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

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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.

7 Must-Read Books to Change Your Life This Summer

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on April 20, 2017 in Feeling It
After a long winter, here's some serious inspiration for the summer months to boost your happiness and success!

Why I Sing

By Jennifer Hamady on April 20, 2017 in Finding Your Voice
What drives you to express yourself? Often, the joy and passion that once started us on our creative journeys get covered over by fear and perfectionism. It's time to let that go.

Hardiness and Grit

One might argue that any therapy has as an implicit objective to help the individual acquire the characteristics associated with hardiness.
Used by permission from www.zen-buddhism.net

Lessons from Zen Master Grandpa Jerry

By Steve Albrecht DBA on April 19, 2017 in The Act of Violence
Learn to love life's little moments.
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Detoxing Your Mind

By Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. on April 19, 2017 in A Shift of Mind
As important as food fasts, juice cleanses, workouts and yoga may be, there's a detox that's far more vital to your wellbeing. Detoxing your mind is the path to liberation.
Yvonne Temal

How Mother Nature Became My Therapy

Escaping into nature can help us recover from our depression and anxiety while simultaneously allowing us to be free. "The mountains are calling and I must go..." -John Muir.

What New Moms Need to Boost Their Mood and Enjoy Parenting

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
A new longitudinal study reveals connections among mothers' basic psychological needs, postpartum depression, and parenting behaviors.

How Do Character Strengths Help (and Harm) Romance?

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Curious?
This is the first study to suggests that the beliefs we hold about the personality strengths of our romantic partners influence our well-being and their well-being.
Kristin A. Meekhof

Ten Things People With A Strong Bandwidth Do

Do you wonder how leaders and over-achievers accomplish so much? They have a strong bandwidth and engage in these ten behaviors.

Where Do You Live?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on April 17, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Be aware of breathing and let everything else go. There's always a doorway to a deeper sense of presence and peace: being the body.
Lee Mamola used with permssion; Kristin Meekhof

Boston Strong

Do you dream of running the boston marathon? A few adjustments may help you cross the finish line.

How to Stand up to the People Who Step All Over You

In ordinary social interactions, there’s the expectation that you respect boundaries. A new article suggests what to do when your boundaries are violated.
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Taking Off the Mask

Want more intimacy in your life? You may have to take some risks.

9 Micro-Behaviors That Feed Your Closest Friendships

Research suggests the benefits of friendship come from your 5 closest friends (not your 150 acquaintances). Here are 9 gestures that nurture close friendships.

The Sexual Impact of Diabetes on Women

By Michael Castleman M.A. on April 14, 2017 in All About Sex
Recent research clarifies how diabetes often harms women sexually. While diabetic women are not fated to develop sex problems, many do.
"Emotion Sensation," Frank John Ninivaggi, oil, 2006

Emotions as Our Mother Tongue

We strive for competency. We want a better quality of life. To achieve this, our second language, thought, not only needs but demands its mother language—emotion.

Spring Back to Life

I like fresh starts, and I’ll use whatever is around me to make them easier. We all reinvent our lives from time to time. If you've done it before you can do it again.

How I Learned About the Perils of Grit

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. on April 13, 2017 in Curious?
Grit, the Scarlett Johannson of organizational cures, has problems. Neglected research points to the dark side of promoting and nurturing grit.

How Universal Is Body Language?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in Media Spotlight
Are emotional signals shaped by different cultures or are they universal to all humans? An ambitious new research project seeks to answer that question,

How to Live 7.2 (Happy) Years Longer

Positive psychology research consistently shows that happiness is linked to longevity even after accounting for initial health, obesity and socio demographic factors.

Diagnoses: Harmful or Helpful?

Mental illness can tell us what's wrong with a person, with parenting, with a culture, and with society. It's bio/psycho/social. Let's learn fully about ourselves from it.

Stop Schlepping Through Life

By Colleen Long Psy.D. on April 12, 2017 in The Happiness Rx
A Tip for the graduates...with a little help from Marley.
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Like Me, Do You Get the Urge to Do Spring Cleaning?

By Gretchen Rubin on April 12, 2017 in The Happiness Project
Creating outer order gives a huge boost in energy, cheer, and creativity.

Create a Meaningful Summer

Planning your summer vacation? How about a meaningful epic summer adventure instead? The steps you take before you take off can make all the difference.

9 Ways to Test and Improve Your Emotional Control

One of the key features of human relationships is the ability to regulate your emotional expression. A new tool for measuring 9 emotion regulation methods provides important tips.