The Art of Happiness

Ah, happiness, that elusive state. Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, even economists, have long sought to define it, and since the 1990s, a whole branch of psychology—positive psychology—has been dedicated to pinning it down and propagating it. More than simply positive mood, happiness is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life—that is, with a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction.

Research shows that happiness is not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next; achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort.  Money is important to happiness, but only to a certain point. Money buys freedom from worry about the basics in life—housing, food, clothing. Genetic makeup, life circumstances, achievements, marital status, social relationships, even your neighbors—all influence how happy you are. Or can be.

So do individual ways of thinking and expressing feeling. Researchers estimate that much of happiness is under personal control. Regularly indulging in small pleasures (such as warm baths!), getting absorbed in challenging activities, setting and meeting goals, maintaining close social ties, and finding purpose beyond oneself are all actions that increase life satisfaction.

Recent posts on Happiness

Competing Commitments Part 2

If you are one of the countless numbers of people who have had difficulty achieving your stated goals, you are not alone. Don’t take it personally; it’s not your fault.....

Unloved Daughters and the One Question You Must Stop Asking

By Peg Streep on April 26, 2017 in Tech Support
It's the question that every daughter of an unloving mother wants answered but it's really a blind alley.
Geralt/Pixabay

How to Respond Gracefully to Destructive Criticism

6 ways to cope with the critics in your life.

To Affirm or Not Affirm?

By Leena S. Guptha DO on April 25, 2017 in Embodied Wellness
Struggling with negative thoughts? Use self-affirmations to rewrite the subconscious mind and start thinking positively!

Airplane Anguish

The friendly skies are often not a very pleasant place to be.

Is Your Life Coaching Career a Dream or a Goal?

By John Kim, LMFT on April 24, 2017 in The Angry Therapist
I believe anyone can be a life coach. All you need is a passion to help others and a story. You have both. The rest is logistics.

Peekaboo: Joy Might Just Surprise You

Remembering to laugh is essential. It can’t make the darkness go away, but it does admit the light.

What Gets You Stuck?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on April 24, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Remind yourself how it's in your own best interest to admit fault and move on. It takes a strong person to admit fault, and it puts us in a stronger position with others.

Income Inequality Itself Doesn't Make People Unhappy

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on April 24, 2017 in Pop Psych
Despite the focus on inequality as a driver of human unhappiness, the reverse seems to be true. Inequality is either related to increased satisfaction, or no relationship exists.
istock.com

Can You make Your Employees Happier?

Let’s face it managing people can be tough, and despite your best efforts your people may be part of the growing numbers who feel disengaged from their jobs.
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5 Distorted Thought Patterns and How to Change Them

By John Kim, LMFT on April 22, 2017 in The Angry Therapist
We all have cognitive distortions.
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Who’s to Blame? The Real Downside of the Blame Game

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on April 22, 2017 in Off the Couch
When things go wrong, blaming someone or something – even yourself – can help you cope. But blame can be a problem, too. Here's how you can move past the blame game.

What Is Happiness Worth to You?

Are you so caught up with chasing goals that you don't have time to appreciate where you are? Does the "happiness finish line" keep moving, leaving you never able to reach it?

10 Reasons Why Silence Really Is Golden

Could the answer to improved health be as simple as silence?

Is Divorce Bad for Your Health?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on April 21, 2017 in Talking Apes
Those who are ill-equipped for the demands of marriage won’t survive divorce very well either.

7 Must-Read Books to Change Your Life This Summer

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on April 20, 2017 in Feeling It
After a long winter, here's some serious inspiration for the summer months to boost your happiness and success!

Why I Sing

By Jennifer Hamady on April 20, 2017 in Finding Your Voice
What drives you to express yourself? Often, the joy and passion that once started us on our creative journeys get covered over by fear and perfectionism. It's time to let that go.

Hardiness and Grit

One might argue that any therapy has as an implicit objective to help the individual acquire the characteristics associated with hardiness.
Used by permission from www.zen-buddhism.net

Lessons from Zen Master Grandpa Jerry

By Steve Albrecht DBA on April 19, 2017 in The Act of Violence
Learn to love life's little moments.
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Detoxing Your Mind

By Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. on April 19, 2017 in A Shift of Mind
As important as food fasts, juice cleanses, workouts and yoga may be, there's a detox that's far more vital to your wellbeing. Detoxing your mind is the path to liberation.
Yvonne Temal

How Mother Nature Became My Therapy

Escaping into nature can help us recover from our depression and anxiety while simultaneously allowing us to be free. "The mountains are calling and I must go..." -John Muir.

What New Moms Need to Boost Their Mood and Enjoy Parenting

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
A new longitudinal study reveals connections among mothers' basic psychological needs, postpartum depression, and parenting behaviors.

How Do Character Strengths Help (and Harm) Romance?

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Curious?
This is the first study to suggests that the beliefs we hold about the personality strengths of our romantic partners influence our well-being and their well-being.
Kristin A. Meekhof

Ten Things People With A Strong Bandwidth Do

Do you wonder how leaders and over-achievers accomplish so much? They have a strong bandwidth and engage in these ten behaviors.

Where Do You Live?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on April 17, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Be aware of breathing and let everything else go. There's always a doorway to a deeper sense of presence and peace: being the body.
Lee Mamola used with permssion; Kristin Meekhof

Boston Strong

Do you dream of running the boston marathon? A few adjustments may help you cross the finish line.

How to Stand up to the People Who Step All Over You

In ordinary social interactions, there’s the expectation that you respect boundaries. A new article suggests what to do when your boundaries are violated.
Courtesy of Max Pixel

Taking Off the Mask

Want more intimacy in your life? You may have to take some risks.

9 Micro-Behaviors That Feed Your Closest Friendships

Research suggests the benefits of friendship come from your 5 closest friends (not your 150 acquaintances). Here are 9 gestures that nurture close friendships.

The Sexual Impact of Diabetes on Women

By Michael Castleman M.A. on April 14, 2017 in All About Sex
Recent research clarifies how diabetes often harms women sexually. While diabetic women are not fated to develop sex problems, many do.