So What Makes Us Happy? 717.5

There is an ever-growing body of knowledge about the nature and causes of happiness.

For one thing, it’s clear that happiness is a feeling, not a circumstance. Happiness is more than just fun or pleasure. It’s a more durable sense of well-being.

Our happiness depends not on what happens to us, but what happens in us. In other words, it’s the way we choose to think about our lives. Abe Lincoln said, “People are generally about as happy as they’re willing to be.” A Buddhist proverb tells us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

So, what are the most common attributes of happy people? Well, it’s not money, fame, or good looks. It’s not even intelligence or talent. No, the two most important factors are gratitude and rewarding personal relationships.

The formula is simple: count your blessings and enjoy your family and friends.

Sadly, simple is not always easy.

People whose natural instincts produce a gloomy outlook and pessimism need to re-train their minds. It’s one thing to say happiness is not getting what you want but wanting what you get; it’s quite another to really be satisfied with what we have.

For many people, it takes discipline and practice to think positively.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing one’s perspective, choosing to see and appreciate the silver lining, the half-full glass. In other cases, what’s required is refusing to dwell on pain, disappointment, or envy, and instead force one’s mind toward good thoughts, including all the things we should be grateful for.

Interestingly, the ability to maintain a positive attitude is also important in forming and sustaining meaningful relationships – seeing and bringing out the best.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 2

  1. Thank you for this post. I have said for any years that happiness is the wrong pursuit. That it is a by product of doing things that give our life meaning and purpose. That real happiness can only come from gratitude.
    In my blog, “Perspective Is Everything”, I often write about gratitude including one titled “Our circumstances have nothing to do with happiness.” (http://mgerber.blogspot.com/2008/07/our-circumstances-have-nothing-to-do.html)Are poor people happy? Are sick people happy? They are when they feel grateful.

  2. Below is a John Lennon quote I thought might be appropriate to this thread.
    “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn

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