In preparation for my lecture next Saturday, May 3rd I’m considering all aspects of the notion of happiness.
This is not only the emotional expression of feeling joyous [it is certainly that] but a broader and deeper sense of peace, contentment, serenity.
It is this happiness which Positive Psychology studies. Their results have confirmed some of what many people already believe to be true. Their academic and scientific analysis of their data and interviews adds weight to those assumptions.
Happiness is a state of mind. Which means that how we perceive our lives, creates or destroys our sense of peace and tranquility. Of course external events deeply influence us–our economic status, our health, our relationships with others cannot help but influence our general state of happiness. But the extent to which these externals affect us does reside in our own minds.
Fear & worry can both rob us of peace & happiness. It may be difficult to overcome our individual approaches to life, but we need to be aware that change is possible.
To those among us who are ‘into’ conspicuous consumption of material goods and objects–there is a bit of a disappointment awaiting us. Apparently we all ‘adapt’ to our state of being. The excitement that arrives with the huge lottery check, the anticipation of enduring happiness will fade in time. Likewise, tragedy will, in time, also gradually dissipate in its negative affects on our lives.
Positive Psychology describes the hedonic treadmill. Running faster to accumulate objects without really gaining in happiness.
And then there are the demons of jealousy, envy & greed. They will surely rob anyone of the pleasure they might have from what they have.
The antidote to that situation & a key to happiness in general is gratitude. Be grateful for what is good in your life and it will blossom. We can all benefit from a large dose of it.