Do you want to be happy? Of course you do, but according to new research, resting and relaxation are no way to go about it.想要快乐吗?你当然想啦,不过最新研究显示,休息放松可不能让你快乐起来。

  You're better off going to the theatre or exercising; even a visit to the library beats lounging around on the sofa.你最好去剧院看场剧,或者去做运动,即使是去图书馆看书也比躺在沙发上无所事事要强。

  Such were the findings of a joint study by the University of Sussex and the London School of Economics, which has come up with a list of 33 activities that make us happy.这是苏塞克斯大学和伦敦经济学院共同研究的发现,从中还得出了一份清单,列出了33件可以让我们快乐的事。

  One thing's for certain, texting and social media come at the bottom of the list, only increasing our happiness by a puny 0.45 per cent.可以肯定的是,短信和社交媒体只能让我们的快乐感增加微不足道的0.45%,排在了列表的末尾。

  But happiness doesn't have to come from other people. It can come from within - and connecting with the world around you.但是快乐不一定是来自别人的,它还可以源于自身,与你周围的世界有着紧密的联系。


  A few years ago I went through a period of such severe depression that life didn't seem worth living. It was like permanent winter, so bleak and cold that the sun would never shine.几年前,我曾有一段时间患了严重的抑郁症,生活于我几近无可眷恋。我感觉身处永久的严冬,连阳光也无法穿透刺骨的寒冷。

  Then I saw snowdrops pushing through the freezing, iron-hard ground. I looked at them every day until I felt that if they could come back to life, then so could I.后来我看到雪花莲从冰冷坚硬的泥土里钻出来了。我每天看着它们,心想,如果它们可以挺过这个寒冬,那我也可以。

  Those green shoots gave me hope in a way that nothing else had.唯独是这些绿色的嫩芽,用独特的方式给我带来了希望。

  As spring came, I started to put in more and more plants, until the garden was ablaze with colour. Life was growing through my hands; gentle, peaceful, but, above all, optimistic. If I gave love, it was returned, a hundredfold.春天来了,我开始不断地在花园里种各种花草,整个花园都充满了鲜艳的色彩。生命通过我的双手不断成长,迸发着柔和宁静、乐观向上的气息。我给它们的爱意,它们百倍地回报了我。

  I could spend hours lost in gardening. The form of depressive illness I have is biological. It has affected generations of my family and follows no rhyme, reason nor circumstance. I can be depressed when the sun is shining or I am surrounded by a group of loving friends.我陶醉在园艺中,不知不觉就会度过好几个小时。我患有的抑郁症是遗传性的,已经影响了我家里好几代人,无规律可循,原因不明,也不知道什么时候会发作。无论是阳光灿烂的时候,还是和一群好朋友在一起,我都有可能会郁郁寡欢。

  Of course, fresh air and exercise help to alleviate depression, but for me gardening is more than that. It represents endurance as well as hope.当然,呼吸新鲜空气和做运动能够减轻抑郁的症状,但对我来说,园艺不仅仅是一种治疗的手段。它代表着忍耐和希望。

  At the end of the first garden I made stood a tree, huge and magnificent. It withstood freezing temperatures and gale-force winds. It bent but never broke.在第一个花园的深处,我亲手种了一棵树,高大茂盛,经得住刺骨的严寒和凛冽的暴风,即使被吹弯了也从来没有折断过。

  The leaves dropped until it looked no more than a stark skeleton, but it always, always came back to life. And so I learned that we may be battled and bruised, but hope is a living thing.每次落叶纷飞,最后只剩下光秃秃的树枝,它总是可以恢复生机。从中我懂得了一个道理:我们会经受考验,会跌倒受伤,但希望是不灭的。


  I've always loved singing, but singing hasn't always loved me. I would open my mouth with an Aretha Franklin song in my head, fully expecting my voice to follow suit - only to be betrayed by a tremuloustravesty.我向来热爱唱歌,但歌唱并没有一直都回应着我的爱。当艾瑞莎·弗兰克林的歌在我的脑海中回响的时候,我会开口歌唱,满心期待着我的嗓音能够还原脑海中的声音,但我那不堪入耳的歌声却让我备受打击。

