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

Take the #1 Apology Challenge!

We're wired to muck up the apology. Take this #1 apology challenge.

The Slow Path to Acceptance

By Susan Hooper on April 29, 2017 in Detours and Tangents
A swirl of negative thoughts had a firm grip on me, but time, perspective and the counsel of friends helped restore my peace of mind.

What's Better? Emotionally Intelligent or Mentally Strong

You can develop skills that help you build mental strength and develop emotional intelligence. And while they have some similarities, there's a big difference between the two.

Here's How To Feel Satisfied With Your Life Decisions

By Caroline Beaton on April 29, 2017 in The Gen-Y Guide
Modern psychology offers three ways to make peace with your decisions.

The Well-Being Wheel: An Experiential Activity

This blog describes an experiential activity to lead groups in rich discussions about their well-being.

Is Monogamy Really the Key to Happiness?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on April 28, 2017 in Talking Apes
The common wisdom is that open relationships are less satisfying and more prone to jealousy than conventional matrimony. But the data say otherwise.

How to Win the Weekend in 3 Steps

By Jonathan Fader Ph.D. on April 28, 2017 in The New You
Had a long week of work or relationship stress? Take a few minutes to practice these three strategies to make your Saturday and Sunday more enjoyable and satisfying.

Is "Your Relationship" Another Reason to Drink Coffee?

Our everyday experiences, like how much sleep we get and whether we drink caffeine, may affect our relationship satisfaction.

My Job Sucks and I Don't Know What Makes Me Happy

By Brad Waters on April 27, 2017 in Design Your Path
"Fulfillment is the new happiness." How understanding fulfillment can help us navigate difficult career decisions and find job satisfaction.

Too Young to Be Old: Love, Learn, Work, and Play as You Age

By The Book Brigade on April 27, 2017 in The Author Speaks
Everyone has a “psychological portfolio,” and it’s especially important to update it as you age.

Do You Want Good Self-Care? Love Others

Learning to love more consistently, more consciously, and more deeply is healthy for you.

How Trump Changed My Mind About Marriage

The recent election, combined with some research in psychology, had a profound effect on my personal life.
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Why Everyone Needs to Take a 30-Day Vacation From Money

By Michael F. Kay on April 27, 2017 in Financial Life Focus
Take a vacation from your money. Shut it down, get away, let it go…at least for a while.

Find Happiness Through Connection

Gain a better understanding of people by balancing what you see them do with what you imagine they experience.

New Head Space in Hard Times: 5 Ways to Start Meditating

By Karlyn Crowley Ph.D. on April 26, 2017 in Woman Power
Need a mental adjustment but not sure where to start? Try on these meditation teasers.

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.
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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.
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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.