his book on becoming thin.
I'm not saying this guy has solved misery but by heck he's made me feel better. I bought a copy half price in Smith's and for just over five quid I think it was worth every penny.
Lots of breathing, lots of calm, lots of his lovely voice telling me I'm going to be happy. I'm not usually given to such wild indulgences as being joyful but dammit I can't help myself. Being me I'll probably be as miserable as sin this next week but not if Mr (or is it Doctor, I suspect it is ) McKenna has anything to do with it. I'm doing eye exercises. I'm learning not to react negatively to new experiences. I deserve to be happy, you see. We all do.
But how fragile is it? How soon do I sink? I keep waiting for it. I've been happy for ten days now and like Mr Worry, having nothing to worry about is beginning to get me down.
I didn't know you could feel so euphoric this side of champagne.
So thank you, Paul McKenna, I hope you're out drinking Moet somewhere. Here's to you for trying to make people feel joyful.
The book says that if you want to be happy for life you should help people, in which case, Paul McKenna you should be ecstatic by now. I certainly am.
And at the top a photograph of my favourite city. Who could be unhappy in such a place other than a fool?