Happy and Satisfied?

In Yogi Writing on November 17, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Faces of Happiness

Interesting read from Time Article- The Science of Happiness the other day; an article cited from various people: Martin Seligman: Authentic Happiness, Ray Fowler Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi- Ted talkDaniel Kahneman- The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory, David Lykken: Journal of Happiness Studies, and Sonja Lubomirsky: The How of Happiness.

Surprising Notes

  • surplus of income, education and youth doesn’t raise happiness. High IQ, youthful and rich, with an addition to my own private jet doesn’t make me fly through the roof?
  • a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people ages 20~24 are sad for an average of 3.4 days a month, as opposed to just 2.3 days for people ages 65 to 74. Great news. I can only get happier 🙂
  • 50% of one’s satisfaction with life comes from genetic programming, genes influence such traits as dealing well with stress, easy-going personality, and anxiety and depression. I wonder which short end of the straw I inherited.
  • we all have a happiness set point, just like our set body weight; anything good, bad, spectacular, horrific etc, all bounces and return to our set range.
  • In a Time poll asked, ‘What one thing in life has brought you the greatest happiness?”, 35% said it was their children or grandchildren or both. Though in a day-reconstruction method survey evaluating happiness throughout the day, ‘taking care of children’ was ranked below everything else, including cooking and housework. This shows, the overall happiness is not merely the sum of the happy moments minus the sum of the angry or sad ones.  Another survey shows, an average person tends to remember their peak moments and the endings. Conclusion: be optimistic and focus on powerful endings. Think twice before having kids? 🙂

Interesting Notes

  • happiness= engagement, giving meaning to life, and having pleasure
  • optimism leads to happiness, which associates with good physical health, less depression and mental illness
  • strong ties of community (religion), family, and friends generates happiness
  • loss of a spouse and loss of a job knock people lastingly below their happiness set point

Steps Toward A More Satisfying Life

  • gratitude exercises: taking time to conscientiously count their blessings once a week significantly increased the over-all satisfaction with life
  • acts of kindness: giving, provides a feel-good feeling. It distracts from one’s existence and puts meaning into life. It also gives a sense of purpose because you matter to someone else- connections.
  • recommit everyday to happiness, just as savoring that one cup of coffee every morning: this especially works for pessimist who thinks through in detail what might go wrong.

Other Ways Towards Happiness

  • savor life’s joys
  • thank a mentor
  • learn to forgive
  • invest time and energy in friends and family
  • take care of your body
  • develop strategies for coping with stress and hardships
  1. Should happiness be an end in itself?

    • Yes, but shouldn’t there be first a nurture in the foundation of happiness: gratefulness, thankful, patience 😉 etc? Maybe happiness is the end result of a realization? end result: a realistic-optimistic introspection of how one views life?

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