I’ve already posted this link to my Twitter, but I find this article to be so important that I’m sharing it here as well, for more posterity as well as for other people to find. This is an important quote from the piece, but you really should read the whole:
Experts have figured out that the brain has no ability to actually predict your emotional reaction to life changes that haven’t happened yet. In other words, you physically do not know what you want. The act of sitting around pondering it is apparently what fucks you up.
Just below it is this quote:
This may be why studies show friendships, altruism and religious practices bring happiness. It may be that taking the focus off your own happiness is what makes happiness possible.
…which I think aptly sums up why things like Youtube and LOLCat websites have become so popular: it is something that takes your focus off yourself and prevents you, if only for a series of short moments, from thinking about how happy or unhappy you are.