  Still, doggedly, devotedly, I continued to attempt to sing whenever possible. On car journeys, when my now twentysomething sons were small, they would make a great play (hands over their ears, shrieking 'No, Mum, stop!') of being tortured as I sang along to the radio.不过我仍然坚持不懈,对唱歌充满热情。只要一有机会,我就会开口唱歌。在我的孩子还小的时候(他们现在20多岁了),每当我跟着汽车收音机的音乐唱歌时,他们就会做出痛苦的表情,双手捂着耳朵,大叫:“妈妈快别唱了!”

  Fortunately, I have had fellow carousers in my life - some of whom could really sing.幸运的是,我有很多玩得很疯的朋友,当中就有很会唱歌的。

  The highlight of weekends with one couple was when the wife (who had sung with a band in New York) would lift up her guitar and beckon me into another room, where we would sing James Taylor and Beatles songs for hours.其中有一对夫妇,妻子在纽约组过乐队,担任主唱。和他们共度周末的时候,她会拿上吉他,带上我到另一个房间里,然后我们会唱上好几个小时,全是詹姆斯·泰勒和披头士的歌。那是我周末最快乐的时光。

  Back then, I would no more have considered joining a choir than taking up bell-ringing. And when I did eventually become a member of my first choir 15 years ago, it was long before Gareth Malone was a household name.当时的我从来没想过会加入教堂的唱诗班,就像我从来不会考虑去教堂负责敲钟一样。15年前,当我真的第一次加入唱诗班的时候,加雷思·马龙还名不见经传呢。

  But from the moment I experienced my voice as something singular but also unified, in harmony with the other singers, I was hooked. It was like falling in love.我感觉到了我的声音既是独立的,又与其他成员形成和声,融为一体。那一刻,我完全着迷了,就像堕入爱河一样。

  And everyone in the choir had the same slightly dazed smiles and bright eyes - singing made them feel happy, too.唱诗班里的每一个人脸上都挂着朦胧的微笑,两眼发亮——唱歌也让他们感到了快乐。

  Although it is singing itself that makes me happy, it is also the communality of a choir. There is something magical about breathing together; a mass of voices singing quietly together is powerful and thrillingly mysterious, almost spiritual.我的快乐源于唱歌,但唱诗班这个集体也功不可没。一起呼吸的感觉十分奇妙,如此多的声音一起静静地歌唱,充满了力量和神秘感,这是一种灵魂的感受。

  And there's the unexpected camaraderie from the activities we do as a choir, raising money for good causes and taking our singing sometimes to places where people are forgotten and sad.我们还为慈善事业筹钱,有时会去鲜有访客、缺乏生气的地方唱歌,从中我们还建立起了深厚的友谊,这是我没有预料过的。

  I am now a member of six choirs and, if I can, sing every day of the week. I will never sound like Aretha, but I stand on a stage in front of several hundred people and know that some, if not all, of each song will sound not bad at all.我现在加入了六个唱诗班,如果可以的话,我每一天都会唱歌。我永远不会有艾瑞莎的嗓音,但当我站在舞台上面对着几百个观众时,我知道哪怕我们的歌不是每一段都好听,但总有那么几首歌是不赖的。

  A DIP IN THE SEA海中游泳的快乐

  A few years ago, after I got out of rehab for treatment of alcohol addiction, I returned from London to the Orkney islands, where I grew up.几年前,我结束了酒瘾的康复治疗,从伦敦回到了我长大的地方——奥克尼群岛。

  I was newly sober, unemployed and fragile. Back home, I joined an eccentric group of mostly women, the Orkney Polar Bear Club, who, each Saturday morning year-round, swim in the sea at different spots on the island coastline. We decide our location the night before, using analysis of the wind direction and height of tide. We swim at beaches, in rockpools, down rusty ladders from piers and out around shipwrecks.我的头脑才刚刚恢复清醒,所以我没有工作,身心也很脆弱。回到家后,我加入了奥克尼北极熊俱乐部,那是一个新奇的组织,成员多是女性。成员一年四季每个星期六早上都会去岛周围的海里游泳,每次去的都是不同的地方。我们会在出发前一天晚上分析风向和潮汐,然后决定游泳地点。我们会去海滩,去岩石围住的海域,爬下码头生锈的梯子,游到沉船的残骸周围。

