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

Tina Alexis Allen: Untangling Identity and Sexual Abuse

By Jennifer Haupt on February 19, 2018 in One True Thing
What I once labeled "a relationship" with my teacher was really sexual abuse.
DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

6 Pathways to Mental Health You Probably Don’t Know

By Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D. on February 19, 2018 in What Matters Most?
Want to get familiar with 6 pathways to psychological happiness? Hear the stories and tips of 6 people, as well as the latest research, to help you find your way!

The Invisible Habits Hurting Our Happiness

By Tasha Eurich Ph.D. on February 19, 2018 in The Power of Insight
We are often so focused on what we want to change that we don’t pay attention to what to maintain.

Cycles of Intimacy

By Kathy McCoy Ph.D. on February 19, 2018 in Complicated Love
Has your ardor cooled? Do you yearn for a bit of emotional space? Cycles of distance and intimacy are common in relationships, but too many couples panic. Don't be among them!

Can You Stay Open To The Pain Of Others?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on February 19, 2018 in Your Wise Brain
When you recognize the truth of others’ pain, it is strangely calming. By seeing the pain and its causes are just a tiny part of a mostly impersonal whole.

5 Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore

By Peg Streep on February 19, 2018 in Tech Support
In retrospect, it's often easy to see why a relationship or marriage failed. But there are signs along the way that experts know and you should too...
Diyet Uzmani

Happy at Work

By Ruth C. White Ph.D. on February 19, 2018 in Culture in Mind
According to several recent Gallup polls, most Americans are unhappy at work. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Why Life’s Better When We’re Together

By Douglas Van Praet on February 18, 2018 in Unconscious Branding
A fascinating study shows that our feelings and perceptions of day-to-day experiences our amplified when we share them with others.

How to Get on the Path to Self Actualization

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 18, 2018 in Moral Landscapes
Maslow had advice for those who wanted to become self-actualizers. In his book The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, he gave eight suggestions.

6 Signs You Don’t Know What Matters

By Steven C. Hayes Ph.D. on February 18, 2018 in Get Out of Your Mind
Does life feel empty and meaningless? Then you might be chasing the wrong goals.

Ice Cream Shops Can Fight Youth Suicide, Too

By Michael Ungar Ph.D. on February 18, 2018 in Nurturing Resilience
We need ways to talk about suicide year round if prevention campaigns are going to work. Corporate partners can help.
Dean Karnazes: Used With Permission

Extraordinary Mental Strength

By Kristin Meekhof on February 17, 2018 in A Widow's Guide to Healing
Curious about how mental strength plays a role in an athlete's performance? An ultra- marathon champion shares his thoughts.

The Best Way to Handle Your Partner’s Silent Treatment

Having your partner ignore you intentionally never feels very good. New research on relationships suggests what silence means, and how to cope when you’re the target.

Benefits of the Indoor Plant

Add a potted plant to your world!

Are You Sabotaging Your Happiness?

Could racing to tick all the tasks off your list every day be undermining your happiness?
(c) pressmaster/fotosearch

Why Do Anxiety and High Blood Pressure Go Hand-In-Hand?

Feeling anxious? Concerned about high blood pressure? Maybe one treatment can ease both, and without medications. Here's over a dozen options.

Men, Women, and Sex Problems Throughout the Lifespan

By Michael Castleman M.A. on February 15, 2018 in All About Sex
Throughout the lifespan, men and women tend to develop their most daunting sex problems at different time, often making couples feel out of synch.

A Valentine's Musing

By Melissa Kirk on February 15, 2018 in Test Case
So today, can those of us who can see beyond the media and retail hype of this day use the ubiquitous heart symbols to remember to appreciate and generate love of all kinds?

When You Forgive, Do You Need Love and Courage?

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on February 15, 2018 in The Forgiving Life
When you forgive, do you see its highest expression as love? Do you see the need for courage to accompany forgiveness? How can you balance these issues of love and courage?

Overlooking the Fundamentals of the Classroom Experience

By Iben Sandahl on February 15, 2018 in The Danish Way
If we don’t start to acknowledge the necessity of human connectedness our children will lose sight of the importance of meaningful relationships.

How to Feel Good at Work

Learn how to use your imagination to increase happiness at work.

Single Fathers Have Alarmingly High Mortality Rates

A new study shows that single fathers are twice as likely to die early that single mothers or couples parents. The real problem may lie in the hidden side of the equality wars.

Which Valentine's Day Gifts Increase Happiness?

By Elaine Shpungin Ph.D. on February 14, 2018 in Peacemeal
Hoping to give more than a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day? Researchers have a few suggestions for the perfect gift.

The Most Self-Affirming Gift You Can Give Yourself

By Ken Page L.C.S.W. on February 14, 2018 in Finding Love
The tyranny of our task list (including the relentless call to self-improvement) all too frequently distracts us from the two most important questions for a well-lived life:

Beating the Odds

What if you come from a crazy family?

Marriage and Happiness

A good marriage is one of the life-factors most strongly associated and consistently associated with happiness. Good relationships make people happy...

The Very Best Valentine Gift You Can Give to Anyone

Want to enjoy sustained loving relationships? To give a Valentine's Day —or Post-Valentine's Day—gift with impacts that will last year-round?

Subtle Signs You May Be "Lovesick" Rather Than in Love

Are you obsessively passionate about your partner? Research says it may damage your health.

Checking into Heartbreak Motel: Broken Heart Syndrome

"The best way to heal a broken heart, it turns out, is to find a way to move past the hurt". -Mary Kay Andrews

Love Is in the Air: Are You Ready?

By Vijayeta Sinh Ph.D. on February 13, 2018 in Life in Balance
It takes more than updating your dating profile to find love.