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

Thoughts of Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder

By Holly Parker, Ph.D. on November 20, 2017 in Your Future Self
So what if, instead of relishing what we appreciate, we mentally erase the past and imagine our good fortunes had never happened?

Don't Let Anxiety Ruin Your Day

By Barbara Markway Ph.D. on November 19, 2017 in Shyness Is Nice
Do you feel anxious before you even get out of bed? A few simple strategies can help you cope.

What is Love?

Most view love as the most important aspect in life. Why, then, do we spend most of our lives focusing on something else?

10 Things to Be Thankful For

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on November 18, 2017 in Emotional Fitness
Thanksgiving is a very special holiday. Embrace those around you and your ability to give thanks with the people you love.

7 Ways the Insecure Try to Seem Important

Some people will go through extreme and perhaps ridiculous efforts to seem important. These seven behaviors may be covering up their feelings of loneliness and inferiority.

6 Things That Make Me Truly Grateful This Thanksgiving

My fears and anxieties have taught me that even if they can't be entirely overcome, they can be faced and sometimes outwitted. For that knowledge, I am grateful.
Negative Space/stocksnap

Tis The Season

If you aren't looking forward to this holiday season, you aren't alone.

Building Up Your Resilience Muscle

By Michael F. Kay on November 16, 2017 in Financial Life Focus
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from a challenging event or overcome a series of obstacles that have gotten in the way of an individual achieving their goals.

Lidia Yuknavitch's Love Letter to Fellow Misfits

By Jennifer Haupt on November 16, 2017 in One True Thing
Some of us manage to invent bodies, voices, and lives worth living even though we don’t fit in to the normative socius.

Five Ways to Practice Gratitude

Need a gratitude boost this holiday season? Try these five gratitude practices.

Why Random Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Wellbeing

Don't underestimate the value of being kind to others. One act of small kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events.

Saving Silence: Finding Quiet in a Chaotic World

By Anna Akbari Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in Startup Your Life
When is the last time you were truly in just one place and not on-call to the rest of the world?
Y Photo Studio/Shutterstock

The Nine Ingredients of Great Sex

By Michael Castleman M.A. on November 15, 2017 in All About Sex
It's not that difficult to enjoy great sex. Just incorporate these nine elements into lovemaking.

Block the Pop-Ups: Think Less, Think Better

By Nicole F. Bernier, Ph.D. on November 14, 2017 in Ripening With Time
Imagination is used in a positive way whenever it brings peace. Imagination is used negatively whenever it brings unnecessary agitation.
Adam Kontor/Pexels

One Question That May Determine Whether Your Love Will Last

The one question that may determine whether your love will last

The Introvert Restaurant

By Anneli Rufus on November 14, 2017 in Stuck
Most restaurants are designed to attract and delight extroverts. What if some weren't?

Do Animals Have Emotions? A Debate

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on November 14, 2017 in Hot Thought
The legitimacy of the argument that non-human animals have emotions is debated by an advocate and a skeptic.

Letter to Dads of Daughters on a Sexual Misconduct Epidemic

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. on November 13, 2017 in Curious?
I wanted to write a letter to dads of daughters everywhere on the sexual misconduct mayhem that is being revealed daily.

Five Mistakes We Make When Complaining

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on November 13, 2017 in The Squeaky Wheel
If you want to get results when you voice a complaint to a partner, friend or customer service, you need to avoid these five mistakes...

Can You Be With The Whole Of Your Psyche?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on November 13, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
R.A.I.N. is an acronym developed by Michelle McDonald but adapted a bit by me, to summarize a powerful way to expand self-awareness.

Education’s Future: What Will Replace K-12 and College?

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on November 13, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
Our expensive, time-wasting, anxiety-producing system of education is an immense failure. In a rational world, what would replace it? Here is my answer to that question.

16 Easy Random Acts of Kindness to Practice Today

By Meg Selig on November 12, 2017 in Changepower
Once you start practicing random acts of kindness, you will notice a multitude of opportunities to help others. Soon you may notice that you've developed "the kindness habit."

An Unexpected Apology from a Bike Thief

A short blog on an unexpected apology from a bike thief.

Some People Truly Don’t Feel Jealousy

Some people in long-term polyamorous relationships initially report that they do not feel jealousy, but over time many of them encounter jealousy triggers in their relationships.

Five Ways to Help You Find Your Passion

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on November 11, 2017 in Emotional Fitness
The important thing is to know that there is more of life you can fall in love with. Just give yourself a chance.

On Being Treated Unfairly: Don’t Let Them Win Twice!

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on November 11, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
Too often when people hurt us, we get so angry that we hurt others. "The bad guys" then win twice: first in their hurting us and then in our becoming injurers of others.

The Struggle to Maintain Basic Humanity

Basic humanity is like a muscle, it gets stronger with exercise.

Train Your Brain's Flexibility with These Seven Tips

Get your memory in shape by improving your brain's flexibility. Never again forget what you're doing with these 7 research-based tips.

Finding Solace Through Stories

By Robyn Fivush Ph.D. on November 10, 2017 in The Stories of Our Lives
Remembering our loved ones through stories helps us heal and bonds our families and friends together in times of grief.

Sometimes You Just Have to Let It Go

Is it enough to forgive and forget?