Q: What really is happiness? Is there research on this topic?
A: This is a very timely question. The research in this area has grown greatly and some of that research was recently shown in the PBS series “This Emotional Life” (http://www.pbs.org/). Two other great resources are the work of Martin Seligman (authentichappiness.com) and Gretchen Rubin (happinessproject.com). Here are a few tips from Gretchen Rubin.
Myths About Happiness
• Happy people are annoying and stupid.
• Nothing changes a person’s happiness level much.
• Venting anger relieves it.
• You will be happier if you insist on “the best.”
• You will be happy as soon as you…
• Spending some time alone will make you feel better.
• The biggest myth: It’s selfish to try to be happy.
Secrets of Adulthood
• The best reading is re-reading.
• Outer order contributes to inner calm.
• The opposite of a great truth is also true.
• You manage what you measure.
• By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
• People don’t notice your mistakes and flaws as much as you think.
• Most decisions don’t require extensive research.
• Try not to let yourself get too hungry.
• If you can’t find something, clean up.
• The days are long, but the years are short.
• Some place, keep an empty shelf.
• Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
• It’s okay to ask for help.
• You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you LIKE to do.
• Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy.
• What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
• You don’t have to be good at everything.
• Soap and water removes most stains.
• It’s important to be nice to EVERYONE.
• You know as much as most people.
• Eat better, eat less, exercise more.
• What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you – and vice versa.
• People actually prefer that you buy wedding gifts off their registry.
• Houseplants and photo albums are a lot of trouble.
• If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.
• No deposit, no return.