  The water is always bracingly cold - from 13c at the height of summer, to an icy 3c - and I wear just a swimsuit (albeit with neoprene boots and gloves, and usually a woolly hat). I don't stay in for long, but it's enough.水总是有点冷,夏天最热的时候有13度,最冷的时候只有3度,这能让人十分精神,而我只穿一件泳衣(虽然还带有橡胶靴子和手套,通常我还会戴一顶羊毛帽)。我不会游很久,但那也足够了。

  With seaweed and the Atlantic on my skin, up close to anemones and limpets, I am alive. I always feel more awake when I get out, my skin and my brain tingling, with the fresh perspective you get from being at duck level.海草和大西洋的海水触碰着我的肌肤,海葵和帽贝就在我的旁边,我真切地感到自己活着。每当我从水下回到水面的时候,我的皮肤和脑袋都会有刺痛的感觉,这时在水面看着远方清新的景色,我会觉得更加清醒,

  I also swam alone during the two winters I spent on the tiny island of Papay, the most north-westerly of the Orkneys. Sometimes I swam naked and felt like the selkies of Scottish folklore: magical beings who live as seals in the sea, then shed their skins to become human on land.我在奥克尼最西北部的帕佩小岛上待过两个冬天,期间我一直独自游泳。有时候我会一件衣服都不穿,感觉自己就像苏格兰传说中拥有魔力的精灵一样:在海里是海豹,到了岸上褪下外皮就会变成人。

  In a way I was performing my version of the cold water baths historically used in the treatment of alcoholics. I was adjusting to a sober life and finding new ways to enjoy myself.冷水浴在历史上曾被用来治疗酒瘾。在某种意义上来说,我的冷水浴也是一种治疗。我正在适应清醒的生活,寻找新方法去享受自我。

  Now, the wild swims function for me in several of the same ways as alcohol used to.现在这种狂野的游泳已经代替了酒精,在我身上发挥了一些很好的功效。

  First, they provide a buzz: the 'cold water high'. Second, they're an effective method of stress relief. The cold ocean blasts away anxiety.首先,游泳会让我兴奋——冷水引起的兴奋。第二,游泳能有效地减轻压力,寒冷的海水会冲走焦虑。

  My focus is simply on not drowning, and when I clamber back on to the beach, I feel almost reborn and my worries are smaller.我的注意力只需放在保持身体不下沉上,而当我爬上岸的时候,我便感到重获新生,我的忧虑也会变少。

  I also use the swims to celebrate the changing seasons. On the spring solstice, I will have been sober for five years and I plan to celebrate, with joy and gratitude, in cold water.每到换季,我都会去游泳庆祝一下。等到下一个春天来临的时候,我就已经保持清醒五年了。到时候我会怀着喜悦和感激,到冷水中去庆祝。


  If I told you being alone can make me happy, might you raise an eyebrow?如果我告诉你,独处可以使我快乐,你会不会感到惊讶呢?

  A couple of years back I sailed my boat to Cape Horn and back, a round trip of 18,000 miles, and for 12,000 of them I was as alone on this planet as it is possible to be. Land was more than 1,000 miles away. And I was very happy to be there. Not all of the time - there's not much happiness when the wind blows and the seas tumble across your boat.许多年前,我撑船来回了一趟合恩角,全程18000英里,其中的12000英里我是独自一人度过的。陆地在离我1000英里以外的地方,那种感觉就好像世界上就只有我一个人了。我那时很高兴,但不是所有的时间都是高兴的——天刮着大风、海浪把你的船打翻的时候你也不会高兴到哪里去。

  But when the ocean gives you a break from storm and tempest, I find a more fundamental kind of happiness than any on land.但当大海平静下来,让我在暴风雨中喘口气的时候,我感到了一种强烈的快乐,那是在陆地上从未有过的。

  One night, in one of the calms in the infamous doldrums, the stars came out, and suddenly they were perfectly reflected in the sea - I was floating among the stars!一天夜晚,我正身处一片无人问津的海域。这时,星星出来了,一下子倒映在平静的海面上,而我似乎就漂浮在漫天星光之中!

