Why Is Everyone Talking About Happiness?
Have you noticed that everyone is talking about happiness? How to improve the happiness and overall quality of life is today’s no.1 issue. And it is not just an individual quest for one’s own happiness…
Now is a time of intense focus on how to improve the happiness of others in care, at school and in the workplace.
Even the United Nations has been cheerleading happiness. The International Day of Happiness created through resolution of the UN General Assembly in 2012 recognises happiness as a fundamental human goal.
And to prove how popular ‘happiness’ is with young people 50,000+ have signed up for the UC Berkeley’s new Science of Happiness Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/06/30/science-of-happiness-mooc/
Now science and research are beginning to weigh in on the matter.
Positive psychology and happiness
Sonja Lyubomirsky is one of America’s happiness researchers. She is a professor and wrote the international bestseller The How of Happiness.She wondered what one can do if one wants to get a happy life. She accepted that, after the current state of research about 50% of a given human’s happiness level is genetically determined. About 10% of happiness is affected by external living conditions, but 40% of happiness can be influenced by the mind of a person.
According to Lyubomirsky, the secret of lasting happiness is to turn our attention mainly to that 40% and constantly maintain our inner happiness.
We should exercise regularly, avoid negative thoughts and encourage positive thoughts, maintain our social relationships and have a positive task in our lives. Many studies demonstrate the positive effects of meditation on our happiness, “Meditate every day. Begin with five minutes and increase to up to 20 minutes a day.”
Sonja Lyubomirsky developed a twelve-point program for personal happiness. The main point for her is gratitude. We should focus on the positives in our lives and be grateful. We should live according to principles such as optimism, joy, helpfulness, forgiveness, good social relationships, good health care and a positive task if we want to achieve a happy and fulfilling life.
What colour is your happiness?
Just as Italians have eight words for love, we need more colours for happiness. The simple-minded version will not do; life is too complex, we know too much, there’s too much pain to be satisfied with a naive idea of what it means to be happy—and to be human.
To accommodate a larger vision, Martin Seligman, PhD, the godfather of the positive psychology movement, has created a three-zone model of happiness.
Beyond the first tier, what he calls the Hollywood view of happiness (“getting as much positive emotion as possible”), a second kind of happiness arises from discovering our “signature strengths,” which range (in Seligman’s list of 24) from honesty, kindness, and forgiveness to ingenuity and love of learning.
Seligman’s third zone consists of using your strengths in the service of something larger than yourself.
So it seems that transcending our own needs, now and then, and learning to sacrifice what we want for the greater good could boost our happiness to another level.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” Dalai Lama
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About the Author
Nathan Chanesmanis Founder & Chairman of online career assessment company www.myprofile.com.aucreators of www.mycareermatch.com.au for student career planning and www.myresume.com.au for resume writing.