Happiness Would be Meaningless Without Sadness


A well-written, provocative article by Carlin Flora in Psychology Today addresses happiness and shockingly, announces that in 2008 there were 4,000 books published on the subject compared to 50 in the year 2000. Wha? Are we obsessed with happiness? Is that the cause of why we are more anxious and depressed than ever before?
“What is happiness? The most useful definition—and it’s one agreed upon by neuroscientists, psychiatrists, behavioral economists, positive psychologists, and Buddhist monks—is more like satisfied or content than “happy” in its strict bursting-with-glee sense. It has depth and deliberation to it. It encompasses living a meaningful life, utilizing your gifts and your time, living with thought and purpose.
It’s maximized when you also feel part of a community. And when you confront annoyances and crises with grace. It involves a willingness to learn and stretch and grow, which sometimes involves discomfort. It requires acting on life, not merely taking it in. It’s not joy, a temporary exhilaration, or even pleasure, that sensual rush—though a steady supply of those feelings course through those who seize each day.”
The article goes on to tell us the research-proven ways to go about being happy, if we so desire.  Read the full article for the expansion of each point below:
1. Some people are born happy
2. Getting what you want doesn’t bring lasting happiness
3. Pain is a part of happiness
4. Mindfulness brings happiness
5. Happiness lies in the chase
6. Yes, money buys happiness
7. Happiness is relative
8. Options make us miserable
9. Happiness is other people
10. Do your happiness homework
11. Happiness hinges on your time frame
12. You’re wrong about what will make you happy and you’re wrong about what made you happy
13. Happiness is embracing your natural coping style
14. Happiness is living your values

Comments (5)

Research-proven ways to be happy, eh? That sounds (to me, anyway) like the voice of someone that believes that happiness must be able to be researched! 😉
Seriously, I like this 14-point list above – it makes me think. I particularly was struck by this, “You’re wrong about what will make you happy and you’re wrong about what made you happy”.
I *am* happy – and I have my very own ‘happiness list’ to prove it – but I also know I am unhappy too, on a deeper level. Oops.
Anyway, I’m not a fan of pursuing happiness (though I do seem to ‘pursue’ blogs on the subject 😉 ) – just happy to let happiness ‘in’, as it were!
Thanks for the post.
PS I did as suggested and followed you on Twitter. I am SMNash 🙂

You are too funny, Steve! Congratulations on being happy! So many people make it harder than it needs to be. It’s a choice, and your ‘happiness list’ is exactly the tool to use to choose your own happiness! There’s no oops about being unhappy too. I actually think they are both sides of the same coin. How do we know, recognize, and measure happiness if not in relation to unhappiness? 🙂

Great article – so much of this applies to parenting. I support parents who wish to “embrace their natural coping style” and “live their values” while growing themselves.

Amen, Ingrid! You are so right that it applies not only to parents coping and growing, but also to teaching our children to have realistic views of the full spectrum of human emotion.

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