To pursue or to practice happiness that is the question.

by Psyguy on February 24, 2010 · 6 comments

in Psychology and You

Happiness: everyone wants some.  But how does one find it, get it, keep it and become it?
In our information-overloaded, choice-obsessed, media-mad culture it’s quite easy to be seduced into the near pathological pursuit of the quick fix and stimulation addiction.  And yet, each of us does pursue, find and even get happy from time to time.  Getting some happiness feels good, it’s pleasant, it’s a “high” but like most highs it doesn’t last.  For some the royal road to an authentic, enduring happiness is less about a destination to arrive at and more about a way of being flowingly engaged and absorbed in the on-going journey of life.  Lasting happiness can arise, surge and flow moment by moment if one practices the art of mindfully manufacturing meaning.

Essentially getting happy is a way and practice, a process and attitude, a habit and approach, by which one learns how to consciously craft meaning-filled moments, thus, making happiness into a practice of perpetual becoming.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 HappyCamper February 25, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I know that whenever I’m flowing whereby the challenged I’m faced is perfectly matched to my capacities at the time I get a surge of happiness. Try it out…

2 Ben McMullan March 19, 2010 at 3:12 am

Great post Dan, I couldn’t agree more. I put aside a few hours each day for my flow state; this healthy habit helps provide meaning to my life. Because of this, I carry a sense of wonder and am excited for the future.

Good video by the way. I’m going to figure out which of the 24 core human traits I possess and build on them.

3 Psyguy March 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Hello Ben, you sound like you’ve got some of Aristole’s “healthy habits” for happiness well in place. Good work! Let me know what your signature strengths/traits are.

4 Psyguy March 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Hello Happy Camper, sounds like you are seeking/living “the engaged life” that Seligman talks about in his book, Authentic Happiness. Keep it up and share it with something bigger and beyond the self so that your “meaningful life” engages you.

5 Naseem April 10, 2010 at 5:23 am

“Happiness” for as long as I can remember and from what I have conditioned myself to believe is a word that is used to describe a moment in time.
“Flash!” and it is gone… then, like any good drug, keeps you forever striving and searching for yet another means in which to reach that moment.
In my opinion striving for happiness is not only unrealistic but also misunderstood.
One needs to have a destination that leads to a path of content. One free from the distraction named “happiness”. That no matter how great or small, once reached will a bear sense of fulfillment and meaning that will solidify the eyes you have earned over time.
To strive for happiness is to be mediocre and although it may or may not result in an overall “happier lifestyle” or at the very least the illusion of one, it lacks substance and bears no fruit.
Rather than gathering your troops in a quest for happiness would it not be more fulfilling to realize in areas where one could sacrifice happiness? To turn you’re back on happiness for something better, something that will echo into tomorrow, something of greatness. If you stop to think of where you are today it is for one of two reasons. The sacrifice of others or the lack there of. Sacrifice paves the way to happiness and the lack of others sacrifices aught to steer you toward it not away from it.

To summarize what I could have said in a sentence and spared you my quick explanation of the word “happiness” in conjunction with my refusal to acknowledge it as a word that holds meaning I would say.

“Happiness is a quest upon a thankless errand”

Although many may agree with this point of view it does not bind us as one of the same. To argue with those who do not subscribe to this point of view is not my intention. If anything, I marvel and envy.

It would never be my objective to change ones point of view, although you may attempt to sway mine with welcome.
For the aggressive who contest I would be happy to pull the Shakespeare quote and say
“My firmness makes my circle just and makes me end where I begun”

With Love
Naseem

6 Psyguy April 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Thank you for this intriguing, thoughtful and thought-filled post, Naseem. I agree keeping hold of happiness in one’s life is hard, if not impossible. For some finding the “content” in life and at living that life could be happiness by another definition. In my world there are three types of happiness: pleasure, engagement/flow and meaning. The first two – pleasure and engagement/flow are fleeting, just as you say, the third – meaning and the art of meaning-making, is a continual and satisfying way to live my life, meaning makes happiness for me. When my life has meaning, I feel content…
with love and care,
Dan

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