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

Triumph or Tragedy: How You Tell Your Story Matters

While making mistakes is not an especially pleasurable experience, when people become depressed, it is usually because they mistake difficult chapters for the entire plotline. They also under-value the important lessons that come from harder chapters which, if we read them correctly, can help us move on to happier ones.

Why the Resentment?

Has your family gotten used to you doing the lions’ share of the work over the holidays? 3 suggestions for navigating your resentment.

New Study Finds Meditation With Walking Reduces Anxiety

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on December 10, 2017 in Urban Survival
A new study finds that combining meditation before or after a walk reduces anxiety more than just a walk.
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Study Suggests Patients Can Treat Depression on Their Own

In general, the participants expressed higher life satisfaction and self-efficiency.

Ten Tips for Preventing Infidelity

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on December 10, 2017 in Emotional Fitness
Preventing infidelity isn't something you have to worry about as long as you and your partner stay communicative about your desires, your dreams and your devotion.

The Many, Mini, Ways to Show You Care

It doesn't take a grand gesture to show someone that you care. With a "micro" act of kindness, according to new research, the payoff can be surprisingly high for both of you.

Why You Talk about Your Relationship with Friends

It's not what we say, it's why we say it.

12 Book Recommendations to Blow Your Freaking Mind Open

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. on December 08, 2017 in Curious?
More than a dozen books that you need to read in the months and years ahead. Some are far off the beaten path.

Are We Allowing Social Media to Dictate Our Happiness?

“A fixation with connecting with 'friends' online comes with the risk of disconnection with friends waiting for you to be present in the offline world.”
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How to Find Happiness in Today's World

By Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D. on December 07, 2017 in What Matters Most?
If less than 20 percent of people are flourishing, what can we do to build more well-being? Check out the latest research and several practical strategies.

What Is Positive Technology?

Everything you need to know about technologies that improve your life.

Self-Blame or Self-Inquiry?

While self-blame is something to avoid, a self-inquiry into what they might have done to contribute to an unfortunate circumstance might prove extremely helpful.

What You Should Read Next

As the days get shorter and the news gets more brutal, we could all use a healthy dose of fictional transportation. Here are some of my favorite 2017 reads.

Ten Steps to a Resilient Holiday Season

Have the intention to make this season jolly.

Couples Therapy: Does It Really Work?

By Dianne Grande Ph.D. on December 06, 2017 in In It Together
Are you wondering if couples counseling will work for you and your partner?
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How to Handle the Holidays When You Have Hearing Loss

By Shari Eberts on December 06, 2017 in Life With Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can make the holidays tricky, but there is no need to miss out on all the fun. Follow these tips and enjoy a festive and joyful holiday season.

Suffering From Holiday Overwhelm?

Don't let unrealistic expectations for the holiday season get you down. Take a lesson from Mrs. Claus, settle in, and enjoy.

Are Millennials Evolved for a Non-Existent World?

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on December 06, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Don't be a hater. Hate the game, not the player? With millennials, do we have a prayer? A brief idiomatic essay on human evolution.
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Humor Psychology: The Funniest Words in the English Language

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Statistical Life
What's the funniest word in American English? Okay, it's 'booty'. But why is that funny? Nobody knows.

You Are What You Read

By Jennifer Hamady on December 05, 2017 in Finding Your Voice
Choose carefully, read wisely.
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Study Shows Generous Behavior Leads to Increased Happiness

Helping others can lead us toward a brighter tomorrow.

Psychopathy and the Dark Side of Facebook Comments

It’s painful to be the target of a Facebook troll. New research shows that it’s the psychopathic who are more likely to engage in this dark side of social media.

Are You Working Together?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Minor differences in parenting style are okay. But children get confused when there are major differences. Here are five ways to work effectively and get the best possible results.

Maintaining Positivity in Difficult Times

By David Dillard-Wright Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Boundless
Having a bad day or a bad season? Check out these media links.

Six Reasons to Love Tuesdays (and One Reason Not To)

By Linda Wasmer Andrews on December 05, 2017 in Minding the Body
Happy Tuesday! Here’s the good, the bad, and the healthy of the most underrated day of the week.

Why You Should Party Like It’s 1899

By Sonja Lyubomirsky Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in How of Happiness
If you’re stressed out, consider this: 150 years from now, no one on earth today will still be living

The Dangers of Ghosting

By Anna Akbari Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Startup Your Life
Put an end to ghosting in your professional and personal life.

Changing Your Sense of Identity

By Lisa Firestone Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in Compassion Matters
How can we challenge a prescribed sense of identity, peel back the layers, and find out who we really are?
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How Much Inner Security Do You Have?

By Steve Taylor Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in Out of the Darkness
What is inner security? Can it be measured? Please help a psychologist in his research of the concept.

The Key to Becoming the Most Wonderful Version of Yourself

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in Feeling It
We all strive to be successful, or "good at" our work, parenting, athletic or whatever your favorite hobby is. But one thing we don't think about is how to be wonderful.