The Science of Happiness
Happiness, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a state of well-being and contentment.
Ask one person what happiness means, and you will get a unique answer as each person defines the word by what it takes to make them happy.
You might find that some people talk about money and possessions while others speak of achievements, love, or health. Happiness is a state of mind or a state of being – based on personal experience and desires.
Because happiness is a personal state of being, it might seem strange to discuss a “science of happiness,” yet there is a new field of social science that focuses on the science of happiness called positive psychology – not to be confused with positive thinking. Positive psychology looks at what makes life worth living.
The scientific Study of Positive Psychology
Rather than focusing on the negative – what is wrong – positive psychology focuses on what makes people thrive not only in their relationships but in all aspects of life. The science of happiness is about feeling more fulfilled, productive, and, yes, happy at the end of the day.
Positive psychology does not disregard the negative aspects of one’s life, rather it encourages people to focus on the good as a way of overcoming the bad. It is often easier to see a solution to the bad when you come at it from a positive angle instead of trying to climb your way out of the center of it.
Think for a moment about what makes life worth living for you. It is caring for your family, creating a warm and loving home, reaching new heights in your career, or experiencing things you had never imagined yourself doing or seeing? Positive psychology helps you to get more of the things you want to improve your state of being and emotional outlook.
Using the Science of Happiness to Separate the Good from the Bad
It would seem virtually impossible for a human being to enter and exit this world untouched by a negative experience. From loss of a loved one to loss of a job, pain is certainly all around us. Positive psychology shows us how to focus on the positive elements to prevent the darker side of life from closing in – essentially separating the good from the bad and teaching us how to put each in its place.
Sometimes, the bad is a setback when everything seemed to be going right. As parents, we want nothing but the best for our children. Our emotional state is often intertwined with their physical state. Their bad days become our bad days. Their good days bring a ray of sunshine to our lives.
Finding the fleeting moments of happiness, even on the bleakest of days, can change our entire world. We have to work to keep those moments present in our everyday lives.
Each day, we face choices, actions, and experiences both good and bad. We often must do things that do not bring us happiness. Again, that feeling is in the hands of the holder. For you, doing dishes may be the worst of all your chores. Perhaps you put it off until there are no more clean cups or plates. Another person may relish washing dishes as it provides them with the time to spend deep in thought without mindful distractions. Again – it is how you allow yourself to view the situation.
“The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” -Benjamin Franklin
(Continued on page 2)