Cancer and Google’s Science of Happiness

Does Google know the secret to happiness?  Is it as simple as “wishing” it were so?  Maybe, according to Chade-Meng Tan, a Google engineer who is determined to ease the stress and unhappiness of his co-workers.

His 3-step plan is intuitive, and even has some scientific evidence supporting it.  Read all about it here:

CNN:  Google’s algorithm for happiness

As a cancer-survivor, I have struggled with anxiety and depression.  The funny thing is, though, that I was happiest when I was in the most danger of dying from my cancer.  Anxiety and happiness are not mutually exclusive, I found.

Most of my anxiety and depression set in post-treatment, though.  After the chemo.  After the surgeries.  After the radiation.  When I was home, told my fight was “over” and it was just “wait and see.”  Come back every three to six months and we’ll check you out.  That’s when my inner demons reigned supreme.

When I was fighting the cancer, when I was losing weight and hair at astonishing rates, I was happy.  I grabbed my life with everything I had and appreciated everything.  I did my best to ignore the looming death creeping up behind me and focus only my happy moments and on the good things in my life.  Left behind were any annoyances that were previous happiness sucks.  Issues that would spiral me into anxiety were deliberately rejected.

Instead, I focused on the things I loved.  My wife.  My children.  The beauty of a sunset.  The cuddle of my beagle.  A silly video game. These things became my day.  I learned to highlight the positive and diminish the bad.

That’s a big part of the “Google Happiness” plan in the CNN article above.  I think it’s spot on.

Now that my cancer battle is not so pressing, and life has become more mundane, I’ve forgotten this lesson.  I all too often let stress and anxiety be a larger part of my day that they deserve.  I don’t “count my blessings” and note my moments of joy.

This article came at a good time.  While there are some people who can’t just “decide” to be happy and need drugs or therapy to help them, for many of us it is simply a choice.  It’s time for me to choose happiness.  You should too.

Cancer has touched the lives of millions.  If you are a cancer fighter, or a family member of someone who is fighting cancer, you have my support and all the hope I have to give.  Read my blog detailing much of my cancer experience here: binarybiker.com/cancer-blog

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