Mon April 9, 2012
Happiness Is An Inside Job
What’s the key to happiness? Is it money? Status? Your own lake house with jet skis?
FROM DR. BRUCE'S NOTEBOOK:
What is happiness and where does it come from?
- A person's core identity determines what makes them happy
- Wikipedia describes happiness as a "fuzzy concept" that can mean different things to different people
- Happiness is broadly defined as a mental state of well-being
- It may be experienced as fulfillment, satisfaction, joy, jubilation, elation, etc.
Why is happiness important?
- Because it's the goal of most people's lives ("Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" from the Declaration of Independence)
- Most people don't understand how to sustain happiness
- Most people don't understand that, generally, they create their own misery and happiness
- The pursuit of happiness can result in good and bad outcomes
- The pursuit of "happiness imposters" (illusions) can cause significant problems
What are the "happiness imposters" (i.e., illusions that pose as happiness)?
- Immediate gratification
Positive Psychology ...
- Focuses on positive emotions like happiness
- Roots are in humanistic psychology
- Martin Seligman is the father of modern positive psychology
- Edward Diener has dedicated his career to studying happiness
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has advanced the science of happiness by highlighting the concept of "flow"
What is "flow" and how does it relate to happiness?
- Absorption in a satisfying activity
- Total and complete engagement
- Immersion in the journey as well as the destination
- When time flies by
Do wealth, youth, or intelligence make us happy?
- After basic needs are met, money does little to raise sense of satisfaction with life
- Intelligence is not correlated with happiness
- Older people are generally happier than younger people
How is happiness achieved? Martin Seligman suggests the acronym PERMA:
- Pleasure (sensations of taste, feel (tactile), smell, sound)
- Engagement (flow; being absorbed in an activity)
- Relationships (social ties)
- Meaning (being a part of something "bigger")
- Accomplishment – achieving goals