  Other sailors have written that such experiences reinforce their insignificance amid the vastness of the universe. But in that moment I felt at the very centre of the universe.一些在海上航行过的人在书中描写过类似的经历,这样的体验让他们愈发觉得自己在这浩瀚的宇宙中是多么渺小。然而,我当时却感觉自己是宇宙的中心。

  And then back in the embrace of loved ones when the journey's over, I can tell them this tale and, I hope, make them happy in turn.旅途结束之后,我回到所爱的人身边,我会把这个故事告诉他们,我希望他们也能感受到我的快乐。


  Chase after happiness too hard, and it evaporates between your fingers. The trick is to let it creep up on you unawares. I am happiest when I am lost in my own imagination.过分追求快乐,快乐就会从你的指间溜走。获得快乐的窍门就是让它在你不经意间来到你身边。沉醉在自己想象中时是我最快乐的时候。

  I people-watch and try to work out what their story is. And the best place to do this is the daily commute. Everybody uses public transport: rich, poor, old and young.我喜欢观察别人,然后想象出他们的故事。上下班途中是做这个的最佳时机。无论穷富老少,每个人都会使用公共交通工具

  I try to pick up clues from the shoes they wear, the state of their fingernails, the depth of their laughter lines.我会在很多地方找到线索,比如鞋子的款式、指甲的样子和笑纹的深度。

  I have learned not to stare, and since the advent of smartphones, this has become a lot easier. Commuters tend to be so distracted by their electronic devices, they don't often look up.我观察的时候可以不盯着别人看,而智能手机的出现让观察变得更容易了。人们的注意力总是在他们的电子设备上,很少会抬头。

  Also, people tend to kill their time by reading through old emails (always interesting) or by tapping out messages to friends (absolutely fascinating).而且人们想要打发时间的时候通常会看旧邮件或者给朋友发信息,内容总是很有趣的。

  I like to call it feeding my novelist's imagination. But you could just call it nosy.我喜欢称之为小说家的想象,不过你也可以说是八卦。


  The joys of family and friendship (not to mention poker) come top of my list.家庭和友情给我带来的快乐是最多的(和家人朋友打牌就更不用说了)。

  But for those of us who savour the selfish pleasures of living alone, these days they are not always instantly available. Yet we can always go to the theatre. Or a (classical) concert.但对于像我这样一人享受独居之乐的人来说,家人和朋友不是想找就马上能找到的,不过我们总是可以去剧院看戏或者去听(古典)音乐会。

  The theatre has been my lifelong home from home, from the National Theatre and RSC via the West End to my grandchildren's school plays.剧院永远是我的第二个家,无论是伦敦西区的国家大剧院和皇家莎士比亚剧团,还是我孙子孙女的学校剧场都不例外。

  I will always remember my youngest son Ben, then nine, winning his school singing competition with a feisty rendition of Luck, Be A Lady Tonight! from our favourite musical Guys And Dolls.我最小的儿子本九岁的时候在学校的歌唱比赛中获胜了。他精神抖擞地唱了一曲《Luck, Be A Lady Tonight!》(这是出自我们最喜欢的音乐剧《红男绿女》的歌),我永远都不会忘记当时的情景。

  Fifteen years ago when I was chronically depressed after the failure of my second marriage, I could find consolation only in music - anything from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte to Ennio Morricone's sloshy theme from the film The Mission, Gabriel's Oboe.十五年前,由于第二次婚姻的失败,我患上了严重的抑郁症,唯有音乐能给我慰藉——无论是莫扎特的《女人皆如此》还是恩尼奥·莫里科内为电影《教会》创作的主题曲,只要是音乐都能让我舒心。