I just watched a great documentary on HAPPINESS, called HAPPY. Here is the trailer. Go out and watch it!! You will definitely be better for it. You will learn so much. I am going to give you a few thoughts and ideas that I took away from this great show, but I am not going to tell you everything because you need to see the show. FYI-On Amazon in has over 430 4.5 star ratings. Enjoy!
“The constitution only guarantees the American People the right to pursue Happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” -Benjamin Franklin
What do you want?? Most people say…to be HAPPY. Happy has undergone a revolution. It seems everyone is in search of HAPPINESS. Look at Coke’s marketing “Open Happiness” the numerous books on the subject (Happiness Project, The Happiness Advantage, Stumbling on Happiness to name a few) and Harvard’s biggest class that has thousands of students each week attend, a class on Happiness (Positive Psychology). Here is the link for professor Tal Ben-Shahar who is teaching this course (the largest course at Harvard). Make sure you check out his quick Five Steps for Being Happier Today. There are some great links and videos on this site. http://bigthink.com/users/talbenshahar
Happiness helps you achieve your other goals in life. What is interesting is you are born with a 50% genetic set point OR range of happiness, BUT what is astounding is that your CIRCUMSTANCES account for only 10% of our happiness. WOW!! that is so small. That leaves us with 40% of things that we can do on a regular basis that are intentional activities that will bring us happiness. That is HUGE!! This 40% leaves us with options to add variety, add changes, seek out experiences that increase happiness triggers like dopamine (our bodies natural happiness chemical in the brain). A big activity that increases dopamine—EXERCISE. Also, activities that get you into a natural FLOW, like playing music, something you enjoy doing that has a specific rhythm that makes you happy. It gives you a sense of control over what you are doing.
The WRONG Assumptions of outcome. People believe if something good happens (they get married, win a championship…) they will feel SO HAPPY & they do for a short time. The same is when something bad happens (car wreck, divorce…) some sort of devastation & for a short time they are devastated. THe fact is…People actually do really well even when things go bad. Scientific research does not support adversity as a bad thing. You have to have pain to have pleasure.
Can MONEY buy Happiness? They literally looked at 50 years of income vs happiness and even though the income level went up. People were no more happier living in their bigger houses, more cars, etc. then they were 50 years ago. The happiness levels were stagnet despite the increase in income. The ONLY time money brings happiness is when you are homeless or are not having your basic needs (water, food, shelter) met, after that it doesn’t make you any happier. Between the income of $5,000 and $50,000 there is a difference in happiness levels, but between $50,000 and $500,000 there is no difference.
Extrinsic vs Intrinsic motivations: Let’s look at Extrinsic (external) motivations–getting stuff, getting money, concerned about your image, your status VS Intrinisic (internal) motivations—personal growth, friends and family, helping your community, something bigger. People who were more extrinsically motivated were less satisfied with their life, had less energy, were depressed and more anxious. The people who were intrinsically motivated were happier, had less depression, had a sense of meaning in their life.
This movie then took a look at different countries who were the happiest (Denmark) and least happiest (Japan) and looked at the circumstances and stories of why. It was a great show that has so much more and I would highly recommend. Go out and buy it, rent it and enjoy it. It is definitely worth the time.
Here are a few personal tips to take away: Exercise, write down 5 things you are grateful for each night or at the very least once a week, invest in relationships, learn to meditate on compassion, get out into nature, smile, share love, do things you enjoy, be grateful for where you are at…and happiness will follow.
Peace and Happiness to you. -Heather