Happiness: In its Pursuit, Is it Possible? Part 1

 

happiness bulldogdrummond 300x225 Happiness: In its Pursuit, Is it Possible? Part 1

In my daily life I see all kinds of peo­ple. In the clinic I see many peo­ple with var­i­ous health mat­ters. Of course, many of these prob­lems are founded on phys­i­cal issues. But, at least 80% of their health prob­lems are related to lifestyle issues, mean­ing these peo­ple do not have hard­ware prob­lems, they have soft­ware prob­lems. These soft­ware prob­lems are usu­ally related to diet, lifestyle and stress. As I travel around North Amer­ica lec­tur­ing, I also inter­act with many dif­fer­ent types of peo­ple, and most of them are ask­ing the same ques­tions about how to improve their life. Even though these, too, on the sur­face come down to an over­all state­ment of, ‘I want to be happy.’

So of course what I do is ask both of these groups, what would it take to make them feel bet­ter? They feel that they would be hap­pier if they lost some weight, or if they had more energy. Maybe they would feel hap­pier if they were not so stressed in their rela­tion­ships. They would feel hap­pier if they could exer­cise more, but because they have to work so late they can’t. The clas­sic of course is that they will feel hap­pier once the econ­omy gets bet­ter. “Just wait till I win the lot­tery, and then I will happy.”

It doesn’t take long to real­ize that there are a lot of unhappy peo­ple out there, and their real goal it not the weight, energy, health or finan­cial solu­tion; it is that they just want to be happy. So, let’s look at bypass­ing all of the health prob­lems and go straight to the hap­pi­ness issue, and see if this will resolve both the health and finan­cial issue.

When was the last time you can say you where really Happy?

 

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Over the next sev­eral Blogs I am going to look at the idea of hap­pi­ness and explore what peo­ple through­out his­tory, as well as mod­ern psy­chol­ogy and med­i­cine, have to say about hap­pi­ness and how we can bet­ter obtain it. Hey, it might be win­ning the lot­tery — who knows? The first place we will start though is to see what peo­ple think hap­pi­ness is.

If we go to Wikipedia we get this answer:

 “Hap­pi­ness is a men­tal or emo­tional state of well-being char­ac­ter­ized by pos­i­tive or pleas­ant emo­tions rang­ing from con­tent­ment to intense joy.”

It is quite inter­est­ing to see what many dif­fer­ent peo­ple feel hap­pi­ness is. Here are some of the more famous quotes about what hap­pi­ness is:

 “Hap­pi­ness is the mean­ing and the pur­pose of life, the whole aim and end of human exis­tence.” ― Aris­to­tle (330 BCE)

Hap­pi­ness depends upon our­selves.”― Aris­to­tle (330 BCE)

I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing some­thing right. Hap­pi­ness is like a but­ter­fly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your atten­tion to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoul­der.” ― Henry David Thoreau (1854)

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty sec­onds of hap­pi­ness.”  ― Ralph Waldo Emer­son (1886)

San­ity and hap­pi­ness are an impos­si­ble com­bi­na­tion.”  ― Mark Twain (1880’s)

Hap­pi­ness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in har­mony.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi (1930)

It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”  ― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influ­ence Peo­ple (1936)

You will never be happy if you con­tinue to search for what hap­pi­ness con­sists of. You will never live if you are look­ing for the mean­ing of life.”  ― Albert Camus (1940’s)

The most impor­tant thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that mat­ters.”  ― Audrey Hep­burn (1960’s)

Love is that con­di­tion in which the hap­pi­ness of another per­son is essen­tial to your own.”  ― Robert A. Hein­lein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

Hap­pi­ness is hav­ing a large, lov­ing, car­ing, close-knit fam­ily in another city.”  ― George Burns (1984)

Hap­pi­ness is not some­thing ready made. It comes from your own actions.”  ― Dalai Lama XIV (1998)

I believe com­pas­sion to be one of the few things we can prac­tice that will bring imme­di­ate and long-term hap­pi­ness to our lives. I’m not talk­ing about the short-term grat­i­fi­ca­tion of plea­sures like sex, drugs or gam­bling (though I’m not knock­ing them), but some­thing that will bring true and last­ing hap­pi­ness. The kind that sticks.”  ― Dalai Lama XIV (1998)

Hap­pi­ness is the con­se­quence of per­sonal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and some­times even travel around the world look­ing for it. You have to par­tic­i­pate relent­lessly in the man­i­fes­ta­tions of your own bless­ings. And once you have achieved a state of hap­pi­ness, you must never become lax about main­tain­ing it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swim­ming upward into that hap­pi­ness for­ever, to stay afloat on top of it.”  ― Eliz­a­beth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love (2006)

Happiness Hyposis paperback cover 200x300 Happiness: In its Pursuit, Is it Possible? Part 1

Bud­dha also used an anal­ogy com­par­ing the mind to a wild ele­phant. Jonathan Haidt has per­fected this anal­ogy in his book The Hap­pi­ness Hypoth­e­sis. He states that the con­scious mind is like a rider on an ele­phant, hav­ing some influ­ence over the ele­phant, but really only when it makes the ele­phant happy. Notice he put the rider closer to the front than I do. I guess that is why his book is so pop­u­lar and is used in many Uni­ver­si­ties as a text.

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Over the next few blogs, we are going to see if the rider and the ele­phant can ride in har­mony enough to enhance hap­pi­ness. Using research from Haidt’s book and look­ing at what the Dali Lama says in the Art of Hap­pi­ness as guides, we will see if our trek on the back of an ele­phant can help us tease a for­mula for cre­at­ing Hap­pi­ness into our lives.

Happy Woman Riding Elephant 300x194 Happiness: In its Pursuit, Is it Possible? Part 1

But before I leave, I would be amidst to not list a great Tedx talk by: Shawn Achor: The happy secret to bet­ter work. I know you will enjoy this video as every­one else has. He gives us some nice sta­tis­tic in a very enter­tain­ing way. Be pre­pared to laugh!

http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html

 

 

 

1 comment

  1. sandy freeman   •  

    makes me happy when i see the blog and the video shaun is happy too thanks

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