The October 12th issue of Tme magazine had an interesting article on happiness. Let me share some of the things that struck me.
People in the USA think of happiness differently than other people in the world. (We also think of it differently than the founders of the USA. See my blog post titled “the Pursuit of Happiness“.) Other cultures view happiness as a group event. Social interaction is intended to increase the happiness of others as well as myself. To us, happiness is an individual pursuit of success, possessions, and status. Yet these self-focused pursuits lead us to continual disappointment and discouragement instead of the happiness we seek.
Besides a major worldview overhaul of seeing happiness as a group event rather than an individual quest, there are five simple suggestions that science says can help in our happiness.
- Relax. People who view time as a limited resource are more happy within calm rather than excitement.
- Schedule. Intentionally schedule times/events that produce happiness.
- Be Present. Rather than agonizing over what has passed or what has not yet come, live in the right now.
- Get Real. No one can be happy all the time. Embrace the sunny days when they come, and accept the rainy days that are certain to appear. In fact, be thankful for that rain.
- Savor. Enjoy good moments when they come. Don’t take them for granted. And reflect on those good times, reliving the feelings.