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True happiness isn't about being happy all the time

http://theconversation.com/true-happiness-isnt-about-being-happy-all-the-time-88600

theconversation.com

True happiness isn't about being happy all the time
Over the past two decades, the positive psychology movement has brightened up psychological research with its science of happiness, human potential and flourishing. It argues that psychologists should not only investigate mental illness but also what makes life worth living.

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Psychological flexibility

Being open to emotional experiences and being able to tolerate discomfort can allow us to move towards a more meaningful existence.

The way we respond to the circumstances of our lives has more influence on our happiness than the events themselves.

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True happiness

True happiness

It isn’t about being happy all the time.

Striving for a happy life is one thing, but striving to be happy all the time is unrealistic.

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The 2 philosophical paths to happiness

  • Hedonistic: in order to live a happy life we must maximize pleasure and avoid pain. This view is often short-lived.

  • Eudaimonic approach: it takes the long view and argues that we should live authentically and for the greater good. We should pursue meaning and potential through kindness, justice, honesty, and courage.

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Happiness and adversity

Leading a happy life is not about avoiding hard times.

A happy life is about being able to respond to adversity in a way that allows you to grow from the experience. And experiencing adversity can make us more resilient and lead us to take action in our lives, such as changing jobs or overcoming hardship.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Positive psychology: the "science of happiness"

Positive psychology: the "science of happiness"

The "science of happiness" was born as a result of Martin Seligman's (the father of positive psychology) endeavour to approach psychology beyond the idea of r...

The plasticity of the brain

Neuroscience research demonstrates the power of positive psychology:

  • Studies showed that repetitive negative thinking causes one pattern of brain activity, while positive thoughts can produce another.
  • Practices such as gratitude, mindfulness, and physical activity can change certain pathways within the brain.
  • Medication can also stimulate or suppress brain activity. Martin Seligman found a combined treatment plan of medication and therapy can help patients recover sooner.

Positive psychology strategies

Positive psychology treatments focus on four fundamental areas:

  • Strengths: Finding one's inner strength and resilience.
  • Quality of life: Goals and achievements should be underpinned by meaning and purpose.
  • Hope: Ensuring a positive attitude when faced with life's trials and knowing that they have the support to cope.
  • Wellbeing: A sense of environmental mastery, full engagement with the world, and personal satisfaction.

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Self-Reliance

It's "a reliance on internal resources to provide life with coherence (meaning) and fulfillment” (Baumeister, 1987: 171)."

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Self-Reliance

Self-Reliance is the topic (and title) of an 1841 essay from US philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.

He argues strongly that self-reliance, self-trust, and individualism, amongst other things, are ways that we can avoid the conformity imposed upon us.

Examples of Self-Reliance

  • Thinking independently: The ability to think autonomously goes hand in hand with trusting your own instinct.
  • Embracing your individuality.
  • Striving towards your own goals, bravely.

It’s important to remember that self-reliance is not about cutting yourself off from everybody.

3 kinds of happy lives

  • The pleasant life: you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can. This has hardly any contribution to lasting fulfilment.
  • The life of engagement, where y...

Habits Of Supremely Happy People

  • They surround themselves with other happy people.
  • They cultivate resilience.
  • They appreciate simple pleasures.
  • They devote some of their time to giving.
  • They get immersed in activities that bring joy.
  • They nix the small talk for deeper conversations. 
  • They make a point to listen. 
  • They look on the bright side.
  • They make exercise a priority.
  • They listen to good music.
  • They spend time in nature.
  • They laugh a lot.