Wanted: Happiness

17 Feb

A recent post of mine received a comment about happiness all the time not leading to happiness.

After reading this I thought, “Hmmm…really? I’m not so sure about that.” Thank you, reader, for inspiring me to think and expand on that topic a bit!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHappiness is a choice, yes, and while each of us is born with a predisposition toward optimism or pessimism, we also know that these traits are malleable. We can practice optimism to become more positive. The positive psychology movement wouldn’t have gained so much ground if there wasn’t utility in it.  In fact, we can also become happier more often by practicing happiness.

The research bares that happiness does not increase with the accumulation of material goods after a certain point. As a matter of fact, a study conducted in April of last year by the Maris Poll for Public Opinion found that what used to be the happiness tipping point of $75,000 if we’re talking yearly income, has been lowered to $50,000.  Good news, right? You can be happier with less. In fact, you see some of the happiest individuals being those who live with next to nothing. If you don’t believe me, go watch Happy!  But be careful how you read that previous sentence. The “next to nothing” is in comparison to what I or you might be living with or believe to be necessary to “don’t worry, be happy.”

Compare yourself to the Joneses all the time, and you’ll be perpetually just trying to keep up, attain more, and have a  more difficult time appreciating what’s right in front of you!

Happiness is in an attitude of gratitude. Sound cliche’? Studies consistently show that individuals who frequently and intentionally focus on what they are grateful for are happier. Why? They are that much more likely to notice more keenly the beauty of the small things in life.

If I always think about needing more, not making enough, thinking that others have it so much better than I do, what do you think my focus will be?

Dalai Lama- HappinessIf I intentionally and consciously practice a spirit of appreciation, compassion, and gratitude no matter what my circumstances or experience (after all, it’s comparison against some ideal or belief that often leads us to the decision that we just don’t have it good enough or that it needs to be different in some way), doesn’t it stand to reason that we’ll be more satisfied and happier?

So I do believe that happiness all the time can lead to happiness. Practice happiness to be a happier person.  But don’t get stuck in the belief that by practicing happiness you should never experience any other emotion. You’ll bounce back a lot quicker from whatever those other emotions are though by practicing happiness.

Want more evidence? Check out my recent articles in the latest issue of Alpha- The Evolution of Fitness.

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3 Responses to “Wanted: Happiness”

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  1. Actually, what is happiness? | I sense, therefore I reflect - February 17, 2013

    […] Wanted: Happiness (peakofmind.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Robert JR Graham » You Hold The Keys To Your Future - February 18, 2013

    […] Wanted: Happiness […]

  3. Breathe & Smile » Breathe, smile, and other simple tools to get on the road to happiness.Happiness or Success - which comes first? » Breathe & Smile - March 1, 2013

    […] Wanted: Happiness […]

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