Summary of keys to psychological happiness

by phil on Friday Sep 19, 2003 10:25 PM
happiness, psychology

Here's a quick reference guide to what psychologists determine as the "secret to happiness". Click below to read my short summary.

Common components to the happy:
- Are connected with family and friends
- Pursue Intimacy
- Don't compare themselves to others
- Lose themselves in activity (flow)
- Doing what they do best
- Are forgiving
- Exhibit gratitude
- Altruistic
- Pursue personal growth

Big Points:
- Materialism is toxic for happiness
- Only serious illness truly attacks life satisfaction
- Actions matter in pursuing happiness, i.e. it's not all in the head.
- People are poor at determining and choosing what makes them happy

Grains of salt:

It could be that the happy are more altruistic, exhibit gratitude, and are likely to pursue personal growth; Causality is alway difficult to prove.

The idea that people are poor at determining what makes them happy I think is essential in that it suggests we don't waste too much time trying to figure things out; the implication is that we should focus on a basic model or set of principles (a common thing I see in the most effective happiness-literature). This is why I feel that people who can stomach a religion like Christianity are guided fairly well along the happiness path as opposed to the perpetually confused like myself, who always has to bootstrap the components of his life.

sidenote: I dunno though, hapiness just seems so boring... or at least the happiness they describe. Plus, we're all different, and one should be weary about psychological generalizations. For example, in my case, I think being in flow works... the other stuff? who knows, wouldn't hurt to try

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