Thursday, January 31, 2008

When Are You Most Happy?

It's time to talk happiness. This blog has spent a lot of time--hopefully most of it useful--on some of the darker, more difficult subjects of figuring out your life, but now it's time to get back into a happier space and think cheerier thoughts.

My husband the other day was like, "People are going to think I'm terrible, and that your life is terrible. You keep talking about such depressing stuff." Au contraire! My husband is wonderful, and my life keeps getting better. It's just that I feel a lot of empathy for people struggling, and I'm convinced that the journey to happiness often starts in a dark and scary and lonely place.

In any case, let's think good thoughts, and see where we can go with a smile on our faces, shall we?

After all, the idea of bliss is entwined (though not synonymous with) the idea of happiness.

Let's start by reading this ABC News report on the science of happiness, which was recently featured on an episode of 20/20.

One thing I remember that the reporter noted from his research was that people are happiest when they have good relationships and care for others. He noted that he felt the same way; spending time with his family gave him a happiness boost.

I know I'm happiest when I'm doing two things: 1) Either spending time having fun with my friends and family, or 2) deeply engaged in highly concentrated writing work.

What about you? What activities or moments make you feel the most happiness? Let's spread some happiness in the comments!

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Sara said...

This resonates. I think I feel happy when I have a sense of place and purpose. Family and work seem to be a big part of that.

Erzsebet said...

To me, happiness is:

Plunging my fingers into the soft, accepting fur of my pet cat.

Walking outside on a cold day, my husband's arm around my waist.

Seeing egrets fly.

Hearing the wind in the leaves of the palm tree, how it vibrates and whistles amongst the fronds as if the wind came only to visit this tree, these leaves.

A spoonful of honey, a good cup of coffee, Greek yogurt, a hearty sandwich, an unexpected sweet.

Getting a handwritten letter from a friend.


Catching a glimpse of the moon in broad daylight.

The joy of reading a word I've never seen before, and the anticipation of plumbing the depths of its meaning.