Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happiness Hypothesis

The Happiness Hypothesis has been bedtime reading for awhile. I put the book on library hold after learning about it in The Happy Film and have now renewed it the maximum number of times.

Some ideas and quotes from dog-eared pages:

Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.
- Shakespeare

If Passion drives, let Reason hold the reigns.
- Benjamin Franklin

A wise man chooses not the greatest quantity of food but the most tasty.
- Epicurious

The keys to flow (total immersion and effortless movement): there is a clear challenge that fully engages your attention; you have the skills to meet the challenge; and you get feedback on how you are doing at each step.
- Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced "cheeks sent me high")

Many think that people have internal 'set points' for their levels of happiness, and that some people are just born with sunnier dispositions than others. Evidence does bear this out. However, some positive psychologists have come up with a "Happiness formula":  H = S + C + V. The level of Happiness you experience (H) is determined by your biological set point (S) plus the conditions of your life (C), plus the voluntary activities you do (V).
Lyubomirsky / Sheldon / Schkade / Seligman

Gratifications are activities that engage you fully, draw on your strengths, and allow you to lose self-consciousness. Gratifications can lead to flow. Know your own strengths and use them. Choose your own gratifying activities, do them regularly, (but not to the point of tedium), and raise your overall level of happiness. Take the free survey.

Those who think money can't buy happiness just dont know where to shop. Stop wasting money on conspicuous consumption. Work less, earn less, and "consume" more family time, vacations, and other enjoyable activities.
- Robert Frank

Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.
Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.
- Lau Tzu

The life of cerebral reflection and emotional indifference advocated by many Greek and Roman philosophers and that of calm non-striving advocated by Buddha are lives devoid of passion, and a life without passion is not a human life. Yes, attachments bring pain, but they also bring our greatest joys.
- Robert Solomon

During one of my book shelf purges, I got rid of the book Healthy Pleasures, which I'd purchased in 1990. At the time, it was one of the few titles on the subject. Now, there are probably hundreds of books published every year on the topic. There is only one copy in the Toronto Public Library, and that is in the Reference section so can't be checked out. I wish I'd held onto my original, because it started me thinking in a very concrete way about things I could do to boost my level of happiness. 

The Time Special Edition, The Science of Happiness, explores some of the same themes published in that book almost thirty years ago.

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